How to Add a Punch to Your Writing

Great writing is what draws a reader in, whether or not your genre is the type that keeps readers on the edge of their seat. And as most writers know, the key to writing an unputdownable book is writing with a punch. Writing with a punch is delivering a swift series of twists and turns to a reader, keeping your reader on his toes, and engaging your audience so much that they read into the wee hours of the night without even remembering once that they have to be up early for work tomorrow.

Now, writing with a punch is a lot easier done than said. If your writing is starting to fall a little flat--or even if it isn't and you just want to make it better like the overachiever you are--here are a few techniques to add a punch to your writing:

  • Break up long paragraphs. Sounds like a no-brainer, doesn't it? Sadly, this is one of the most overlooked tips I've come across in the writing world. With all those newfangled e-readers nowadays, plus the intense pressure of engaging your reader with the ever-competitive publishing industry, it's no wonder readers' attention spans last about two seconds. In order to get your point across, you need to do it quickly and in short paragraphs. Think bam, bam, bam!
  • Speak and act instead of think. How interesting do you think your favorite novel would be if the main character stood in a daze the entire novel, thinking about exactly what he was going to accomplish when that chapter ended? Right. That brings us to this point: let your characters speak and act rather than focus on their thoughts. You can just as easily let the reader know what your main character is thinking by incorporating it in dialogue or your character's actions. For example: instead of saying 'Felicity thought the flowers were beautiful,' you could try, 'Felicity said to the florist, "Gosh, your flowers are gorgeous!"'
  • Broaden your horizons. Now, technically, this bit of advice could apply to quite a lot. But I'm getting at something specific here--be openminded! Consider all the fun you and your main character could have if you...*drumroll, please*...opened yourself up to other genres! And no, I do not mean cut off your women's fiction novel with a random alien kidnapping in the middle. What I'm saying is, incorporate subtle hints of other genres that make sense in your writing. For example: if your novel is a realistic fiction novel, a dash of mystery and a pinch of romance is sure to add a punch to your writing!
  • Get away from adverbs. Yes, parts of speech can be great assets when needed. However, adverbs should be used with utmost caution throughout your writing. Tacking them onto perfectly expressive nouns or adjectives ruins the flow of your writing and gives off the disgusting odor of...gasp!...flowery purple prose. Yep, stay away from adverbs.
  • Think simple and clear. But you might be thinking--aren't exotic adjectives my friend? Nope, not really. When it comes to writing that engages your audience and is punchy and effective, you need to think simple. If you need to tone down your vocabulary, so be it. Take all out that "her face emanated an angelic halo of radiance" crud and replace it with "she was glowing." Yeah! See the difference? Not only is the purpose of your sentence a lot clearer, it's a lot simpler and easier to understand, too. Your flow is smooth, your rhythm tight, and your writing punchy!
So, there's my advice on how to add a punch to your writing. What do you think of this idea? How do you add a punch to your writing when it really needs one? What do you recommend to authors who are searching for advice on this topic? Do you think I covered the topic well? What else would you have liked to see in this post? What is your opinion on adding a punch to your writing? Leave a comment or share the love through social media!


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