How do I improve my writing skills in a short period of time

How do I improve my writing skills in a short period of time?

Assuming you’re proficient in grammar and spelling.
Perhaps the quickest way to improve the quality of your writing is by learning how to tighten your words.
These are good tips to tighten your work.
Fluff Words
Eliminate fluff words.
Such as:
interestingly, very, such, so, really, that, totally, completely, absolutely, literally, definitely, certainly, probably, actually, basically, virtually, rather, quite, somewhat, etc.

These words only congest your work and will make it more difficult to read.
Active Voice
Active voice is usually easier to understand than passive voice.
Passive voice is when the acting subject is placed at the end of the sentence.
Example:
In the library, reading a book, was Karen.

Or:
The car was driven by me.

Karen and ‘me’ are the acting subjects.
These sentences can be tightened by using active voice.
Karen read a book in the library.

and:
I drove the car.

These sentences are also easier to read and understand.
Trim Modifiers
Eliminate as many adjectives and adverbs as possible.
They aren’t inherently bad, but they can clog up writing quite easily if they’re not watched.
Example:
She wore the thick, green, loose shirt seductively.

There’s a ton of modifiers here.
The sentence can be written much better as:
The green sweater draped off her shoulder.

‘Sweater’ implies ‘thick shirt’.
‘Draped’ implies the ‘loose’ nature of the sweater.
‘Seductively’ is implied by the nature the sweater is worn (draping off her shoulder).
This advice can incidentally improve show don’t tell.
Group Similar Thoughts Together
This is often ignored because it’s not a quick fix like the others.
Sometimes when writing, tangents will be explored and we try to circle back to the original point.
It’s good to map out how your thoughts will transition, rather than rant.
Ranting will normally cause issues because you’ll forget important details or you’ll go off topic.
Conclusion
For more information on tightening words, check out my video on the topic:

A few points out of the top of my mind …
Well that is all that’s in my mind as of now, I shall chip in when some more thoughts stumble across my mind
Happy writing !

I used to run a writers group on Dalnet (extra points if you remember Dalnet) called “The Writers Club”.
One thing we did was called “Opening Paragraph Night” which was on Wednesday night.
There were a number of writers in the group, from the want-to-be-a-writer to published authors and editors.
One of the editors gave us good advice; she said she had to take home a stack of story submissions for her magazine nightly and she’d read them in bed.
If a story didn’t interest her within a short time, basically the opening paragraph or first 300 words, she’d toss it in the trash pile and start the next one.
So we started “Opening Paragraph Night”.
Each week we’d open discuss the genre for the next week, then everyone would start tossing out unrelated words that had to be used in the story opening.
It couldn’t be over 300 words and had to use all 5 selected words.
The following week we’d take turns posting and receive comments from the group.
Some of the exercises turned into complete stories and publication.
Because there were 3–4 editors of short story magazines, small press, in the group, it was possible to be asked to complete the opening and submit it.
A typical night would go like this:
What genre?
Let’s do… scifi, horror, humor, romance, drama, etc.
Suggestions thrown around.
OK, we’ll do horror next week.
Now words? (20–30 tossed out, 5 decided on)
Alright we’re going with: orange, bear, electromagnetic, playing cards and election.
It was amazing the different types of stories that could be started using the 5 required words.

Here  are  some  tips  to  writing  short.
 

1)  Make  every  word  count.
  Instead  of  saying  that  nasty  mean  kid  in  high  school,  cut  it  down  to  teen  bully.

2)   Be  clear.
  Even  though  you  don’t  have  much  space,  you  still  have  to  get  the  story  across.
  If  your  character  is  acting  badly  because  of  his  past,  we  need  to  know  what  that  past  is  but  just  a  very  brief  version  of  it.
  Bitter  divorce  or  smothering  mother  tells  it  all.
 
3)  Cut  out  the  fluff.
  Yes,  it’s  nice  that  the  hotel  room  has  a  marble  tub  and  gold  faucet  and  thick  plush  carpeting.
  In  a  short  story  we  don’t  have  the  space  for  all  that.
  Richly  appointed.

4)  Be  visual.
  Instead  of  talking  about  the  neighbor  as  Richard  a  little  trick  is  to  describe  him.
  The  vegetarian  fireman  or  the  husband  stealing  blonde  next  door.
  It  will  give  the  reader  a  better  picture  than  just  a  name.
 
5)  Focus  on  the  core  conflict.
  We  don’t  have  time  for  subplots.
  Man  robs  bank;  man  runs  from  cops;  man  learns  some  kind  of  lesson.
 
6)  Choose  compelling  verbs.
  Struggles  is  more  evocative  than  decides.
  Wheezed  gives  a  better  picture  than  breathed.

7)  Start  off  with  a  bang.
  Get  right  to  the  problem  or  inciting  incident.
  Grab  your  reader  right  away.
  You  don’t  have  the  word  length  to  talk  about  how  he/she  is  dressed  or  the  weather  or  have  chit  chat  with  the  co-workers.
  First  thing  rob  the  bank,  crash  the  car,  or  have  the  lovers  walk  away  from  each  other.
 
8)  Make  us  like  your  characters.
  While  a  strong  opening  to  a  short  story  is  essential,  the  characters  are  the  glue  that  hold  it  together.
  Remember  to  show  not  tell.
  He  was  very  tall  and  handsome  vs  looks  that  made  woman  turn  and  stare.
 
9)  Choose  your  point  of  view  and  tense  and  stick  to  it.
  Who  is  telling  the  story?  The  school  teacher?  Okay,  tell  it  from  her  point  of  view  and  don’t  change  it.
 
10) Put  your  story  in  the  proper  order  and  have  it  make  sense.
  It  should  read  smoothly.
  “Mary  bought  some  eggs.
  Her  brother’s  flight  was  late.
  Last  week  she  got  some  bad  news.
  Confused?  Me  too.
 
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