Writing Tips From Reddit

Sarah McMahon
4 min readApr 8, 2021

[Listen to an audio version of this blog here.]

If you’re not on Redditt, you’re missing out on nearly 2.2 million sub-reddits, 130,000 active communities, and a whole lot of free, fun, halfway useful content. Reddit is described by Tim Squirrell as such: “If Facebook is people you know sharing things you don’t care about, Reddit is things you care about shared by people you don’t know.” Whatever you’re interested in, there’s a Reddit community for it. Reddit is easy to use and gives users more control over the content than arguably any other platform.

So when a reader asked me to give them some writing advice, I dove into a few Reddit forums, including “What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?” “Writers helping writers,” and this forum started by a user compiling a list of tips for his friends birthday. Go read some stuff. Below are some of my favorite tips.

1. This advice from Steven King:

“An opening line should invite the reader to begin the story. It should say: Listen. Come in here. You want to know about this.”

Poor opening lines, or opening pages, will lose a reader faster than anything else. If you’re writing anything: fiction, poetry, an essay, a speech, a screenplay, or simply a letter, you need to grab your readers’ attention.

2. Your character’s story begins when their life changes.

Sometimes writers spend a whole lot of time describing a scene or building a cast of characters before they get to the point. Cut to the juicy stuff and go from there.

3. Your old writing might make you cringe.

That just means you’re getting better. And hey, no reason to cringe at the younger, more naïve version of you. You’re growing and getting better (or you should be), so celebrate that.

4. This advice from Hemingway:

“Writing is architecture. Not interior decoration.” This could mean a lot of things, but I take it to mean, 1.) the bones of your story are more important than the pretty details, and 2.) if the bones aren’t good, the whole story will fucking collapse.

5. Stop reading about…