A Thousand Lives
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A Thousand Lives

3 Writing Lessons I Learned From Reading Lemony Snicket’s Book

These are the lessons that helped me to write better and they might help you

Image by Wokingham Libraries on Pixabay

My relationship with books is years old as they have brought sunshine into my introverted life. I can spend a whole evening staring at just one line, feeling that line (If I get enough time!), and wouldn’t regret it.

To a person who loves books of almost all genres, categorizing books is completely unnecessary.

As in my life, I’ve learned more from children’s books than from others. Because at heart, we yearn to be a carefree child again and those books never cease to beckon us.

I love Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. Normally I prefer books with less gloomy scenarios, but there is something in this book that I want to reread it, completely disagreeing with him when he writes,

“Read about things that wouldn’t keep you up all night long, weeping and tearing out your hair.” Lemony Snicket

Reading a story for reading’s sake is one thing. While reading the same book, when you are a writer, is a completely different thing.

And that’s how I learned some lessons from the book series in question.

And rereading it again, I learned more.

Top 3 Lessons from the book

1. You can write engaging content on almost every topic

As I have mentioned above, I want to escape from this world by books to the world of my choice. And the tragic life of Baudelaire orphans isn’t my choice. But I stick with it. Why?

Let me explain.

Lemony Snicket in his book had an authentic writing voice, which had more impact as compared to his plot. His use of words, rhythmic lines, and way of engaging readers works.

And it is an example, that you can engage a reader to read your story even though his choice is different.

On this platform and in general, we sometimes think we aren’t writing better because of niche. Or maybe less number of readers are interested in my topic. But actually, this isn’t the case.

How we write our story is more important than what we write.

The idea or theme of a story matters, but content matters more.

Example

Write every day is a cliche that works. And almost all articles on writing emphasize on writing daily in one way or another.

But, depending upon the writer’s voice or content we easily decide whether to read it or find shelter somewhere else.

So, Lemony Snicket has laid an example that genre, theme, ideas matter less than your and my writing voice, and the style of engaging readers.

Each of your ideas have value when you write it in a better, engaging way.

Image by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

2. Difficult words if used correctly won’t kill a reader

In the beginning, I used simpler sentences and common words instead of the right words by following lessons of writing classes. But, later I experienced:

The worst writing advice is to use simple sentences.

That is better for science research papers and scientific articles. Where the audience might have a limited vocabulary.

But for an article written for literary readers, it is poison.

In the literary world, your reader must have read some books. And all of those books didn’t give him all stuff in plain, simple, and short sentences. Isn’t it?

So, a reader can digest difficult words and long sentences as long as you use them in a correct and balanced way.

Readers want to find a connection with your story, and choice of words isn’t the problem. How you connect readers by your words or illustrations matters.

The writer, himself used phrases and words that may be difficult for children but he explained them, and it worked. Book no longer remains only children’s book as per my experience.

I have seen many writers writing long sentences and jargon words. If every book, every piece had the same, limited vocabulary why we would need to have a vocabulary book and a new book?

So, feel free to use the right word, instead of simpler words.

3. Careless writing is not worth it.

If someone is a kind reader, he might read your piece even though if it has nothing to offer. But others might not. They will leave stories only to spoil the read ratio. They can decide to never look our way again.

Every story is worthy — every idea has worth if you and I tell it in a way that readers find some value in it. That’s what Lemony advocates when he says,

“If writers wrote as carelessly as some people talk, then adhasdh asdglaseuyt[bn[ pasdlgkhasdfasdf.”

We have to keep the audience in mind. I, for example, finished my article on writing 100 stories, in four days. I kept myself from penning just my experience in those four days by rereading it again and again.

The story was about my experience, but a reader is there to find some value. Candidly he (or she) doesn’t have any interest in my life.

He (or she) isn’t there to know how often I published, or how I discovered publications (though my journey of discovering publications would make a humorous story!)

And I learned to prefer readers' wants over mine by the same author.

Example

As an example consider these sentences,

“When one has just woken up, but hasn’t yet gotten out of bed, it is a perfect time to look at the ceiling, consider one’s life and wonder what the future will hold.”

Now, there’s nothing new in this sentence. That’s what we do each day. Yet it is his way to engage his readers. This way he engaged his readers throughout his books.

“And so can we, by contemplating what a reader is going to get from our writings — a new idea or connection.”

Summary

  1. How you write matters more than what you write.
  2. Use the right word instead of simple ones.
  3. Careless writing is not engaging.

Reading that book after I entered the writing world, was a helpful experience. And each of us should read for the sake of writing.

In writing life surprises come our way and we have to embrace and learn from them. As we have to write no matter what happens.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” — Maya Angelou

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Fiza Ameen

Fiza Ameen

A nyctophile, truth-seeker gravitating towards human nature| Writing is my way of unlearning the patterns.

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