3 Pro Tips to Up Your Writing Game

Hola, Writer Peeps!

Are you ready to up your fiction writing game today? Here’s some easy-peasy, but super effective tricks of the trade. I’m sure you’ll be able to do these.


Without specificity, your setting becomes a two-dimensional backdrop, like the forest of nondescript trees in an elementary school play, hastily painted and obscure enough to use over and over from Cinderella to Little Red Riding Hood.

Bring your writing to life with specifics. Envision your world and describe it. Compare the following.


A patch of trees hid the back of the house from view.


A grove of fruit trees ruffled with blossoms hid the back of the house from view. (Though Waters Roar by Lynn Austin)


A writer may create lovely imagery and dialogue. But if the story contains only things seen and heard, the writing falls flat. Readers may not even know why they lose interest, but it’s because they’re only partway engaged. To fully immerse your reader into your story, use all the basic human senses—sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste.  

(Yes, there are other senses [eg, balance and the relationship of our body parts to one another], but let’s stick to the primary senses for the purpose of this blog.)

Notice how author Laura Ingalls Wilder employs four primary senses in one paragraph in the following.

Laura pushed ahead between the thick clumps of grass-stems that gave way rustling and closed again behind Carrie. The millions of coarse grass-stems and their slender long leaves were greeny-gold and golden-green in their own shade. The earth was crackled with dryness underfoot, but a faint smell of damp lay under the hot smell of the grass. Just above Laura’s head the grasstops swished in the wind, but down at their roots was a stillness, broken only where Laura and Carrie went wading through it. (The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder)

Sight: slender long leaves were greeny-gold and golden-green in their own shade
Sound: rustling, swished in the wind
Touch: pushed, thick clumps, coarse grass-stems, dryness underfoot, wind, damp, wading
Smell: faint smell of damp lay under the hot smell of the grass

Just the mention of food can engage the sense of taste. Even in outer space.

They were serving Earth food today—among other things—enchiladas with kimchi, mashed potatoes and gravy that looked like consommé, hummus and an egg roll, and red soda pop.

(No Road Among the Stars by A. Walker Scott)


Life is filled with a rainbow of colors. Your story doesn’t have to be. Don’t go all willy-nilly, tossing random colors all around your story. Instead, deliberately choose colors in shades that create a specific mood, whether that mood is bright and fun, pale and peaceful, dark and depressing, or whatever your story needs. Use color to your advantage.

A.J. Finn brilliantly uses color in The Woman in the Window.  Dark halls, leaded glass, black-and-white movies, black-and-white umbrella, dim lighting, neighbors named Gray, all work together to give the reader a dark, closed-in feeling of isolation that accompanies agoraphobia. Other themes are supported with complimentary colors, but the author stays within the same color palette throughout. Even when talking about sunshine, the author is careful not to disturb the color scheme.

I peer into the dark at the top of the stairs, into the gloom above. During the day, sun drops through the domed skylight overhead; at night, it’s a wide-open eye gazing into the depths of the stairwell.  

(The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn)

Recommended article: Color Psychology: Does it Affect How You Feel?

I hope these pro tips help you in your writing journey. Do you have more examples? Tips? Questions? Leave a comment and we can talk about it. On some screens, a link to leave a comment is at the top of the post. It’s good to be back. I’d love to hear from you. We’re all in this together.



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