Write It and Sell It

A taboo is holy and forbids association with a particular place, thing or person. Taboo exist in all cultures and societies. It is a fascinating subject, but people are not able to tolerate. A casual conversation around taboos can quickly morph into an ugly argument and fatal especially for a writer.

Do Taboos Still Exist?

Yes, they do. As long as there are powerful men and women in government and religious organisations, they will continue to dictate what you ought and not ought to write.

Naturally, an artist is inborn rebels, continually attracted to the forbidden- “Do not eat the fruit of the only tree you were warned to stay away.  Do not kill your father and marry your mother.”

Writing taboo subjects as in values, characters, political standing, opinions, and values encounters critics from publishers. One hears of worthy books failing to find a publisher for being too this, too that, too political, too dark, too strange, too cerebral.

Starved for Subject Matters

The Pen American Centre and the Committee to Protect Journalist document predicaments of the journalist who flirted with the forbidden. Example the Ethiopian journalist Eskinder Nega who was sentenced to eighteen years in prison for spreading “false rumours.” Alternatively, Nguyen Xuan Nghia imprisoned in Vietnam for criticising the government through his poems and stories.” Alternatively, even Roger Shuler, the rogue blogger who did time in Alabama after posting a story alleging that a former Republican governor’s son had an affair with a lobbyist.”

Profanity

Profanity is prevalent in real life and is seen as a colourful way to convey your thoughts. Use of profanity, however, makes the author sound less erudite, less educated and the script reads like an Eddie Murphy routine. Swearing in a story is more like the use of “umm, ah, well…” and I can assure you it reads differently than how it should sound. How then do you handle curses in writing? Start by writing your script as it comes with the swear words then edit them out.

Rape and Child Abuse

“Writing about trauma is more than simply documenting experience – it’s all about illuminating life on earth. It’s about transforming tragedy into art.” Rape and child abuse are real things that ought not to be treated lightly. It is a severe trauma for the victim not to be a minor character or a way of showing a person’s wickedness.  It is a tough subject and its best to avoid it.

Incest, Bestiality, Masturbation

I am sure you have watched Game of Thrones, or have read the book. It is not surprising to hear talks about the taboo. Personally, it is unappealing. The characters indulging in any of the activities appear cheap and most often hate the character. Centring your story on such practices will lose your readers. It is against most religious beliefs and cultures as well.

“Sure, it happens, but that doesn’t mean I have to write about it. I find it extremely distasteful,”- Jesse Frankel.

Drinking

Drinking is fine especially if the audience consists of teenagers. The age group of the audience determines if both characters will be alcoholic or one opposed to the idea. It seldom works out well.

Sex

There is nothing wrong with sex. We all do it; kids are having sex as early as fourteen years, supposedly. It’s a personal subject, and most readers will judge you according to your words. Remember your audience. Never paint a graphic picture of the characters and only use it if it fits the storyline.

“I recently read Tampa by Alissa Nutting, and her protagonist must have masturbated a dozen times in the first twenty pages, so, that’s another example of how you can utilise this taboo subject—although Celeste is out of control, in so many ways, so it’s not a healthy example.”

Death

As much as death is part of life, there is no need to add too much drama. When including death in the plot, do not discriminate. Death does not distinguish the rich or poor, Sinner or Saints. Including death thus need to serve a well-defined purpose.

In conclusion, the biggest taboo when writing is the inability to build the story. A story that lacks a theme or end is tasteless and BORING. It is the worst thing you can as an author.

Entanglement between principles of what is right and wrong and fiction is almost unavoidable. Be thoughtful and careful when telling a story with a message. Entertain, shock or titillate the readers.

Write thinking of the ideal audience: their beliefs of what is right and unimportant.  However, remember if it crosses the taboo lines, it won’t be exciting for certain people. In our quest to amuse, entertain, engage, educate and uplift our audience remember it’s all about guiding your readers, infusing the story and making it relatable to all.

The Truth About Writing and What Is Not

Writing is the art of putting our feelings, ideas, beliefs and arguments on paper.  By forming visible letters and characters, we can communicate and convey meaning. The Blackwell Encyclopedia of writing systems defines it as a set of visible or tactile signs (Braille and Moon for the blind and impaired) to represent units of language systematically.

I want to believe as from the above description everyone can write. Well, we’ve been taught the writing skills since we were children. All you need is organise your thoughts and write a lot and boom; you will make it.

However, That Is Not True

Writing as a career and craft is far more complicated. You will need to develop new skills upon the old, practice, research on writing until the simple sentences evolve into elaborate stories. To write exceptionally well, you need a union of skills: spelling, grammar, editing, vocabulary, punctuation and organisation skills and that may force you to go for writing classes. The writing process is linear, and the ability to grasp a new skill depends on your mastery of basic skills.

It Is Painful

Writing is not easy and undoubtedly not fun when you are struggling to put your imaginations into words. An experienced writer will tell you it never gets easy, and it just gets faster. It takes effort, and there are days you will grasp for structure and lack of motivation.

Just because the story follows every rule of grammar, has the right characterisation, has a unique plot and is classy does not mean it will pass for a good story. Often your stories will be declined over and over again, but you have to build tolerance for failure. It’s a tormentor’s love, demands much, challenging but returns little.

It’s a Habit

Anne Lamott makes a light comment when she says; it’s about getting your butt in that chair every day at the same time to do the work. To write or research actions that will support the writing. It requires practice, only through writing will you become a better writer. It takes some mad skills for you to sell that brilliant work.

Meaningful writing comes from a habit of turning yourself inside out, being ruthless and unbiased. It will take years and millions of words for you to find your voice. When you need encouragement, do read books like The writer’s Manifesto.

