How “H+” Can Rapidly Improve Your Writing 

  

Most writing problems come down to wrong technique and/ or wrong filter, both of which can be quickly enhanced with something called “H+”. 

Arguably, the filter is the more critical of the two issues because filters:

  •  Narrow the field of techniques at your disposal 
  • Limit full artistic expression 
  • Constrain authentic prose 

In a way, “H+” is a kind of meta-filter that opens up possibilities, streamlines technique and simplifies writing to its purest form. 

What is “H+”? 

“H+” is a mental frame, philosophy, strategy and emotional state rolled into one. 

In a few words, “H+” is programmed authenticity, simplicity and creativity. 

Or, to say it in a different – and perhaps more poignant – way, “H+” is writing like a child. 

Like a child? 

Well…yeah

“H+” is all about writing with a child’s honesty, simplicity and inhibition. 

The Honesty of “H+”

It probably shocks no one that children can lie, yet here in this context I am referring to the innocence of childhood.

Children are known for their unfiltered authenticity and the honesty with which they approach the world.

They express exactly how they feel and say exactly what they mean without the filters most of us have adopted by the time we reach adulthood.

Perhaps few know this reality as much as parents of young children. 

Take for example, a trip my family took to our local zoo when my children were younger. My son, who was two at a time, repeatedly pointed out every clock by shouting the name of the time-wielding object. The problem was that his version of Clock sounded exactly like a lewd term for the male anatomy.

Not wanting to be left out, my eight-year-old pointed at a witch and screamed, “my horror” which sounded instead like, “my whore!”

Yes, my embarrassment was complete. 


The bottom line: write with the honesty of a child. Write it authentically. Write it without filters. 

The Simplicity of “H+”

Another quality of “H+” is simplicity. Going back to our metaphor, “H+” is adopting the simple style of a child. 

Not simplistic, but big ideas brought down to the worldview and expression of children. 

Stephen King said it this way: use simple words and fresh images.

Keep it simple. Tell the story. Anything else is author ego getting in the way. 

Read my post The Simple Secret to Riveting Narrative to learn about another simple writing technique. 

The Freedom of “H+”

Children express themselves with complete inhibition (refer again to my zoo story above). 

“H+” is about Freedom. 

  • Freedom to be the real you and write simply about what matters to you. 
  • Freedom to tell the truth of your experience 
  • Freedom to write about the glorious good and disturbing darkness of the world 
  • Freedom to speak freely (especially) in the early drafts 
  • Freedom to write simple, straightforward prose is a window to the story

One final point is the “+” in “H+”. The plus symbol is about positivity. While there is certainly no lack of raw evil in the world, “H+” ultimately involves a hopeful worldview. 

Again, the ideal childhood innocence is colored with undercurrents of hope and awe at the world. This hope and awe transfers to the writing and, eventually, to your readers. 


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Christopher Kokoski is a speaker, trainer and author of Wicker Hollow and the Past Lives novel series.

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Posted in books, reading, screenwriting, speaking, Success, writer, Writing
4 comments on “How “H+” Can Rapidly Improve Your Writing 
  1. Juli Hoffman says:

    Oh, to be able to write with H+. Instead, I seem to have been blessed with ample quantities of S²: snark and sarcasm. I agree with your post. So few authors seem to convey the ideas of truth, honesty, and hope in their writing, however, I think In Between by Jenny B. Jones is a great example of this. It’s a YA novel with a lot of emotion and heart. I’m not ashamed to say that I cried like a baby more than a few times during the course of this read. NOT your typical YA novel! The mom in me wanted to give the protagonist, Katie Parker, a great big hug. The kid in me remembered how tough it is to be a teenager. Good writing kicks you in the emotional breadbasket—but in the best possible way.

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