What Are the Best Tips for Writing Prose?
Prose is a type of writing that mirrors common speech and the normal flow of speaking, unlike poetry that tends to be more stylistic and figurative. Writing prose may involve writing a story, anecdote, or even a longer work like a novel in a smooth, easy to comprehend manner. The best way to start writing prose effectively is to do it regularly: allotting a half hour every day to writing will help the writer develop skills and a distinct writing style that will make their prose more recognizable and interesting.
A person interested in writing prose should be sure to determine what kind of writing he or she wants to do. It helps to examine the elements of plot: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and denouement, also known as the resolution. This plot structure will allow the writer to construct a logical story that makes sense to the reader. The plot structure can certainly be altered, but the writer should learn the basics first so he or she can effectively alter them later on. Character development is also important when writing prose stories, so the writer will need to pay attention to detail and use vivid language to paint a picture in the reader's mind.
Not all prose has to be fictional. This type of writing can take the form of an essay as well, and it is used in newspaper stories and other types of expository writing. The focus when writing prose is creating a clear narrative or outline of thought so readers can understand what point the writer is trying to convey. Writing prose involves paying attention to sentence structure; every sentence should have a subject and a predicate, or in other words, a person or thing doing the action, and the action itself. Again, these rules can be broken, but it helps for the writer to learn the rules and use them regularly before starting to break those rules and experiment with the prose.
The best way to improve one's skills when writing prose is to read a significant amount of material. The writer can read the type of writing he or she intends to write, but a well-rounded writer will read all sorts of writing from different genres and for different purposes. This will help the writer understand conventions much better, and it will help the writer begin to identify different styles and develop his or her own writing style.
I see too many prose writers who get hemmed in by cliches and what they perceive to be the formal requirements of the genre. Writing is first and foremost a personal creative expression. It doesn't have to conform to anyone's standards but your own.
Writing in prose can be an amazingly liberating experience when you can conjure characters and places and entire worlds from your own mind. You have a God like power as you build a narrative according to your own imagination. Don't restrict yourself. Dream as big as you can and express yourself in any way you feel.
I once had a writing teacher who gave me this simple but unforgettable advice about writing prose. He said "A writer in the service of his reader has the duty to provide the phenomenal and the unexpected." that is really solid advice, and as obvious as it sounds it often gets overlooked.
What he means is that if you are going to take the time to write, and you expect someone besides yourself to read it, you need to write about something interesting. No one wants to read a story about the obvious; a man goes to work, eats dinner and goes to bed etc. They want a story that is set around a significant moment and which goes in unexpected directions. You have to write about people in the midst of extraordinary times.
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