Niko Shefer: Three Tips to be a Better Writer

Niko Shefer is a writer, critic, and professor of English Literature at the University in his native South Africa. Niko Shefer has examined all kinds of literary works, not only by British authors of present and past, but also African authors and others. He has written countless words about the great British authors of the past as well as rising figures in British literature today.

His clear, concise, and accessible writing style comes from years of writing papers, stories, and poems during his long career. His writing skills continue to improve as his career progresses. Here are three ways to improve your writing without practicing for years:

  • Don’t use adverbs. Unless it’s absolutely necessary, try to cut all the adverbs from your sentences. They work well in conversation and in informal written communications such as email and texts, but in most other kinds of writing, they add unnecessary words and cause the reader to fall asleep. Chances are there is a way to reword a sentence using a stronger, specific, descriptive noun, adjective, or verb in its place.
  • Stop relying on prepositions. Prepositions like ‘at’, ‘on’, ‘in’, etc. also slow down a reader’s eye and cause him or her to lose focus on your true point. Niko Shefer urges his students to think about how they use prepositions in their work to cut away the unnecessary words as much as possible.
  • Avoid passive voice. Sometimes, passive voice is inevitable, but other times it’s a trap that writers run into without thinking about it. Instead of cluttering your work up with transitive verb forms, try to replace them with direct, declarative sentences, like Hemmingway!

Niko Shefer teaches his students how to write better as they study the classics of English Literature.