If you want to write fiction, you’ve got to read fiction. A whole freaking lot of it.
Start by reading any and every short story and novel you can get your hands on. Don’t worry about taking notes or thinking too much into the stories. Just read. Chances are, you’ve already done a lot of it. All writers come to writing through reading first.
Spend as much time as you can spare browsing new book stores, used book stores, and ebook stores. Free ebooks are a great resource that cost very little and they’re all over the place. There are a lot of great free titles out there, especially some of the classics that are in the public domain.
Carry notebooks with you as often as you can. I like the solid dependability of a large Moleskine Classic, but buy whatever kind of notebook pleases you…
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There are plenty of folks happy to tell you how to write better, just as any doctor will tell you to “eat right and exercise.” But changing your writing (or eating) habits only happens when you understand why you do what you do. I can help you with that.
That proposal or email you wrote must now compete for attention with Facebook and the Huffington Post. Here’s how to compete more effectively, and why you’re not doing it already.
1 Write shorter.
Why it matters. Readers are impatient and will give up on your blog post, email, or document before you’ve made your point. Every extra word makes readers antsy.
Why you write long. It’s far easier to type than to edit. So people just keep adding things.
How to fix it. Edit. Delete your “warming up” text and start with the main point. Cull extraneous detail and repetition. Work…
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Defining Indirect Characterization
Indirect characterization is the process by which the writer shows the character’s personality through speech, actions and appearance. When you watch a movie or television show, you can usually gather what type of person the main character is based on the character’s actions and reactions in different situations. There isn’t a label on the screen that necessarily says ‘angelic, gullible teen’ or ‘selfish, arrogant villain.’ Instead, you have to watch and listen to that person to notice how the character’s personality is revealed through the story. By doing so, you are seeing how indirect characterization is being used on the screen. This also occurs in many novels and short stories. Instead of watching the character, you imagine the character in your head as you read descriptions of the actions and dialogue.
Indirect vs Direct Characterizations
Indirect characterization should not be confused with direct characterization, which is when…
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Second Person Point of View
Telling a story using you is called second person point of view. Using this viewpoint, you control all of the information and give the reader whatever you want.
Example: “You open your eyes and the sun is already high in the sky. You’ve slept away the whole morning. You roll over on the hot sand, scrambling to your knees. The events of last night come rushing back to you…”
Very little fiction is written in second person with the exception of “choose your own adventure” types of books, or books about psychosis. But it is a popular style for a lot of non-fiction self-help books, and tourism ads.
It often has a jarring effect in fiction and is the least popular viewpoint. Your reader picks up a book to escape into another character for awhile and using “you” destroys this illusion. And it just…
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What Causes Writer’s Block
Writer’s block is often caused by conflicted feelings. We want the writing to be perfect and we want the paper done as soon as possible. We know what we know but we don’t know what our readers know. We know how the memo should sound, but we don’t have all the facts we need. We know everything about the software, but we don’t know what an article should look like. We know what we have to say but we are afraid that it won’t measure up to our expectations or to our readers’ expectations.
All of these feelings are natural and normal. Everyone finds writing a challenge. Many writers, however, compound their problems by employing weak writing strategies. When these methods fail, they give up.
Weak Strategies for Dealing with Writer’s Block
Using trial and error
Since our short-term memory is limited, trying to juggle in…
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How do you write good back blurb?
This is a list of what featured most often from a number of bestselling thrillers reviewed as research from my bookshelf. The principles hold true for any genre although the details change for each.
A hint of the plot. “Secret experiment. Tiny island. Big mistake.” (Scott Sigler, Ancestor); “must fight their way past traps, labyrinths and a host of deadly enemies”.
Use of words that evoke images and resonate with readers of the genre. Examples, “ancient monastery” (Raymond Khoury, The Sign), “hidden esoteric wisdom, Masonic secrets” (Dan Brown, The Lost Symbol), “the secret behind Noah’s Ark” (Boyd Morrison, The Ark), “Druidic pagan cross” (James Rollins, The Doomsday Key); “A buried Egyptian temple. A secret kept for 6000 years. A race for life worth killing for.” (Andy McDermott, The Pyramid of Doom)
Main characters are named and characterized. “TV news reporter Gracie Logan. Matt…
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I bet if you hung around on a random street corner and asked ten different passers-by how to get to the airport, they’d all give you different answers.
Okay, maybe if you’re lucky, they’d suggest similar routes. But they’d all use different words to say it. Even the, “Uh, don’t know,” answers would likely come out differently.
“I’m sorry, I really couldn’t say.”
“No friggin idea.”
“Get a map, man.”
How does each of your characters talk? The answer will depend on:
-Geographic background (a Texan doesn’t speak the same as a Bostonian)
-Age (Like, is your character, like, a total teenager?)
-Personality (Is your character nervous, impulsive, aggressive, flirtatious, shy?)
-Your character’s relationship with the person she’s speaking with. She wouldn’t talk to her boss the same way she speaks to a friend or to her five-year-old son.
-Your character’s attitude to the conversation topic. Does it…
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Dos and don’ts for writing dialogue
Pay attention to each character’s different speaking style.
Edit dialogue to trim off most of the fat. A lot of what people say is just blah-blah-blah, but you don’t want to bore your reader.
Show how the character speaks instead of telling it. If the character speaks angrily, you can make this come through in her words — it’s therefore often not necessary to add an expressive dialogue tag such as, “she said angrily.” The same if a character is shouting or crying, etc. Keep the reader’s attention on your character’s speech, not your explanation of it.
Don’t get too colorful with the dialogue tags. “Hello,” she shouted; “Hi there,” he cried; “How are you?” she queried,” “Fine thanks,” he shrilled”… too much of this stuff gets distracting fast. Put your thesaurus away. The basic dialogue verbs “say,” “tell,” and “ask,”…
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1. Respect The Genre. Respect The Reader
Bring the same attention and regard to writing about sex as you would to anything else you’d write. Assume the reader wants — and is capable of appreciating — something beyond a jerk-off vehicle. There’s nothing wrong with getting off — I always hope my readers are getting off on what I write!
— but I want to affect people between the ears as much as between the legs.
There’s nothing wrong with getting off – I always hope my readers are getting off on what I write! – but I want to affect people between the ears as much as between the legs.
2. Spare The Rod
The throbbing rod, that is, and all other coy euphemisms for body parts. Please don’t tell me about our hero’s member, or manhood, or hard hot tool or battering ram. Likewise, don’t refer to our…
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