9 Storytelling Blunders That Make You Look like an Amateur Image from Dark Uncle You may be a grammatical black belt, leaping big vocabulary words in a single bound. But take care: you could still be making elementary mistakes that’ll leave your readers cringing, eye-rolling, and yes, even face-palming. Protect your writerly reputation! 1. The problem: Your character is the Best at Everything, constantly impresses the other characters, and frequently breaks rules yet never gets in real trouble. The fix: Give her fears and weaknesses. 2. The problem: This mistake often goes with the one above. The fix: Give your villain multiple advantages over your hero. 3. The problem: Contrary to action movie tradition, “we got shot at together” is not a valid basis for True Love, especially when your characters have only known each other for weeks, days, or even hours. The fix: Give your characters actual personalities, and something within those personalities that suits them for each other. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Are you guilty any of these mistakes?
Writing a research paper The first step in writing a research paper is, of course, selecting a topic. Several questions should be considered when you make your choice. A. How long is your paper going to be? Select a topic which can be adequately covered in the length of your paper. If your paper is limited to ten pages, for example, a topic like "History of Navigation" is going to be too broad. 1) Find controversy in the literature and discuss it, including your own viewpoint 2) Discuss the changes in theories about some concept 3) Compare the symbolism of the cosmology of two separate cultures 4) compare Russian astronomy before and after the revolution 5) Discuss Plato's influence vs. Once you have chosen a topic, you are ready to begin taking notes. Here are some warm up techniques designed to help you get your thoughts flowing and down on paper. A. A. C. A. 1. settled mainly between 1500-1625 2. settled by men who came alone, as conquerors B. A. A. 1. E. Footnotes are a necessary part of a research paper.
Writing Secrets of Prolific Authors Do you want to be a prolific writer? Isaac Asimov, one of the big three science fiction writers of the twentieth century, published over 500 books including novels, short story collections and non fiction, making him one of the most prolific writers of all time. Asked by Writer’s Digest magazine for the secret to his prolific writing, Asimov said: “I guess I’m prolific because I have a simple and straightforward style.” ~Isaac Asimov (500 books) Could it really be that easy? Write clearly, in a conversational voice Writing clearly, in a simple and straightforward style allows you to write fast. At the same time, when you write fast, you don’t stop to process your thoughts . Best of all, writing clearly should be the goal of every writer. Write fast, and you’ll have a conversational tone. Literary critics dismissed Asimov’s writing as colorless, with functional dialogue and a transparent style. In response to the critics, towards the end of this life, Asimov wrote: Start with a question
Character Chart for Fiction Writers - EpiGuide.com If you're a fiction writer -- whether you're working on a novel, short story, screenplay, television series, play, web series, webserial, or blog-based fiction -- your characters should come alive for your reader or audience. The highly detailed chart below will help writers develop fictional characters who are believable, captivating, and unique. Print this page to complete the form for each main character you create. IMPORTANT: Note that all fields are optional and should be used simply as a guide; character charts should inspire you to think about your character in new ways, rather than constrain your writing. If this character chart is helpful, please let us know! Looking for more character questionnaires / charts? 5 editor's secrets to help you write like a pro I do a lot of copyediting, both of books and advertising collateral. I’ll let you in on a secret that still surprises me, although I’ve seen it hundreds of times now. If you looked at the raw work of most professional writers, you’d be pretty underwhelmed. Professional writers get work because they hit their deadlines, they stay on message, and they don’t throw too many tantrums. Professional writers rely on editors to fix their clunks. Editing, like writing, takes time to learn. 1. Have you ever heard a four-year-old run out of breath before she can finish her thought? Sentences are building blocks, not bungee cords; they’re not meant to be stretched to the limit. 2. A paragraph supports a single idea. 3. Nouns ending in -ing are fine. (If for some insane reason you want to get all geeky about this, you can read the Wikipedia article on gerunds and present participles. 4. I know we all heard this in high school, but we weren’t listening. 5. Bonus: Use spell-check
Character and Characterisation in the Novel How to write convincing characters Characterisation - the task of building characters - isn't easy. But if you're struggling to build characters with real life and vigour, here is our very own patented technique. If you haven't yet started your book, then work on the exercise below before you start. If you have started, but think that maybe you started prematurely, then back up, do the exercise and then look back over your existing work. Oh, and don't feel patronised at being given exercises. Learning to know your characters Strong characterisation is based on knowledge. The Ultimate Character Builder Begin with a blank sheet (or screen). You should aim to cover at least five pages with this exercise. The less central a character is to your book, the less you need to know him/her. And the exercise will work. Checking your work Once you've got a fair way into your writing (say 5 to 10,000 words), then look back at it. Even genre fiction needs swiftly drawn, believable characters.
Get Rid of Ugly Wordiness: How to Cut Your Novel Down to Size My friend Leigh Spencer has a new book of poetry called Tequila and Cookies. With a title like that, you KNOW you want to read it. Article by Lillie Ammann When a writer contacted me to edit his 164,000 word novel, I told him publishers don’t like books that long. We agreed to experiment with the first chapter. He called me after he read the revised first chapter. “Everything important is still there,” I answered. Since he couldn’t tell I’d cut anything, he gave me permission to continue. This is the process I used to cut his novel from 164,000 words to 118,000 words. Eliminate repetition. If a scene is described in action, inner thought, and dialogue, cut out the repetitions and leave the action. Trust your readers. Eliminate unnecessary words. You can cut almost every instance of some words-such as very and that. Use strong verbs rather than weak verbs supported by adverbs. Don’t overuse adjectives. Eliminate backstory. “We’ve never heard of this character before. Cut!
