Train Your Eye for Better Writing: 3 Writing Techniques Adapted from the Visual Arts

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Add color to the canvas of your manuscript with these 3 writing techniques adapted from practices commonly used by painters and other visual artists.

By Tess Callahan

You can’t learn to paint by looking at a Picasso any more than you can learn the cello by listening to Yo-Yo Ma, yet writers are expected to know their craft by virtue of having read books. Reading is of course crucial—just as looking is for the painter and listening for the cellist—but what artists, musicians and even athletes know about training for their field is often lost on writers.

Although I’ve learned much from the Master of Fine Arts program, workshops and conferences I’ve attended, I’ve also noticed they often focus more on the don’ts of writing than the dos. The person wh…

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