Tuesday, October 20, 2015

This Old School Trick Will Improve Your Writing Skills

I was about 12-years old the first time I heard of this trick. I spent after-school time practicing my writing skills on an old, electric typewriter (I can still hear the hum of it in my ears). After reading about this trick in a book on writing I borrowed from the school library, I put the old typewriter to the test and broke the thing in the process.

What’s the Trick?


Copying the work of others!

Select a favorite short story, magazine article, or a favorite book and begin copying it. Copy the book on the computer or write it onto paper.

It Does Work


When you copy, word for word, the works of other published writers, you get the opportunity to examine the flow of text. You learn how the author pieced together her story and how she constructed dialogue between her characters. You quickly learn the ins and outs of plotting.

Computer or Paper?


To save on paper, I prefer to type my copies. Sometimes I will select a copyright expired book to type in and donate to one of the websites that still post old works online.

If you feel more comfortable writing out a book by hand, by all means, do so. Some writers feel that we absorb more of the book’s details if we take the time to write them out by hand.

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