Do a slow read of your writing. Have you chosen your words well? Is your mind jumping ahead because the text is perfected or because you could cut it and lose nothing? If you don't want to read those words, will anyone else?

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Open a book you love to a random page and read one sentence. Can you hear the author's voice? Does it evoke an emotion? Does it draw you in? Now open your own work. How does it fare?

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Humans are highly visual creatures, and this holds true when we are reading. We don’t see the images in the book, we form them in our minds. Pack in brilliant imagery and your readers will enjoy and remember your book.

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Whether you are working on draft material or devising a story in your mind, one element of great writing is cranking up the extraordinary to pack in information, meaning, and creativity.

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Words take on their full meaning in the context of sentences, paragraphs, and your entire story. It starts with the first line of your book, as each bit of information sets the stage for what follows.

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When you compare the pace of the "substantial happenings" in your work to best-selling books, does yours hold up? Analyzing the structural language of a New York Times best seller can give you a whole new view of writing and how great stories are put together.

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Knowing writing rules doesn't guarantee you'll produce stellar written work, but aspirational rules can expand your horizons, and practical rules can improve your writing craft.

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