The military publisher's top ten writing tips


There are a few of things to keep in mind when writing and, if you can’t keep them in mind when writing, keep them in mind when editing.

There are three purposes to writing: inform, entertain and persuade.

1. Good stories show the reader a scene in time with description. Don't fall into the trap of telling rather than showing. The term 'storytelling' is misleading.

2. This is your personal story - your perspectives, anecdotes and insights are what make the flavour.

3. Think about trying to get people on board with an idea; tell them a story of the outcome.

4. Don’t just write stories. Stories are like condiments: they add flavour. Eating them alone would be bad.

5. Good writing is simple, not simplistic – deconstruct the complex but don’t dumb it down.

"I’m so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I’m saying"

– Oscar Wilde

6. Avoid writing in the first person.

7. If it’s been said before, find a different way to say it – always strive for new content.

8. Anticipate reader questions and remember to write for your readatar.

9. Your final piece should be linear, but you don’t have to start at chapter 1 if chapter 6 is easier to start with first.

10. Don’t spend 95% of your time tweaking and the last 5% on your project.

You’ll do well to remember:

"The first draft of everything is s***"

– Ernst Hemingway

What to do next…

Tips are exactly that, tips. They are not rules and serve only to point you in a direction. Grab a notepad and start jotting down, randomly, your ‘flavourings’.

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