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The 7 worst ways to start your novel - Pro Writing Tips

The 7 worst ways to start your novel - Pro Writing Tips
Aspiring novelists are always intimidated by the classics, especially when it comes to writing the opening of the novel. Look at what we have to live up to: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” — A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens“Mother died today. Or maybe, yesterday; I can’t be sure.” — The Stranger, Albert Camus“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” — 1984, George Orwell Who wouldn’t be shaking in their boots at the thought of having to measure up to such greatness? While I can’t tell you how to start your novel to get your name on that list, I can give you some tips on what not to do, so that your manuscript won’t end up in the trash can of agents and publishing houses around the country. 7. 6. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1. If you’re still struggling with your opening, check out the for inspiration. Related Posts

Short Stories: 10 Tips for Creative Writers (Kennedy and Jerz) (Dennis G. Jerz, Seton Hill University) How do you keep your readers reading? - Pro Writing Tips Mar 2nd, 2009 | By John Roach | Category: Big Picture I’m going to fail you today. I don’t have the answers. I’ve got some ideas. I’ve got techniques for making sure your readers make it all the way to your last sentence, but not the end-all, be-all. I’m hoping you can fill in the blanks. Without further ado, here are 10 tricks you can use to keep your readers engaged. Structure A good hook. Style Use the active voice and short, simple sentences. Substance Don’t make statements; ask questions and then answer them later.Let your passion for the topic shine through. What techniques do you use to ensure reader engagement? Related Posts Tags: active, lists, tips, verbs

How to Write a Good Story Beginning on August 11th, 2010 by Fiction Editor Beth Hill and last modified on April 11, 2012 Your first chapter, your opening scene, your very first words are an invitation to readers. Have you made your invitation inviting? That is, is it tempting or attractive or irresistible? Once a reader has glanced at your opening, will he or she find the story impossible to put down? That’s one aim of your story opening, to issue a hard-to-resist invitation to your fictional world. Books compete with movies and other books and games and the Internet and families and lovers—why wouldn’t you give your opening the strongest chance to snare a reader’s attention? What can be found in a compelling opening? MurderBetrayalConflictJealousyDeathGuiltThe unexpectedConfusionA new worldFearSurpriseUpheavalThe unusual What isn’t compelling? RoutineBlissPointless talkBack storyCliched characters Consider your first scene and first words your invitation to readers. Give them a reason to begin your story. Leave a Reply

Understanding Narrative Mode - Pro Writing Tips Good storytelling deals as much with how a story is told as it does with what a story is. The dramatic moments and insight into the characters and their conflicts all come from information gathered about those characters. One of the easiest ways to build that drama is through an understanding of narrative voice. Each narrative mode has its own strengths and weaknesses, and thus each will benefit different types of stories. First Person Though the First Person narrative mode has been used throughout the literary ages, the particular style has recently come back into vogue, perhaps spurred by the rise of two particular genres—blogs and memoirs. With regards to informational limits, the First Person mode is exceptionally restricted. This narrative voice is exceptionally flexible and can go very far to illustrate the personality of whoever is telling the story. Third Person The vast majority of stories are narrated from the third person. Limited Selective Omniscient Objective Second Person

How to Hook Your Readers on June 14th, 2010 by Fiction Editor Beth Hill and last modified on November 8, 2010 Remember the musical number from Gypsy, “Gotta Get a Gimmick”? The strippers advised Gypsy Rose Lee that to be successful, she’d need a gimmick, something eye-catching that would grab the attention of audience members. Writers likewise need attention-attracting elements to steer the focus of their readers to the story in their hands (and keep it there). Books compete with TV, computers, movies, hand-held devices and who-knows-what-else for attention. So, how do you entice your reader to stay with your book? You hook her, engage her with an incident from the life of your lead character. No, you don’t need to shoot someone or blow up a building and have your lead save someone from burning to death (even though those scenes work for action movies), but you do need to make the reader pay attention. Consider events from your own life. That’s the same kind of incident you want to start with to open your novel. Fun.

How to Make Readers Feel Emotion on January 30th, 2011 by Fiction Editor Beth Hill and last modified on February 8, 2011 I wrote an article on the importance of creating emotions in readers, but I’ve noticed that writers are looking for specifics on how to accomplish that. So, this article complements that first one, presents practical tips on how to stir the reader’s emotions. Readers like to be touched, moved, by story. Fiction, whether in book or film or games, allows people to not only step into other worlds, but to experience those worlds. Since readers want to immerse themselves in other worlds and other lives, what can writers do to make that experience authentic, to make the fictional world real for a few hours? One technique the writer can make use of to create reality out of fiction is to induce emotion in readers, make them feel something of what the characters are experiencing. But how can a writer accomplish this? 1. This is a major key for rousing reader emotions. 2. Help your readers know your characters.

Where Should a Second Chapter Start? on October 12th, 2010 by Fiction Editor Beth Hill and last modified on October 12, 2010 We’ve all read advice about the first chapter—how and where to begin a story; what makes for strong openings, depending on the genre; what not to include in the first paragraph or page of chapter one; what to include in a novel’s opening. We understand that a good opening chapter sets the tone and introduces lead characters and gets the plot rolling. We know almost as much about the final chapter, the final paragraph, and the final words. Yet, where’s the advice for chapter two? What do we do to move from that compelling first chapter—the one that’s seen more rewrites than all other pages combined and multiplied by 10—and into the meat of the story? We certainly want to continue the tone we’ve established. Sure there are. Where should a second chapter start? 1. 2. Start your second chapter with spice or delight or fun. After the invitation of chapter one, draw the reader deeper into your fiction.

Expanded Power Revision Checklist Would you like to be a published poet? Would you like recognition for your work? Please check out the "Invalid Item" Part I of the Writers Workshop: Expanded Power Revision Checklist I first presented the content of this article at a writers workshop. Hence, the way this material is formatted and presented here is probably more suited to verbal presentation in a class with hands-on examples. and seeing a need amongst fellow writers for a more in-depth handling of these superb techniques, I decided to do some moderate reformatting to make this reader-friendly and suitable for posting. This article is a compilation of the techniques culled, distilled, and synthesized from the thirty-eight references listed at the end of this piece. Warning: Some of these techniques may not fit with what you may have thought was great writing. Although these techniques apply to both fiction and non-fiction, most of my examples utilize fiction because it is my favorite form. 1. 2. a. b. Mrs. Mrs. Mrs. Mrs. 3.

Show, Don't (Just) Tell (Dennis G. Jerz, Seton Hill University) How to Write a Story: Creative Story Ideas, Tips to Help You Write Your Own Book Get creative story ideas, write your own book! Want to write a good book? Check out these tips on how to write a story that captures readers' attention from beginning to end: How to Write a Story #1: Know Your Market, Get Story Ideas and Outline Your Plot The first step is to know who you are writing for, and what your readers want; this may lead you to novel ideas for stories. Work on your plot and prepare your story outline before you begin writing. How to Write a Story #2: Plan Your Settings Familiarize yourself with your story setting. As you write, add in details as they appear in the story. If you're writing for young children, keep the setting simple; limit the number of locations, for example home, school, playground, friends' homes. Older children, teens and adults, however, require more diversified settings to add interest to the story. How to Write a Story #3: Flesh Out Your Characters Give your characters names; as soon as they're named, these people will come alive for you.

Character meme fun! This is how I was procrastinating during the exam period. "Post-processual theory? ...After I've cleared out my hard drive, I think... ... ooh! Sad, eh? Choose ten of your OCs, then answer the questions. 1) Aedán mac Fionn - Gairea's cousin, a novice Druid 2) Sargaid ní Illan - Chief Druidess of the Epidii tribe; Gairea's mentor 3) Gaius Decius Crassus - Marcus' tentmate and best friend 4) Marcus Valerius Laevinus - a legionary of Legio XX Valeria Victrix 5) Garnat son of Talan - sister-son and heir of Calgach of the Caledones 6) Gairea ní Machar - novice Druidess and seer 7) Cathal mac Comgall - champion of the Epidii tribe 8) Calgach son of Brude - King of the Caledones tribe 9) Gnaeus Julius Agricola - Governor of Britannia 10) Tuathal mac Fiacha - an exiled prince from Eriu 1. 4 invites 3 and 8 to dinner at their house. Ouch! 2. 9 tries to get 5 to go to a strip club. 3. Er... 4. 2 and 7 are making out. 10 walks in. "MY EYES! (Actually, that would probably be my reaction, too. Marcus? 10.