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. They like to imagine themselves in worlds and situations that challenge them, that give them opportunity to do and be something other than what they do or are in their real lives. 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? But how can a writer accomplish this? 1. This is a major key for rousing reader emotions. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.
When to Discard the Three-Act Story Structure There are times to follow the rules of story, and there are times to break the rules. When should you use the three-act story structure, and when should you discard it entirely? Story Structure in Ken Follett’s Century Trilogy I’ve finally gotten around to finishing Ken Follett’s Century Trilogy with Edge of Eternity, and hoo boy, there is a lot that happens in that book. One could argue that there’s a lot that happens in all three books, given that they cover a one-hundred-year timespan, but the final installment felt much fuller than the other two. While each of the first two seemed to revolve around a World War, the third picked up multiple events between 1960 and 1990: the American civil rights movement, the Cuban missile crisis, the Kennedy assassination, the British Invasion, the Vietnam War, Watergate, the fall of communism in eastern Europe, and finally, the fall of the Berlin Wall. Can You Really Discard the Three-Act Structure? Sure, why not? Have fun!
Today's Author | 8 Steps All Writers Follow When They Edit Every author has a different approach to writing. I know this because I read Rebecca Bradley’s wonderful series on how writers do their thing. Each author she spotlights adds a personal twist that intrigues me. Not so surprisingly, no one’s approach is like mine. Here’s how I write a novel: Draft out events for the novel in a spreadsheet program like Excel. JK Rowling’s is low-tech, but still an obvious spreadsheet: Convert the draft to a word processing program like MS Word. 99.9% of you are saying, Gee. Ignore the fat lady if she starts warming up. Lest you think I’m the only one who writes like this, check out Gina Holmes at Novel Rocket or Adam Blumer here. More about editing:15 BIG Writing BlundersHow to Edit Your Novel (according to Yuvi)10 Tips Guaranteed to Rescue Your StoryBook Review: Self-editing for Fiction Writers Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. Follow me.
Charts and Diagrams Drawn by Famous Authors Being the literary nerds that we are over here, we’re obsessed with everything about our favorite authors, and particularly the little scraps of writerly intention — things that give us a view into an author’s thought process and planning technique, or even just a peek at the way they see and order the world. Plus, we like to see that authors work out their thoughts with forced attempts at organization and scribbled-out ideas just like the rest of us. Writers often use plot charts to organize the threads of complicated stories, but they’ve also been known to crank out diagrams of the travels of other people’s characters, chart-style teaching tools, and even hand-drawn maps. Jack Kerouac.
7 Keys To Write the Perfect First Line of a Novel Earlier this week, I read “Poppies,” a short story by Ulrica Hume, one of our authors on Story Cartel. Initially, I had only planned on skimming a few pages, but the first line hooked me. Before long, I was finishing the last page.1 Great first lines have that power, the power to entice your reader enough that it would be unthinkable to set the book down. Free Guide: Want to become a writer? This post is about what makes great first lines great. Note that some of these lines are a bit longer than one sentence. By the way, if you haven’t already read Monica Clark’s excellent post about writing the perfect first page from Monday, you should read it immediately. Let’s get started, shall we? Perfect First Lines Are Vivid Here’s the line from Ulrica Hume’s “Poppies” that caught my attention. I was born upside down, the umbilical cord looped twice around my neck. It’s a simple sentence, but I love it. Great first lines instantly invite us into an image. Isn’t that a cool image? Mr. and Mrs.
How to Write a Synopsis of Your Novel by Glen C. Strathy* To sell your novel, you may need to know how to write a synopsis, even if you are a pantser-type novelist who can write a whole novel without making an outline first. Agents and publishers will often ask for a synopsis along with sample chapters before they request a complete manuscript. The biggest mistake most people make when they try to write a synopsis for the first time is to create a bare bones plot summary, along the lines of “First this happens, then this happens, then this happens...” Synopses written this way tend to be so dry and boring even the author would have trouble understanding why anyone would want to read the full novel. Imagine, for example, if a sports writer described a hockey game as “First one team scored. What makes a hockey game or a novel mesmerizing is not a step-by-step description of what happens, but the emotions that accompany the actions, the anticipation, fear, hope, excitement, and disappointment at each turn of events.
A Screenwriter's Bag of Tricks Most of our writing tips focus on the creation of a sound story, regardless of the medium in which you are working. But since the writing of screenplays has its own unique restrictions, requirements, and opportunities, we thought it might be useful to offer a Screenwriter's Bag of Tricks. Like any good grab bag, this collection of tips and techniques is in no particular order. Some are geared to the beginning screenwriter, others to the expert. Use index cards to work out the scenes in your script Index cards (3x5 or 5x7 in size) are often used by screenwriters to plan out the sequence of events in their stories. Then, you may realize that you actually have a gap in the action that requires the creation of another challenge. You might also realize that you have two challenges that are too much alike, or that would happen too close to each other, so you decide to lose one, or combine two into a single one that makes it all the stronger. Break up long monologs among several characters 1. 2.
