Beginning writers may struggle with different issues, from spelling and grammar to the overall organization and construction of their essay or short story. However, as students progress, they may be interested in taking their writing to the next level with advanced writing techniques. By using one of a few techniques, or by combining several of them into the same essay or story, writers can develop their craft at an advanced level.
Point of View
Beginning fiction writing students often choose to use a first-person narrator, writing in the “I” voice, or a third-person narrator, writing in the “he or she” voice. However, as the students’ writing advances, they might consider experimenting with the point of view: using the second person, or “you” form; shifting from one perspective to the other; or using an unreliable narrative in the first-person form -- that is, a narrator who tells you his or her story, but from a skewed perspective. Experimenting with points of view can enrich and enliven a story, keeping the reader on his or her toes.
As students begin to explore academic writing on a more advanced level, impersonal writing -- which is rarely used in fiction writing -- may work well as a technique, and should be mastered by advanced students. In an impersonally-written essay, the writer avoids using “I” or “we” at all, such as “we will attempt to prove,” and focuses entirely on a more objective voice. Therefore, a sentence such as “I will show how Hemingway used symbols of masculinity in his work” would become “This paper will show how Hemingway used symbols of masculinity in his work.”
Developing a large and precise vocabulary is vital for any writer working at an advanced level. Therefore, studying vocabulary and being careful to use the exact word becomes of the utmost importance for advanced writers. Vocabulary study can help a student advance, while using the words in practice sentences, as well as finding new ones in readings, will help students develop an ear for language. Another exercise that will develop this skill is going through old stories or articles and choosing words that are vague or could be more descriptive; using a thesaurus to find these words, as well as a dictionary to find the precise meanings of the thesaurus’s synonyms, will help a writer develop vocabulary.
Writing Style Development
A distinctive style, or “voice,” distinguishes the advanced writer from beginning and intermediate writers. To develop a style, a writer should closely analyze his or her earlier works, evaluating what he or she likes about word choice, rhythms and transitions, and which techniques seem to work less well. Writing parodies of writers with very strong, distinctive voices, such as James Joyce or Ernest Hemingway, can also help writers develop this skill.
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