11 Stupidest Writing Mistakes Sales Tips >> Browse Articles >> Proposals and Presentations Professional writers often worry that their work is unnecessary. After all, can’t anyone with even a basic education write? The answer: no, they can’t. Even college graduates don’t seem to be learning composition basics. Of course not everyone is going to be the next Mark Twain, but career success does depend on not looking stupid. Avoid these 11 mistakes and get the job, make the sale, and write better! Constipated Clauses Reporting on the feats and foibles of the Red Sox, a writer for South Coast Today notes: “It goes without saying that these exploits take a tremendous amount of skill.” If it “goes without saying” then don’t say it. “Obviously, the sky is blue.” Comma Vomit True or false: a comma must precede any use of the word “and”? An example of correct comma use: “The game was over, and the crowd began to leave.” A comma can also precede “and” when it is used in a list of three or more items. The Death of Adverbs Less vs.
3 tips to avoid writing a cheesy, shallow romance image by K Kendall Two attractive people meet. Adventure ensues. They get shot at together. One or both of them shares a moving past experience with the other. Sound similar to the romance in your story? Or maybe yours sounds more like: Two attractive people meet. The problem? You might have done this unintentionally. I know. So here’s the approach I’m taking: Try to forget for the first eight tenths of your book that there even will be a romantic relationship. Develop the characters individually before you develop their romance. It might help to think of primetime dramas instead of movies or books—the ones where the two leads are always dancing around a relationship. The audience really gets to know the characters.The characters really get to know each other.You build a ton more tension. Pretend you’re writing about two people becoming friends. In literature, as in life, it’s best to build the friendship first. But it goes much deeper. There’s little mention of Mr. Aspire to that.
Using Excel To Outline Your NaNoWriMo Novel: Defeating the sprawl We're smack in the middle of NaNoWriMo and, I hope you're faring better, but my novel has grown a mite cluttered. I did have an outline when I began (really, I did!) and I have followed it ... more or less ... but my characters had ideas of their own. The result looks a bit like a ball of wool after a cat played with it. Normally I'd go back and tidy things up by re-writing what I have so far. Outlining the NaNoWriMo Novel: Excel To The Rescue The solution? It's marvelous! When I first saw Jeffrey's spreadsheet I was a bit intimidated, but just hold on, everything is simple and easily explained. Here's a link to an example of one of Jeffrey's spreadsheets, this one is of the movie Independence Day: Outline of Independence Day done in Excel. Let's step through Jeffrey's spreadsheet column by column: Column 1 - Tells you were you are in the act structure. Column 2 - Page length estimates for each scene. Column 3 - Brief description of the scene. Column 4 - Your slug line. Example: INT. Column 5
Setting the Scene - Four Ways to Put the Reader in the Picture Whenever you start a new scene or chapter in your story, it is always a good idea to orientate the reader. The reader wants to identify with a character, get a sense of place and time, and understand the needs of this character right before the conflict or tension starts. In a way, the writer can think of these as scene markers. Here are the four ways to make your reader comfortable. Character markerSetting markerTime markerGoal marker The basics For example, you could open a scene like this: Greg stood barefoot on the warm wooden deck of his holiday house in Clarens, looking out at the Maluti Mountains. Take a different approach Of course, you could play with each of these markers as you become more experienced as a writer. Deep space Indeed, you could create abstract elements in each marker to intrigue the reader and pull them in, taking them in to the story from a different viewpoint or using an unusual narrative voice. by Anthony Ehlers Follow Anthony on Twitter and Facebook.
10 Days of Character Building: Wrap Up Character Bio Sheets A bio sheet is a way of keeping track of a character’s physical description, traits and attributes. This method is familiar to anyone who enjoys role playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons. Using a Bio Sheet gives you an excellent reference point to go back to when you need to remember key information about your character. Defining Characters By Their Roles There are specific roles that characters fall into when you are writing a story. Building a Character Using Multiple Perspectives This technique helps you to build relationships. Key Questions This is a simple list of questions that provide insight into your character and how your character fits into your story. Basing Characters on Real People We often draw inspiration for fictional characters from people we know in real life. A Day in the Life Once the events of a story kick into motion, main characters are pushed outside of their boundaries and comfort zones. Interview Biography Possessions Brainstorming
The Top Ten Mistakes New Fiction Authors Make by Sally Zigmond Are you wondering why your short stories keep coming back with polite rejection letters? It could be that one of these ten "fatal errors" is standing between you and publication! Lack of Editing. Dull Writing. Too Much Irrelevant Detail. No Attention to Language. Absence of Imagery and Reliance on Cliches. No Sense of Place. No Shape or Structure. Poor Dialogue Skills. Lack of Technical Knowledge. My Top Tip. Copyright © 2002 Sally ZigmondThis article may not be reprinted without the author's written permission. Sally Zigmond has had nonfiction and fiction published in several magazines, as well as anthologies, and has won several major short story competitions.
Beginners' four faults As an editor, I know when I am reading someone's first novel. I have nicknames for the four give-away faults beginners make: (1) Walk and Chew Gum (2) Furry Dice (3) Tea, Vicar? (4) Styrofoam. I see at least one of these in every manuscript where the author has not mastered the craft of writing before submitting in his or her work. (1) Walk and Chew GumThe writer has not integrated action and dialogue, internal monologue and action, or internal monologue with dialogue. "If you think you're going to town you'd better thing again," said Ralph. Not integrating action and dialogue makes for jerky, lifeless prose. "If you think you're going to town you'd better think again," Ralph snapped, putting down his can of beer. This might not be award-winning prose, but it reflects the reality of the action and feelings better by having action, thought and dialogue knitted together. (2) Furry DiceAdjectives, adverbs and prepositions are furry dice hanging from a car's mirror. (3) Tea, Vicar?