What’s Valuable About Words

This is an Insecure Writer’s Support Group post. To check out their site or sign up for the monthly blog hop, go here and enjoy all the awesome blog names (seriously jealous of a few of them).

Posts might be thin for this month, with people in the throes of the first week of Camp NaNoWriMo (which I didn’t even know was a thing until this year. I’m hanging back to see how it all works before I dive in, so if I do it will be for the big National Novel Writing Month itself. #goals).


July 5 Question: What is one valuable lesson you’ve learned since you started writing?

Picking just one lesson out of the many that have smacked me over the head since I got serious about this writing thing, that’s going to be hard.

I’d say . . . one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned has been the craft, the art of writing. The tools and nuts and fiddly bits that combine to make a good story.

As a reader, I know when they’re present and wince when they are absent. As a writer I’m learning to recognize, de-construct, and use them.

What tools you ask? Which specific one has been the most valuable?

All of them.

I realize this is not helpful, so I’ll include a brief list:

  • Some basics like grammar (I’m still working on that semicolon) and how to insert dialogue into your writing. I didn’t know this before, and now I’m finding out about it all at once.
  • How to write a scene.
  • Stringing those scenes together to make one whole, overarching story.
  • Rising action leading to the climax and the gentle descent of the epilogue.
  • Tropes-they’re classic for a reason. Everyone loves being brought along for a good Hero’s Quest, especially when the quester is an Underdog.
  • Dialogue-especially good dialogue. Recognizing bad dialogue is becoming easier as I learn what to look for.

I’ve found these tools of the craft mostly through online research, entering RWA chapter contests for the editing, and reading, reading, reading. Reading everything I can get my hands on, hoping to absorb the tools to write well by osmosis. I’d like to take a class/workshop or attend a conference but money-wise and childcare-wise that’s not practical right now so I’m on my own with my colleague Dr. Google and any published book I can lay my hands on. Oh, and On Writing, as well, which I dive back into whenever I need to be reminded about specific tools.

It’s an exciting time as I find all of these things just lying there waiting for me to learn how to use them. It’s fun to go back and apply them to my story. Whether it helps my work become publishable, well, we’ll see.

As I find various toolboxes and useful articles online I post them here on my site so you can see them too. Other writer’s sites have collected troves of priceless information and I find and link to them. That probably makes me the goblin digging tunnels and sneaking from the Dragon’s hoard in this scenario but whatever. It’s collected in one place so I can click on it and mutter “Preciousss” if I want.

It would take too long to list them all again, so you can find them all together on the page I have For Writers.


18 thoughts on “What’s Valuable About Words

  1. For me, Hemingway was only ”easy to use” once I started to get used to all the color-coded suggestions. I thought I would get used to it relatively fast but still, even after months of using the editor, I’m still finding it to be distracting. I like the features that Hemingway comes with and I obviously like the fact that it’s free, I’ve been researching similar alternatives and randomly found Grammarly and INK. {I’ve only used the INK platform a couple of times but the interface seems less distracting and has some search optimization help features as well.

    1. I have heard great things about Grammarly, I need to get over and use it! At least the free version. It might end up knocking Hemmingway out of my lineup completely.

  2. Yeah, I’ve been learning a lot lately about story structure and it has changed my writing game so much! I just needed to find the right book, I guess. Sometimes, you just find the book for you, or books.

  3. This is a great list! Oh, semi colons are my nemesis (and comas join in the fray too sometimes). It’s my first time on your blog/website and I’ve got to say: team Spike all the way, Joss Whedon is amazing, and I LOVE Buffy! 😀

  4. Thanks for sharing your tips and resources. I think reading a lot has been what helps me to write. I am still developing my own voice and style so I am nervous about following a formula.

  5. One sure has to keep at it. I sure found the further I’ve gone the less I actually knew, but have to keep learning and hopefully the cringe worthy words one has written in the past stays there haha

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