December 18, 2013
Does your teen dread writing essays, research papers or creative writing assignments? Check out these 9 PROVEN tips to help improve your teen’s writing!
If your teenager is like most, he dreads writing assignments. He waits until the last minute to even start. He writes one draft, barely proof reads it (if at all), and then wonders why his writing grades suffer. Most young writers we work with at Club Z! have shared similar stories. So we’re sharing 9 proven tips for improving writing – even for the most writing-phobic!
Write about what you know. You are an expert. Remember that. The next time you feel like you don’t have anything to write about, remember that you are an expert about experiences that happened to you. You are en expert about your favorite hobbies, your favorite movie, your favorite song, and what you believe. Write about what you know.
Write about something interesting. If you think the topic sounds boring then anything you write about it surely will be. Before you put pen to paper, find something fascinating to write about. If the teacher tells you what you must write about, think of a creative slant on the subject.
Use smaller, more specific topics. It may sound backwards, but bigger topics are almost always more boring than smaller topics. Have you ever used a camera with a zoom? Good writers zoom in on a topic like you could with a camera. The closer the writer zooms in, the more details you see. These details make the writing fun to read.
Have a great introduction. You never get a first chance to make a good impression. Have you ever been introduced to a person you wanted to impress? Ever wish you had something better to say than “Hello” or “Nice to meet you?” Later, did you think of something you could have said that was far funnier or cleverer? Well, in writing you get that chance. Every time a person reads your work, you have the chance to impress him. Consider these for your introductions – an interesting fact, a question, dialogue, an image or setting, or an action or event.
To add kick to your writing, add action to your verbs. Verbs give writing punch. For example, the verb “went” is a bland verb. There are a million ways a person can go somewhere. Did he walk? Did he run? Did he drive? How did he walk? Did he hurry? Did he stagger? Find a verb that creates an image of the person or the subject of the sentence.
Need more punch? Add a comparison using simile, try a metaphor, or personification. Verbs become even more powerful if you describe the action with an image or metaphor. When it comes to style, fashion is all about the details. Everyone wears pants, but what color pants – dressy khaki pants, skinny jeans? These are the finer points of fine style.
Write with rhythm. What is rhythm? Tap the desk with your finger. Keep every beat the same. Now think about a drum solo in the song, or the beat of some catchy song lyrics. Tap that on the table. Which was more interesting? Probably the later. Your sentences shouldn’t all sound exactly the same either. How can you make your sentences less boring? Make some sentences longer and more complex than others. Use conjunctions, commas and prepositions to break up monotonous sentences. Find your rhythm!
O.W.E.: Take the time to outline, then write, then edit your work. As tempting as it is, try not to skip the outlining process. Writing an outline is like giving your mind directions about how to get to a new place. With directions, you know exactly when and where to turn, so you get to your destination in the fastest possible time. And remember, you “O.W.E.” it to yourself to edit your writing before submitting it. Without editing, your writing is just “OW” and painful to read.
Fix run-on sentences. A run-on sentence has two sets of subjects and verbs in the same sentence. One way to fix a run-on is to split it up into two separate sentences. Another method is to insert a conjunction with a comma between the two sentences. A third method is to use a conjunction and move words around. As you make these changes, you may find yourself deleting words or adding commas. Don’t worry about the grammar terminology. This will all make sense to your ears.
For more tips like these, check out the Power of Words writing program from Club Z! Designed for students in grades 5 through 12, Power of Words has proven strategies for creative writing, research paper writing, timed essays, writing for the SAT and ACT, and more!
Call 866-44-TUTOR for more information.