4 Writing Techniques to Enrich Your Story

photo by Elaine Cougler

photo by Elaine Cougler

Most of the things I have learned about writing have been from reading the work of excellent authors. I believe in osmosis and read often.

Search on the web for writing techniques and you’ll come up with many suggestions. Here is a list I found very easily in this manner. Feel free to check it out.

But I couldn’t quite decide how to make a viable post out of that. Rather I looked at a tidbit from my novel that I have used as an excerpt on many guest post and interview opportunities in the last couple of months.

4 Writing Techniques:

Notice there are four segments which are in boldface and underlined.

Hours later, a piece of wood in the fire fell and Lucy jerked upright, her wild eyes darting about the dark cabin. The candle had died. By the dim light from the stove she could see she was alone, but outside Molly [the cow] bawled and the chickens were clucking in a dreadful cacophony of frightening sounds. What was out there? She bumped against the table on the way to the window.

Solid black was all she saw through the running raindrops on the glass, except for a faint patch of limpid light, not even light, just a silver lightening in the grass, the window’s weak reflection. The animals settled and she breathed more slowly. They could wait till daylight.

The fire fixed, she went to the bedroom where she lay under the patchwork quilt, fully clothed, eyes wide open, the loaded rifle scant inches from her hand.

The first adds a very necessary element to the paragraph–variety in sentence length. This gives your reader a break from long rambling ideas and forces him or her to take notice.

The second tells about her bumping the table as she went to the window. Yes, it is ‘telling’ but it is also ‘showing’ us that she is sleepy or in a hurry, perhaps because she is afraid of what she might see outside the window.

The paragraph that follows was an opportunity for me to use a heightened level of language, almost poetic with its word pictures, repetition, and alliteration. We writers like to play with words but hesitate because that way lies slow pacing. Here, however, that sentence adds time for Lucy to try to see what is outside in the dark and its very vagueness underlines an obvious and terrifying fact. She can’t see into the darkness.

Finally the word order in the last sentence holds off until the very end the suspenseful idea that she is sleeping right next to her rifle. Surely the reader will want to turn the page.

The Loyalist’s Wife by Elaine Cougler



Authors: 10 Ways to Improve Your Writing. Download from the link in the side column!


2 thoughts on “4 Writing Techniques to Enrich Your Story

  1. Excellent. Another effective tool: In the second graph, the sentences get shorter. I think this tamps down the excitement of the first graph, but retains the tension, which leads us to the image of her, fully clothed under the covers, with the gun nearby.

    Great stuff!


    • Yes! I like it, coachdaddy. Little do those unsuspecting readers know how we writers work behind the scenes to create their exciting reading experiences. Thanks for visiting my blog. 🙂


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