How To Improve Your Writing By 3 Famous Writers

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Want to improve your writing? Here’s some tips on how to write a review from Mark Kermode, creative writing from Stephen King and general good advice from George Orwell.

Mark Kermode – film reviewer for BBC Radio 5 Live and The Observer

imon Mayo and Mark Kermode

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Mark Kermode has this to say on the five essential ingredients of a proper film review (though I think they apply to all reviews) in his book The Good, The Bad & The Multiplex

Opinion, description, contextualisation, analysis and entertainment.

1. Opinion

Saw 3D is rubbish.

2. Opinion and description

Saw 3D is a horror film that is rubbish.

3. Opinion, description and contextualisation

Saw 3D is the seventh episode and the first stereoscopic instalment in a long-running horror series, and it is rubbish.

4. Opinion, description, contextualisation and analysis

Saw 3D is the first instalment in a series that began life as a tortuously inventive low-budget chiller but which has descended over the course of six sequels into gory, boring torture marathon (which is rubbish).

5. Opinion, description, contextualisation, analysis and entertainment

It took the once-inventive but increasingly depressing Saw series seven movies to resort to the hackneyed headache of 3-D, but despite the promise that this is ‘The Final Chapter’ (just wait till the sums say otherwise) you keep wishing those protruding spikes would leap a little further out of the screen and puncture your eyeballs to ensure that you never have to watch rubbish like this ever again.

Stephen King, author of It, Carrie, The Shining, The Green Mile

Stephen King Writing Tips

George Orwell, author of 1984Animal Farm, Down and Out in Paris and London…

Orwell’s 6 rules for writing

1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.

3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.

5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

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