How do you improve your writing as a nonfiction writer?

Discussion in 'Nonfiction Writing' started by petitnousnous, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. petitnousnous

    petitnousnous New Member

    I love to read and have always loved to write, but I find myself more drawn to reading and writing in the nonfiction genre. As with any skill, I believe you must practice (and practice, and practice) in order to do well, but any time I look up writing exercises or prompts, they all seem to be fiction based: "You wake up and find that all the people in the world have turned into ducks..." or "One of your characters has found themselves trapped in an oil painting...". I find it difficult to feel motivated to practice my writing skills using fiction examples and was wondering if I'm missing something. Is it better to simply use fiction-based writing prompts anyway? Should journaling be a major part of nonfiction writing practice? Are there prompts or exercises out there that I'm simply not finding? What is your experience?
  2. Cmg5034

    Cmg5034 New Member

    One of the most common manifestations of bad writing is overuse of the passive voice. In English, the most basic sentence structure is S-V-O: Subject-Verb-Object. “The zombie bit the man” is an example of this sentence structure. The passive voice can cause confusion by putting the object first: “The man was bitten by the zombie.” It usually requires more words and use of a “to be” verb form, which can suck the energy out of your writing. Learn to avoid these constructions as much as you can.[
  3. Hrshy_snchz

    Hrshy_snchz New Member

    One of the best way to improve your writing as a non fiction writer is to read critically whether the works of a great authors or co writers; Good writing is simply not possible without reading. Because if you read more, you will learn more effective writing techniques, to appriciate the nuances of words and to get an inspiration as well. Also, believe in your skills because that is what really matters most.
  4. racethebar

    racethebar New Member

    As a nonfiction writer, the best way to improve your writing is to read! Be it novels, academic books, magazines, newspapers, tabloids, or even promo materials, reading will definitely help a writer expand his vocabulary and enhance his way of expressing his/her thoughts through words.
  5. Melancholy

    Melancholy New Member

    To echo the other replies - read! Take note of a non-fiction authour's techniques, and try and use them in your own work. Note what works, and what doesn't, then see if you can see those in your works. Do your best to listen to critisism and advice too! That's the best way to improve on all skills, and it's spefific to you.

    Be critical of your own work; is it concise, clear and readable? Is it interesting? How can you improve it? I've found writing groups to be great for improving both yourself and other's writing, since you're exposed to other works, and their way of writing.
  6. Vimtuous

    Vimtuous New Member

    Write about your personal life. Write about the things that have been formative for you or left a lasting impact or that have stuck with you in some way. I tend to write fiction, but I also really like nature writing when the mood strikes. Being outside has always been something I enjoyed and it's fun to write about the world around you.
    One of the practices that I've done is to go sit outside, and write about everything you can hear. You'll be surprised at how many sounds you can actually hear once you stop and trying and pin them all down.
  7. vonnie45

    vonnie45 New Member

    In my opinion, journaling is the best way to practice writing. I had a literature professor in college that preached writing in a journal on a daily basis. I had the privilege and honor to accompany her on a business trip. The motel incorrectly booked rooms. Therefore, we shared a suite. That evening, she got out the journals and began to write. That was proof she practiced what she preached. Start writing whenever and where ever possible. It will come!
  8. heliogabalus

    heliogabalus New Member

    Definitely another vote for reading more, at the moment, reading academic literature in the humanities is particularly productive for me, but it of course depends on what sort of non-fiction writing you do the most.
  9. ep_nacional0210

    ep_nacional0210 New Member

    I don't know about writing all I can advise is BELIEVED in yourself, HARD WORK WORKS, use your imagination, Non-fiction came from our POWER MIND!
  10. daisy15

    daisy15 New Member

    Everything you want to do is get really well done so you can get what you want. I like to be a popular writer and this is one of my dreams. everything I make to improve my creations. I read about what to read in order to gather information about whether to use my novel or a poem. I was hoping I could make a novel that everyone really enjoyed.

    Knowing how to read a some books might help me. and this is my way of how to improve myself in the field of writing. Torah learning in every word is also an effective way to increase your knowledge in creating novels.

