Sometimes it good to remember stuff we've already been taught. Elementary, yes—but it's good to ponder the basics of novel writing. One: A sympathetic character that we come to know and care about. If readers simply don't care about your protagonist, they won't read on. Of course, there are some unlikable characters that are found in fiction, but the still must have a grain of sympathy to them, some good quality that keeps them from being 100% evil. Two: Conflict: what happen
Hi! I'm back after my Lenten break. I didn't blog, but I haven't neglected my writing. I like simple tips, ones that make you say ah-ha and help you move forward in your craft. I hope you appreciate this little graphic. I love stuff like this—something that you can glance at that gets your creative juices flowing. Enjoy! The scene is set, and your character is about to step off the pages and into your reader's imagination. So, how do you reveal who they are without using an
Want to be a writer? Are you thinking about it? And thinking? START NOW. If you don't know how to start, get a how-to book out of the library OR go to a writers group OR go to a seminar/writers conference OR look online for advice OR simply sit down and open a word document. DO IT. Don't wait for the day it will be easier or simpler. Life is always complicated. Start now. In a year, you'll be glad you did. Practice persistence. Write daily—even if it's only a couple hundred w
Last Tuesday I discussing writer's block and strategies to get your productivity back on track. Writer's block doesn’t have to paralyze your writing progress. I gave you the first few suggestions, last week. Here are five more methods to get your fingers flying over the keyboard: 1. Work on another project for a while If you can, switch gears to another project you have in the works or make notes on a subsequent project you’ve been thinking about. You may return to your “bloc
Dear writer, are you feeling burned out? Is your word count and productivity down? Do you want to beat your head against a wall to battle writer's block? Shake those blues, and concentrate on something other than your work in progress. Need some suggestions? (I thought you’d ask.) Take some photographs. Grab your camera and take a field trip to a local park, busy shopping area, town square. Let yourself focus on whatever catches your fancy. You may look back at your images an
I know of authors who listen to certain soundtracks while they're writing to inspire them to write with emotion or to add authenticity to their story. But what I'm thinking of today are the sounds you hear while reading a book. It's important to incorporate sensory details (sight, sound, touch, smell, taste) into a story to transport the reader. One of the details that I appreciate when I'm reading is narrative that conveys the sounds the characters are hearing. If the settin
I love to get caught up in the fictional dream, and one of the worst things that can happen is a gaping plot hole. It doesn't matter if it's a book, a movie, a TV program, or even a commercial—if I feel that there's a hole in the plot, I'm done. Plot holes are a big deal—they jerk the reader from the fictional dream. According to Wikipedia, a plot hole is a gap or inconsistency in a storyline that goes against the flow of logic established by the story's plot. Such inconsiste
Friends, this is as much for me as for you. While you're here, take a moment, go to the main page of my blog, and find some encouragement and tips on the craft. And then fire your passion and do what you were created to do. Write on! #writingnovelwritingcreativityinspiration #creativity #perspective #secondchances #books #goals #hope #persistence #inspiration
*This is part four in a series. View parts one, two, and three. If you've been following this series, are you understanding author voice a bit more? Author voice is the way in which an author tells a story: word and phrase choices, sentence and chapter length, and the author's distinct world view. I'd like to share a final author voice, from a novel I really enjoyed. Dandelion Summer by Lisa Wingate: A single drop of water changes the ocean. A noted colleague of mine once ass
*This is part three in a series. View parts one and two.
I hope you’re enjoying the different samples of author voice we're including in this series. Remember, author voice is the way in which an author tells a story: word and phrase choices, sentence and chapter length, and the author's distinct world view. Here are a few more distinctive voices to share with you. The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner I've heard the story countless times, how I grasped the delivering docto
*This is part two in a series. View part one.
Last week we started discussing author voice, which is the way in which an author tells a story: word and phrase choices, sentence and chapter length, and the author's distinct world view. In other words, your voice is your exclusive worldview: your beliefs, your fears, your attitudes, your dreams, the way you react to situations. All of this means that you have to put yourself on the page. This is what is known as developing yo
A lot of time is spent in writing circles discussing author voice. What is it? How do you perfect it? Author voice is the way in which an author tells a story: word and phrase choices, sentence and chapter length, and the author's distinct world view. Let’s look at some passages from books by two authors and “listen” to a few different voices and what they say to us. Coming Home by Rosamund Pilcher: The Porthkerris Council School stood half-way up the steep hill which climbed
This is the second of a two-part topic. See part one here. If you ask a seasoned writer, they’ll tell you that ideas are in the air. Ideas are all around you. All you have to do is be observant. If you write fiction, look at the people around you, what quirks make you think, “What if . . . ?” What about the man in the grocery store, racing with his clunky cart down the aisle as if he’s playing chicken with oncoming shoppers? Why is he in such a hurry? All it takes is a germ
How does a writer decide on an idea? I believe writers are peculiar people. We tuck bits of memories in our brains and hearts only to pull them out years later and incorporate them into stories. I visited a girlfriend one day, and she told me about an experience she’d had the week before. Her in-laws were coming to visit, so she made sure her house was sparkling clean. When they were due to arrive, she gave her home a cursory glance, sure that her house was spotless. And then
Have you experienced a moment when when reality crystalizes and you finally KNOW a deep, personal truth? I’ve been thinking about defining moments lately. As an author, they populate my books. As a human being, they have shaped my character and my choices. Merriam-Webster says a defining moment is the time that shows very clearly what something is really about I’ve often heard good fiction characterized as real life without the boring parts. That’s true, and both fiction and
I recently read a story that left me wholly unsatisfied. The author skimped on writing in the sensory details. I felt disoriented while reading and found myself eager to be finished.
When I read fiction, I need to feel as if I'm dropped into the scene and can live the character's journey. Readers who can vicariously experience the character's life in novels are transported to a different reality and live the experience. They are touched at a visceral level and changed by th
Consider yourself the luckiest writer in the universe if you’ve never experienced a moment of writer’s block. Consider yourself fortunate if you've never experienced a moment of, "where do I go now?" Consider yourself blessed if you've never thought, "How can I tie up this loose end?" The most important thing to consider when faced with the dreaded writer’s block is to realize that that this is probably not the last time you’ll be stuck. Personally, I think it’s part of the w
Happy is the person who dreams dreams and is willing to take the steps to make them come true. Don't be afraid to start climbing, and I'll see you at the top! ~ Zig Ziglar I’ve been thinking about perspective lately. So much of life’s experiences depend on perspective, especially for writers. We commit ourselves to long periods of solitary work and then endure the difficult process of publication. Even after publication, it's not a walk in the park. But whether you succeed in
If you're a writer, do you spend time reading tips from pros and other writers in the trenches? You should. I have a few favorite writing websites that I subscribe to and some I visit regularly to keep myself current on market trends as well as tips on craft and grammar help. Doesn’t everyone need grammar help? Some sites that I visit frequently are: Novel Rocket: Authors helping authors launch. A great site for fiction writers with tips for writing, marketing, and encouragem
Do you appreciate admirable character traits? Excuse me while I get a little introspective. I've been counting my blessings lately, and ALL of them are people, not things. No surprise there. I have amazing family and friends. What I truly value about those who are a close to me are the attributes of their characters. As I thought about my loved ones and friends, I compiled a list of what I admire most about them. Yes, this is what's needed in excess in our world (and in the b