The Ultimate Guide to Writing Better

If you want to write better, look no further than this ultimate list of tools, tips, tricks and more from some of the greatest writers ever.

Bob Dylan, one of the most epic storytellers, songwriters, activists, and of course musicians once use these few words, “Come gather ’round people, wherever you roam”.

Thing is, writing well is a superpower, and it’s a gift that continues to give, even long after you’ve done the work. At least I have benefitted immensely from my love for writing. I can’t say I write well. But I know that when I write and when people (friends, families, and even strangers) read what I have written, they are deeply moved. May be they are lying, may be they are being polite. Maybe it’s a random occurrence.

Irrespective.

All I know is that a lot of good has come out from my writing and I sincerely think more and more people must write. Write more. Write in public. Write to publish. To achieve immortality. To be able to reach out to more people. To get access to the hive mind that you will never get if you keep your thoughts closeted.

In fact, I am sort of an activist that keeps telling everyone I know to go write whatever they can, however they can and wherever they can. And to do that I have a few things running right now and this page will archive all those.

Hope this helps.

A. A list of recommended books / guides that I think are useful.

These are not in any order. And this is an evolving list.

  1. On Writing. By the legendary Stephen King. Must add that King has written one of the best pieces of film that I’ve ever seen.
  2. Consider This. By Chuck Palahniuk. Of the Fight Club fame. Enough said.
  3. Julian Shapiro’s Writing Well Handbook. Julian has to be among the best polymaths I know. He goes deep into things that excite him, becomes a sort of master at those. And then he condenses the process into easy to consume guides that are better than the most authoritative guidebooks on that subject. Best of all, free! 🆓 🆓 🆓
  4. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. By Murakami. If there’s one writer that I can’t understand and yet the world can’t stop raving about, it’s Murakami. I don’t know what is it about his writing that moves people. When I started reading, I would pick up his books and marvel at the worlds he would create. I would try and make sense of the fetish people have with things as ordinary as the shape of the ears and paintings and distant Japanese prefectures. But alas, despite me trying, I was unable to understand what he said or spoke. However what he talks about in What I Talk About When I Talk About Running makes a lot of sense. As someone who wants to learn writing. And as someone who wants to learn running.

B. A WhatsApp Group.

I run a WA Group where I often share whatever little I know about writing. This include links to various articles that I find helpful, some prompts, tips from acclaimed writers and more things.

Some things that I have posted there are…

In case you want to join the group, it is here.

C. Misc.

Again, this is a WIP list that I will keep adding to / removing from.

  1. ship30for30.com. I have NOT taken this as a challenge as yet. I would have loved to, it not for the prohibitive price. I wish I had the money. In fact, I am tempted to something similar for people that have weaker currencies.
  2. Twitter List (maintained by me). This is a list of other writers that I admire and love. I follow these people religiously for the writing advice they give out.

So that’s about it for the time being. Will continue to work on this.

Oh, I must say, while you may consume all the resources and read all the books and all that, the best way to get better with writing is, well, by writing more!

All the best!


Disclaimers…

  • Last updated on 22 May 2021.
  • In case you want me to add/remove something to this list, please do let me know.

The ‘Rule of Three’ in Writing

In this 30-seconds-to-read post, I talk about ‘The Rule of Three’ in Writing. A simple tool that you can use to become far better at writing!

Here’s a question to get you started.

What is common to the following? 

Roti, Kapda and Makaan
Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram
Blood, Sweat, and Toil
Aap, Main aur Bagpiper 
Mind, Body, Soul
I, Me, Myself
Dharti, Paatal, Aakash
Etc. etc. etc.

Three things. 

All these are in triads. In threes. As part of one message.

This is typically used in writing (see this) and other similar disciplines (comedy, performing arts, etc) and the law finds application at multiple places.

You know three lives that you got when you played Super Mario? Contra? Or most other computer games? 
Three meals of the day? 
Three steps to success? 
Three wishes that you could make from the genie? 

There is so many places where you see it. It is like the Golden Ratio. They are applied at places that you often fail to see. In fact, these “laws” are used by master communicators to influence conversations and moods. Reminds me of that famous talk by Steve Jobs at Stanford where he talks about some stories from his life. See it here…

Steve Jobs at Stanford

Can you guess how many stories does he talk about? Lemme know in comments.

You have three guesses. You know, three strikes. 

In fact, most stories, folklores, and even films follow the three-act structure. The Hero’s Journey (the universal storytelling structure) is about three parts – go into an adventure, win a decisive battle, and come back. I am sure if someone were to dissect more great narratives, they’d spot these laws being used at multiple places in those texts! 

So, the lesson for you and I while we write?

Next time you have to talk to someone, try by saying that you have three things to talk about. And then like a numbered list, say, first.. this; second that and third, whatever. 

You would see that the audience pays a little more attention. Try it.

Next time when you have to write, try to write in threes. You can use this to write stories, essays, films, books, IELTS applications, blog, content, and whatnot.

Like this entire post is in threes. Just that this is the second thing of the third section. What about the third one? Guess?