    So for me the way other improvements and enhancements to my writing are reading and reviewing the words will cover and match my reading materials.
  11. Lynn Fowler

    Lynn Fowler New Member

    In non-fiction, the inspiration comes from the subject rather than from an external prompt designed to stir your creativity. Choose a subject that you are interested in, and ask yourself, what would people want to know about that subject? Then do the research. Find out as much as you can about the subject in general, and the aspect that you have chosen in particular. Decide whether your article is going to be an opinion piece or "just the facts, M'am." If you are writing a more factual piece, you will probably want to be a little more formal in your style than if you are giving your opinion, but you still need to write in a way that will grab - and hold - the reader's attention. And of course, always be careful with your spelling and grammar.
    1 person likes this.
  12. Plato-n5K8

    Plato-n5K8 New Member

    I think one of the keys to improving your writing as a non-fiction writer is practice, practice, practice. Like with anything else, these skills improve with repetition.

    Also, it helps to have a qualified person read your work. They may be able to provide feedback in areas that you can improve on, or even notice things that you otherwise may not have. Finally, it may be possible to find free writing courses or tutorials on the internet that can help you enhance your writing skills.
    1 person likes this.
  13. Arke

    Arke New Member

    I definitely agree with this valuable piece of advice.
  14. Arke

    Arke New Member

    In the first place itself, one should be well informed about the subject matter. Non-fiction implies truth, fact and reality. There is the need for gathering of materials (maybe snippets, pictures, interviews, audio and video recordings etc.) for the article or story. These should be well organised and catalogued. Date stamping will also help definitely.
    A well organised collection will help bring about the final product as this helps with the thought process and ensure a smooth flow.
    Then the actual writing follows. The prior reading experience will certainly help as one gets to learn about others' writing styles. The more one writes, the more the improvement. So, the process has to be steadily pursued.
    Ultimately, one has to learn from reviews and feedbacks. Even self review after a certain time of period has gone by is sure to throw up surprisingly good insights.
  15. Arke

    Arke New Member

    Review by a qualified person is recommended. A good editor will help.
    1 person likes this.
  16. Pauaprint77

    Pauaprint77 New Member

    Writing non-fiction in my view would be more difficult than writing fiction. First, you need to put a lot of effort into the research of a subject and that is before you even begin to write. You must get your facts 100% correct. With this in mind perhaps you could start by completing a course in researching.
    Should you be looking at writing a book, I would carefully look at recent top-selling non-fiction books and take notes on the size of the book, the layout, chapters, photography and especially look at books on a similar subject to the one you are planning to write.
    Once you feel sure of your subject, inspired and motivated set out a guideline with tittle ideas, chapter subjects, notes to what you especially want to include. source photography or art illustrations. You will have those research skills giving you the correct facts and giving you plenty to write about. Once completed it would be well worth getting someone to check over the grammar and to read the book.
    Improvement will come from doing, reading the work from other top writers, entering writing competitions and joining writing forums so you have advice and support.
    You could also run a search online as there are non-fiction courses and workshops. There are many available for non-fiction.
    I know you will be great. Good luck.
  17. MadinAZ

    MadinAZ New Member

    In order to improve as a writer, you have to read a lot. Basic writing exercises also help. Get yourself an egg timer and set it for 20 minutes. During that time wright as much as you can about anything. Do not edit your work and if you can't think of anything write your name or something. This will get you in the habit of being able to write whatever you are ready without writer's block setting in.
  18. gcm2455

    gcm2455 Member

    There is no better way to improve writing skills than to read a lot and write more and more. However, you should be humble enough to accept corrections from well-meaning critics and friends. Mastering grammar rules and writing fundamentals (organization plus unity, coherence, relevance, emphasis, interest) is also a must.
  19. Pineapple112233

    Pineapple112233 New Member

    In my opinion, to be able to write non-fiction stories is to be engaged with reading and well-- sometimes watching facts since it's obviously a way to further improve or enhance writing skills. Also, check your work from time to time in order to have a good output when it's done.
  20. Nytstalkerabby

    Nytstalkerabby New Member

    Google or use search engines for research & to keep stuff non-fictional....Captain Aye!
  21. Warren1967

    Warren1967 Well-Known Member

    Attend workshops on writing to keep with the latest development and trends in writing as well continue reviewing the basics of writing is a good way to stay on your game.
  22. royalinvidia

    royalinvidia New Member

    Search for Roy Peter Clark's 50 essential tools for the writer- He's written an excellent book filled with lots of practical and impactful tips. His advice mostly concerns journalism and is targeted towards aspiring reporters, but there are lots of very good points he brings up that can be applied to aspiring fiction writers, too.

    I found his advice about withholding a verb until the end of the sentence to create tension very helpful in writing climactic moments. It injected a bit of the energy and pep that my writing was missing.

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