Saturday, February 25, 2006

Writing Techniques

Writing Techniques
A long time ago, while I was still the Secretary of the Young Writers’ Circle of the National Library in Singapore, I have the opportunity to compile a set of notes for members of the group entitled, ‘Writing Techniques’.

The content of the notes are still relevant for writing practices today, and in this article, I will summarize some of the significant details to share the key points by which we can improve our writing.

First of all, we will take a look at the various genres of writing. We have the descriptive, argumentative and discursive, reflective, imaginative, and story writing.

Descriptive writing talks about a definite point of view, where feelings are described. For example, the description of mixed feelings at a place, and the reasons for the mixed feelings. Descriptive writing also talks about the surrounding’s color and atmosphere, the vivid details, and the significant characteristics. For example, an observation of a place may be described as dull to capture the reader, so he can have the same opinion as the writer. Vivid details entail striking description of a person, his character, and his feelings, whether he is nervous or otherwise. Significant characteristics reflect a state of mind, the mood of a person reflected by the details of the scene of nature, imaginary or real.

Argumentative and discursive writing reinforce an argument, rather than raise the voice. The objective is to show contrast and write in such a way that the reader may be won over, to make him ‘see’ our point of view. In this case, there is no straightforward narrative, and the writer must not only present convincing arguments, but also be convinced and have his own stand on the matter. The objective is not to prove the reader wrong, but to make the reader come round to seeing things in the writer’s way. A method of doing this is to have a well-presented case by illustrating examples, facts, sound arguments, and not sounding statements.

Reflective writing limits the scope of what is been written, so as to be specific, and gives adequate treatment to the introduction, development and conclusion of the story. The writer must begin and select something interesting and develop the story at some length, writing with conviction and ending with a summary.

Imaginative writing is about originality and plausibility, a distinguishing mark of good imagination juxtaposed with ‘real’ circumstances, situations, and environment. The writer must plan carefully and consider how to create the mood, atmosphere, humor and the intensity of stirring up feelings, to make the content interesting. It can be an ordinary description of events or a depiction from a given topic.

Story writing encompasses the introduction, development, suspense, climax, and conclusion of the story. It introduces the situation or background, arouse curiosity of the reader or promise the worth of further reading. Development extends the story with details and complication, providing a sense of suspense, such as a crisis or a solution in doubt, and banks on the climax of the deciding factor. It concludes with a brief round off with few words of comment, a reflection or a poser for the reader. It does not moralize, but provides satisfactory ending that gives the episode a sense of completeness, and independence of its own.

Some pointers for good writing include the right choice and economy of words, originality of expression, using action in verbs, variety of words, proper emphasis, and a personal style of writing. For example, use familiar words rather than far-fetched, concrete words to abstract, simple to jargon, straightforward to flowery, specific to general, short words to long, saxon to romance, active to passive. Other examples are, omission of anticipatory constructions, elimination of idle words, avoidance of redundancy, variety in positioning of ideas and sentence structure, variation in length of sentences, order of word, visual emphasis, humor, conviction, and sense of occasion in writing.

Good writing begins with good writing techniques. Learning to write well is not an easy task. Over the years of writing, I consider myself still an amateur. If you are an accomplished writer, feel free to share your experience here. If you are aspiring to be one, tell me how you plan to achieve your goal. If you, like me, are a learner attempting to grasp the intricacies of writing and its techniques, let me know your thoughts and share your knowledge at my blog.

A major part of the content in this article is from the compilation of notes by various authors and from different sources. The writer and compiler of this article acknowledge all credits due to the relevant authors and parties. References and bibliography, however, is not included here because information of originating source is no longer available.


Lu and Lochie the Wonder Dog said...

Hi there, thanks so much for taking the time to read my blog and leave a comment, its always lovely to log on and find a new one. I look forward to reading your blog and WRT posts. Cheers and thanks!

Eddie G. said...

Thanks for popping over mate. I like your blog layout. Real nice and simple. Will be checking here ever so often.

CHeers :)