David Morrell On the Key to Settings
In his CraftFest session at ThrillerFest, “Setting: How to Make Your Novel Go Places,” David Morrell (author of First Blood) riffed on how to produce fantastic settings that become characters in their own right. Morrell pointed out that settings are seldom talked about, and often receive short shrift in comparison to other craft elements. But they shouldn’t. So what’s the key to crafting distinct, rich, truly alive settings in your work? “What we need to do is forget about sight, and concentrate on feeling,” Morrell said. Hemingway would describe a scene so you would feel it as if you were really there. Morrell cited novelist John Barth’s method of “triangulation”—you take the sense of sight for granted, and add two other senses from among the remaining four. When sight alone is used, Morrell said that’s what causes a piece of writing to seem “flat” or “one dimensional.” So you triangulate. But you can tackle it in revision. –Watch for balance and clarity of POV characters.
Things Writers Should Stop Doing
I read this cool article last week — “30 Things To Stop Doing To Yourself” — and I thought, hey, heeeey, that’s interesting. Writers might could use their own version of that. So, I started to cobble one together. That is, then, how you should read this: me, yelling at me. Then go forth and kick your writing year in the teeth. Onto the list. 1. Right here is your story. 2. Momentum is everything. 3. You have a voice. 4. Worry is some useless shit. 5. The rise of self-publishing has seen a comparative surge forward in quantity. 6. I said “stop hurrying,” not “stand still and fall asleep.” 7. It’s not going to get any easier, and why should it? 8. You don’t get to be a proper storyteller by putting it so far down your list it’s nestled between “Complete the Iditarod (but with squirrels instead of dogs)” and “Two words: Merkin, Macrame.” 9. The mind is the writer’s best weapon. 10. 11. 12. Writers are often ashamed at who they are and what they do. 13. Yeah, yeah, yeah. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18.
A Simple Novel Outline – 9 questions for 25 chapters « H.E. Roulo
Just as every tree is different but still recognizably a tree, every story is different but contains elements that make it a story. By defining those before you begin you clarify the scope of your work, identify your themes, and create the story you meant to write. At Norwescon 2011 I sat in on a session called Outline Your Novel in 90-minutes led by Mark Teppo. I’ll give you the brief, readable, synthesized version. Answer 9 questions and create 25 chapter titles and you’re there. Here are the 9 questions to create a novel: 1.) 2.) 3.) 4.) 5.) 6.) 7.) 8.) 9.) Now, with those 9 questions answered to your satisfaction, try to fill in a 25 chapter, 75,000 word outline. Chapters 7-18 are the middle of your book. Chapters 19-25 depict the heroic act to victory. Wasn’t that easy? Okay, sure, the work isn’t done yet. Using the idea that there are 25 chapters, I outlined my current work in progress. I hope that was helpful. Tell me what works for you. Related 6 Steps to Masterful Writing Critiques
Wouldn’t it be great if nobody ever needed an editor? If all of our stories and novels appeared in readers’ minds just as beautifully and vividly and succinctly they do in our own? Wouldn’t it be great if the story we think we’ve told were, in fact, the story we’ve told? There are more aspiring writers producing more manuscripts now than ever before history, and the writing-advice industry is keeping stride with totally conflicting instructions. I’d like to simplify that a little for you. 1. This is the biggest reason manuscripts get rejected. Every novel needs a focus. At the same time, every novel needs a really good reason for the reader to care. And every novel needs a series of intriguing, hair-raising, addictive events carrying the reader from the Hook to the Climax. The hardest thing for aspiring writers to believe is that all this is holographic: what’s essential for the novel is also essential for the chapter, episode, even scene. Read that again. 2. 3. I’m sorry. 4.
25 Things You Should Know About Character
Previous iterations of the “25 Things” series: 25 Things Every Writer Should Know 25 Things You Should Know About Storytelling And now… Here you’ll find the many things I believe — at this moment! — about characters: 1. Without character, you have nothing. 2. A great character can be the line between narrative life and story death. 3. Don’t believe that all those other aspects are separate from the character. 4. The audience will do anything to spend time with a great character. 5. It is critical to know what a character wants from the start. 6. It doesn’t matter if we “like” your character, or in the parlance of junior high whether we even “like-like” your character. 7. It is critical to smack the audience in the crotchal region with an undeniable reason to give a fuck. 8. You must prove this thesis: “This character is worth the audience’s time.” 9. Don’t let the character be a dingleberry stuck to the ass of a toad as he floats downriver on a bumpy log. 10. 11. 12. 13. The law of threes.
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7 steps to creativity - how to have ideas
A guest post by Simon Townley of WriteMindset As a writer, having ideas is one of the most important parts of your craft. But often it seems like one of the most difficult and challenging parts of the whole process. How do you keep ideas flowing? How do you create a wealth of ideas to choose from? Some people like to wait for inspiration to strike. Luckily, there is a formula for producing ideas on a consistent basis. But if you need to produce strong and creative ideas regularly as part of your writing career, then it pays to know the formula, and how to use it. First of all, what is an idea? “An idea is nothing more nor less than a new combination of old elements.” So how do you combine old elements into new? “The capacity to bring old elements into new combinations depends largely on the ability to see relationships.” Young says the ability to see relationships between facts is the most important factor in coming up with ideas. How do you cultivate it? Step 1 – Gather your information
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102 Resources for Fiction Writing « Here to Create
UPDATE 1/10: Dead links removed, new links added, as well as Revision and Tools and Software sections. Are you still stuck for ideas for National Novel Writing Month? Or are you working on a novel at a more leisurely pace? Here are 102 resources on Character, Point of View, Dialogue, Plot, Conflict, Structure, Outlining, Setting, and World Building, plus some links to generate Ideas and Inspiration. 10 Days of Character Building Name Generators Name Playground The Universal Mary Sue Litmus Test Priming the idea pump (A character checklist shamlessly lifted from acting) How to Create a Character Seven Common Character Types Handling a Cast of Thousands – Part I: Getting to Know Your Characters It’s Not What They Say . . . Establishing the Right Point of View: How to Avoid “Stepping Out of Character” How to Start Writing in the Third Person Web Resources for Developing Characters What are the Sixteen Master Archetypes? Building Fictional Characters Fiction Writer’s Character Chart Speaking of Dialogue