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
Participating in a critique group can be one of the best things you can do to help move forward in your writing skills. A crit group will help you to find flaws or weaknesses in your writing, will encourage you when you’re struggling, will teach you to sharpen your eye to find habitual mistakes you make, and will be an important part of your writing community. Critique groups come in all shapes and sizes. There are both online and in-person groups, and large groups and small
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
The good news is that the story YOU tell is different than the story another author tells, even if the plot is similar. If you want to understand more about author voice, start with this blog post, the first of four posts devoted to author voice. #craftofwriting #authorvoice
Writers, how do you get to know your characters? Readers can tell how well an author knows their characters, so you better polish your skills. Having a thorough knowledge of your book’s characters is imperative in writing fiction. You have to be true to the character you’ve created for their world to be believable. Some writers fill out long questionnaires about their character's history, likes, dislikes, friends, educations, etc. Some choose a personality type and research t
Are you going to a writers conference this year? I hope so. Next week, I'm going to the ACFW conference in Nashville. Can't wait! Conferences can be a great boost to your writing career. Not only do you learn tips and techniques about writing, you'll pick up great information about the industry and make good connections in the writing world. If you’ve never gone to a writers conference, attending a small, local one is often a good way to understand the rhythm of the conferenc
Scene. Symbolism. Dramatic irony. Allusion. And the list goes on. There are several literary techniques that improve your writing. Do you know what they are? Do you know how to use them?
I like to hear the "rules" explained by different sources because sometimes a new way of saying the same old thing will spark my imagination and help me to learn a new point of craft. I'm delighted to share this article, 16 Fancy Literary Techniques Explained by Disney, in hopes it hits the
We enjoyed a warm winter day yesterday (65 degrees in beautiful Colorado!), and I dried my hair in the sun. Not exactly front-page news, but it was a moment that gave me fodder for writing novels. I’m of the no-moment-wasted camp of writers who tuck memories and ideas into my head like a robin picks up string and scraps for her nest. Drying my hair in the sun was a gift—time to sit and be still and enjoy a truly simple pleasure. The day captivated me with birdsong and sunshin
Rome wasn't built in a day. Slow and steady wins the race. Little strokes fell great oaks. You've heard those sayings before. They endure because there's truth to them. Believe me, I know how grueling the writing life can be. It's too easy to become discouraged when you think your journey should be further along than it seems. But we need to remember to say a prayer and persevere in our efforts. Here are some tips to help you persevere: Keep yourself spiritually charged. Rem
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
*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