Showing posts from May 4, 2009

A Writer's Four Most Basic Tools

Okay, let's have a frank discussion about what you, the writer, must have in order to be successful.

Before anything--before a great story or vivid characters or a knockout plot or an original voice--a writer must have the basic subset of tools that permit you to practice this craft adequately. You cannot be a good writer until you have mastered this list. Period. Before you even think about hitting 'send' on that next submission, step back, take a good, hard look at your work and make certain that you meet this criteria.

1. Correct spelling. I cannot emphasize this enough. Writers use words. You will lose all credibility right from the get-go if you don't spell those words correctly. If spelling is an issue for you, you need to work on it. The basic rules of spelling like "i before except after c" or knowing the difference between homonyms need to be second nature for you. If you get hung up on they're/there/their, then work on the rule until you memo…