A Solitary Activity

When writing you do it alone with your pen and paper or while sitting behind your laptop. The late nights, the early mornings and the days away from your loved ones will get lonely. There is a need for that sweet solitude when you are alone in the world in that place where you are immersed in your thoughts not knowing where you are going and no one is calling you back. In addition to your work learn to find a balance it’s important to create time for family and friends.

Not All Battles Are Worth Picking

There are thousands of writers out there desperately looking for ideas. Other writers will steal your ideas and generously share it on writing forums. Learn to battle with the demons that frantically push you to be a sleaze.

Instead, silence the demons and create new ‘real friends’. Network with influential people, do favours and serve your way to the top. Grow a thick skin that is inevitable to all that comes.

Writing Is a Compulsion

Is that so? If writers were always compelled to write, there would be a lot more writing. “I have to write, or else I’ll go crazy”. In my opinion, these phrase is just a mantra for an aspiring writer that push them to write. There are days you will lack enthusiasm and eat the back of your pencil because you’ve written your mind dry.

It Is Okay to Be Rejected

A work of art takes several drafts before it is finished, and several pieces of art before it becomes publishable. You have to make no money writing for a no-name publication before you eventually make it in the Wall Street Journal. Do not sweat over rejected manuscripts, write not for the fame or recognition but because it’s a calling and you cannot, not write.

Must Love Writing

If you enjoy writing, you will weather the storms before it pays off. Write for the pure thrill of entertaining, educating and because if you do not, no one else will. Writing is a serious vocation,-“a tedious process of continually dying to yourself and being reborn” not for the light-hearted.

Need for a Spell Check

It does not matter how many years of experience you have or how brilliant your work is, we all make mistakes. Even if your story is so brilliant that it throws the readers straight into your story world, if it doesn’t follow every rule of grammar, has spelling errors it will not be published.

The truth is, writing is a passion. It requires discipline, persistence- even when everyone is not paying attention to your work, tolerance for failure and rejection and hard work.

7 Quick Tips About Writing

Writing is the primary form of conveying ideas and passing information today, and its importance cannot be understated. Whether you are creating content for a blog, or coming up with a copy for promotional purposes, or writing an essay at school; writing a quality article will have the desired effect on the target audience.

However, writing is not exactly everyone’s forte, and it requires considerable investments in learning and time to be able to come up with high-quality content. Writing requires a unique skillset, fresh ideas and good command over grammar.

Most writing tasks come with tight deadlines and high expectations, and you have to master the art of writing for you to meet these requirements.

There are several tips which you can employ in your writing which can help improve your writing skills.

Collect and Organise Ideas

This is a crucial aspect of your writing process since it allows you to gather ideas on the structure and outline of your article. Collect and organise points that will help you come up with a well-written body of work that shows a natural flow of ideas. You should not force your way into writing since you could end up creating off-topic content.

Coming up with ideas before writing helps with the natural flow of the article, and allows you to come up with engaging content.

Take Your Time

When coming up with your first draft, you can lazy around and try to select words and phrase that will suit the article. This will allow you to come up with an original body of content. It will also let you get in the shoes of the reader, and the upside here is that you get to create custom content for your target audience.

Taking time to go through your article also allows you to develop the appropriate mindset towards the task at hand. It immerses you in the work you are doing, and this can help bring the best out of you.

Every writer out there writes at their own pace, and it is crucial for you to take your time and stick to your own pace of writing. This, however, does not mean relaxing to the point of missing deadlines. It is all about writing content at your speed while keeping main objectives in mind.

Manage Your Time Well

A quick writing tip among many writers out there is efficient time management. If you want to be a good writer, you should learn how to manage your time well. This will help you beat deadlines and submit your content in time. Proper time management is a crucial aspect of the writing process, and you need to develop the art of time management before you embark on writing.

Proper time management will help you focus on other important duties in your life while meeting stringent deadlines at the same time. If you are working on multiple projects, proper time management will help you avoid burnout, and allow you to focus on the work before you.

Write in a Simple and Concise Manner

Writing is all about conveying ideas and information to your target audience. To effectively get the word out, adopt a writing style that focuses on simplicity and clarity. Make use of simple short and clear sentences in your writing, as this will improve the readability and understandability of your work among your readers.

There is no point in making use of jargon and complex sentences in your writing, as this often confuses readers and distorts your work.

You should avoid complexity at all times when creating. Develop a simple and clear writing style, as this will help you come up with engaging and easy-to-understand content.

Edit and Proofread Your Work After Writing

When you write an article for the first time, the chances are high that errors exist, and they may include punctuation errors, spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. You need to develop a habit of proofreading every piece of content that you come up with as this will help you improve your grammar and writing skills.

In most cases, the main difference between high-quality work and shoddy work is the editing process. Proper editing helps you to spot mistakes, typos, and poor sentences.

Use Online Tools to Check Your Work

Proofreading your work is an effective way of spotting errors in your content. However, some errors are very elusive and could slip from the eyes of even experienced writers. There are online tools that have been designed to spot mistakes within no time. These tools will help you spot those errors, and will enable you to refine your work to improve its quality.

Apart from grammar checker online tools, plagiarism detecting tools will help you identify instances of plagiarism in your work. This allows you to come up with proper citations or rewrite the affected sentences or paragraphs.

Work on Your Key Areas of Interest

A right way of fine-tuning your writing skills is by writing on subjects you well understand. This will make the writing process enjoyable, and it will help you to sharpen your writing skills over time. Writing about topics that enthuse you will also harness your innate writing ability, and it will help you to get the best out of yourself as far as writing is concerned.

In summary, these writing tips will help you improve your writing skills. It is worth noting that improvement comes after a lot of practice, and you need to keep continually writing if you want to develop your skills.