25 Things To Know About Writing The First Chapter Of Your Novel 1. Every Book A Hook (And The First Chapter’s The Bait) A reader walks into a bookstore. Spies an interesting book. 2. Bring the reader to the story as late you possibly can — we’re talking just before the flight leaves, just before the doors to the club are about to close, just before the shit’s gonna go down. 3. A great first line is the collateral that grants the author a line of intellectual credit from the reader. 4. I’ve been to multiple Christopher Moore book talks, and each time he reveals something interesting about storytelling (and, occasionally, whale penises). 5. If I get to the end of the first chapter and I don’t get a feel for your main character — if she and I are not connected via some gooey invisible psychic tether — I’m out. 6. I want the character to talk. 7. Yeast thrives on sugar. 8. The reader will only keep reading if you provide them with an 8 oz porterhouse steak and — *checks notes* — oh. 9. 10. First impressions matter. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 19. 20.
A quick overview of the Hero’s Journey | Jordan McCollum Planning out a novel? Be sure to join my newsletter for a FREE plotting/revision roadmap, and check out the full series on plotting novels in a free PDF! Over the last two weeks, we’ve looked at two plotting methods. The Hero’s Journey is based on the universal archetype work of Carl Jung, as applied by Joseph Campbell. I first learned about the hero’s journey in high school. Ahem. The Hero’s Journey The story begins in The Ordinary World. Then comes the Call to Adventure. Normally, the hero isn’t interested. Fear doesn’t have to be the only reason for refusal—he may also have noble reasons, or perhaps other characters are preventing him from leaving (on purpose or inadvertently). Sometimes it takes a mentor to get the hero on the right path. Now we’re ready for Crossing the First Threshold. The bulk of the story comes in the Tests, Allies and Enemies phase. Then things start to get serious with the Approach to the Inmost Cave (can’t you just hear a booming, echoing voice?). The Ordeal.
Why "Start With the Action" Messes Up So Many Writers By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy If I took a poll for the most common writing advice, “start with the action” would make the list. Which it should, as it’s great advice. But it’s also like “show, don’t tell.” We know we ought to do it, but we don’t always know how, and those four words don’t help. This can be especially hard on new writers, because they can feel like they’re doing everything right and not getting anywhere with their writing. Maybe it’s the movie industry and all those summer blockbusters, but say “action scene” and most people are going to envision something Michael Bay-ish—car chases, fights, explosions, people in dire straits. Openings where the reader doesn’t care = bad. Thus the problem with this wonderful, yet often frustrating, advice. Let’s break down these four not-so-simple words and explore what “start with the action” really means. Simple version: Start with something happening—characters physically doing something to achieve a goal. Sounds crazy simple, right?
The Strange Case of Cormac McCarthy, Screenwriter We rarely appraise our most revered literary writers on the basis of their screenwriting. The bald truth is that most great writers never wrote original screenplays, and when they did, they were seldom produced. (Even the crop of famous literary men who dabbled in Hollywood — Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Nabokov, Dos Passos — routinely failed.) Nor do we judge these writers on their adapted screenplays, precisely because these works were adaptations and not originals, but also because Hollywood is a collaboration machine that historically chews up and swallows the solitary imagination, at least during production. More often than not, the perception of the film’s quality determines the value of the screenplay. One revered writer has entered into this strange literary territory is Cormac McCarthy. Spare, predictably minimalist and archetype driven, The Sunset Limited seemed fashioned out of tin, at least with respect to its gargantuan subjects: race, religion, death, ethics, etc.
How to layout a book in Microsoft Word This is a guide to formatting your book in Microsoft Word (2010)... I'll also be adding a video soon! Getting started Open a new document. Click “size”>> “More paper sizes” and set the document to 6”x9” (or your book size). Then set the margins and gutter. I set this one to 1" margins on the top and bottom (a bit too much on the top). Copy and paste your text into the document (or, if you’ve already been writing in Word, save the document as a new file (to be safe) and then start formatting. Setting Paragraphs Highlight some text and click on the "line options" tab. Make sure there's no space before or after the paragraph, and justified text. Then select the first paragraph of your book, click line spacing options again, but set the first line indent at 0.0. Chapter Pages Next, we’re going to separate all the chapters. So put the cursor before any of the text, go to “Page Layout” >> “Breaks” and “Next Page.” (I've changed the font to no-indent, black, and "Bebas Neue.") I’ll align right.
One Sentence - True stories, told in one sentence. How to Organize and Develop Ideas for Your Novel What if you have so many ideas for your novel that the idea of an outline completely overwhelms you? It’s good writing practice to keep a notebook or paper close by so that you can jot down ideas for your story as they arise—but when the result is a growing pile of mismatched odds and ends, how do you organize those ideas into some sort of coherent outline that will guide your writing? Or, conversely, what if you have a central idea for your story, but are unsure of where to go from there? Believe it or not, I’ve found the key to getting started from both of these situations can lie in the same simple method of creating scene cards. Say you’re in the first camp, the overwhelmed-by-random-ideas one. If an idea is too long for a card, name it something that represents the whole and keep the longer version (the notebook page or slip of paper) for later when you write the actual scene. Sounds simple enough, right? Spread out the cards on the floor or a large table. You might also like: