Short Stories: 10 Tips for Creative Writers (Kennedy and Jerz) (Dennis G. Jerz, Seton Hill University) 8 Ways to Write Better Characters The very first novel I, aged 20-something, wrote, is unpublished and will stay that way. An ensemble coming-of-age story of four teenagers, its weaknesses are legion: tame story line, thin action, unimaginatively rendered settings, hackneyed themes (though I will say the dialogue wasn’t bad). Having now published seven novels, I look back on that manuscript and realize that underlying the shortcomings I just mentioned lies its principal flaw: poor character development. The kids just don’t pop. So I’ve been pleased to read reviews of my latest novels (the Rita Farmer mysteries) that praise the characterization—and I’ve been struck by the number of them that cite the realism of my characters’ relationships. While plot is important, good characters can make or break your book. Let’s consider, to start, the categories of relationships we might write in our fiction: … and so many more. Everybody has relationships. Then, explore who they are beyond themselves. Here’s how. 1. 2. 3. No. 4. 5. 6.
And the Pace is On: Understanding and Controlling Your Pacing By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy My husband isn't a YA reader (though I'm trying to change that) and when he read my book for the first time, one of his comments was: "Wow, you do stuff in three pages that would take an adult book three chapters." An exaggeration, but there's truth in there. YA is usually faster paced that adult work, because kids won't put up with something that drags. Pacing is one way to keep that attention. Different types of sentences read at different speeds. You can control your pacing by how you organize information for to the reader. Dialog tends to read quickly because it's a lot of short sentences in a row. It's how you put it all together that determines the pace. Shorter sentences pick up the pace. Long sentences slow things down. Did you notice the difference in pacing between those two paragraphs? How much information the reader is required to absorb also influences pacing. Description is the opposite. Does that mean you always want a fast pace?
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. 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
7 Essential Elements of Character Creation Last week Nikki Jefford requested a post on developing characters. There are many different approaches toward developing characters for a story. Last year I wrote a post on different ways to get to know your characters which might help anyone getting started. The techniques I included were the use of visual aids, character questionnaires and family trees. Each author needs to find the technique that works for them. No matter what method an author chooses to adopt, there are a number of elements that are essential to include in the creation of every character: The name: Many writers will start with a name and build on the character from there. The appearance: There are a lot of factors to consider for the appearance of a character: their height and build, how they project themselves, if they have any scars or tattoos, and so much more. The motivation: The easiest way I get to know my characters is to find out what drives them. --I was recently tagged by Tiffany Garner.
Move Along: Fixing Pacing Problems By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy Pacing problems fall into two categories: too slow or too fast. While this makes it easy to diagnose the trouble, it takes a bit more to solve the actual problem. Too slow can be an editing issue, a stakes issue, or even a structure issue. Too fast can be a plotting problem, a characterization problem, or yes, a structure problem. If your pacing isn’t where you want it to be, try to identify what the problem is. Too Slow While any number of things can contribute to a slow pace, too much of something is usually the culprit. Description: Look for long descriptive passages, especially if the scene is supposed to be fast-paced or have a lot of action. Too Much: A too-fast pace often comes with a lot of action being throw at the reader. Complicated Complications: Having things go wrong is a good thing, but if every little thing that can go wrong does go wrong, they all start merging together. There is also no rule for chapter length.
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? 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. Give them a reason to turn pages. Give them a reason to race to the end. Invite readers into your story. Leave a Reply
Show, Don't (Just) Tell (Dennis G. Jerz, Seton Hill University) Using Ebooks to Understand Story Structure When we’re on the writing learning curve, we have to learn so many aspects of the craft that we can become overwhelmed. We have to learn how to develop characters, follow grammar rules, include settings and emotion, etc. One aspect that many writers struggle with is learning story structure. Story structure refers to how we can organize a story so it creates a satisfying experience for readers. If we’ve ever had a friend try to describe a movie, book, or a real-life event and they keep rambling or going off on tangents, we understand the importance of a good structure for making a story enjoyable. On the other hand, we might have a friend who can make their daily check of the mailbox sound like an adventure. In other words, good story structure is an important element of good storytelling. So let’s take a look at how we can better understand what story structure is, and how we can learn from other stories how to use it in our own… What Is Story Structure? There’s no right or wrong answer.
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.
Where to Find Ideas for Writing a Story Ideas for writing a story It always seem like there are too many writing ideas or not enough. When you don’t have time to write, ideas come hurtling out of nowhere. Chances are, you’re not really out of ideas; you’re just not in the mood to write. Luckily, ideas for writing a story are all around you. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. What kind of stories do you write? About Melissa DonovanMelissa Donovan is a website designer and copywriter. 7 Tools For Pacing A Novel | Shirley McLain Pacing is a crucial component of fiction writing. After all, it’s important to keep your readers “hooked” throughout your story. Whether you are just getting started in writing or looking to break into fiction writing, you’ll need to know the basics of how to pace a novel. Read today’s tip of the day from Crafting Novels & Short Stories. In this excerpt written by Jessica Page Morrell, she explains what pacing is and seven ways to keep your story moving at the right pace. What is Pacing in Fiction? Pacing is a tool that controls the speed and rhythm at which a story is told, and the readers are pulled through the events. Pacing differs with the specific needs of a story. Pacing is part structural choices and part word choices and uses a variety of devices to control how fast the story unfolds. Seven Literary Devices for Pacing Your Story You need speed in the opening, middle, and climax of your story. There are lots of tools to hasten your story. ACTION. CLIFF HANGERS. DIALOGUE. SUMMARY.
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. 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