New Fiction Exercises, Brian Kiteley Brian Kiteley Sample Fiction Exercises from The 4 A.M. Breakthrough These are some exercises from The 4 A.M. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. across again against American another Arabic arm asks away balcony building Cairo call chair Charles city come daughter day does door down Egypt Egyptian English European even eyes face feels few first friend Gamal girl go going good hand head himself home hour Ib know language last laughs Ib Lena lights long look man men moment name next night now old own people prisoner read right room Ruqayyah Safeyya say saying see sits small something speak stands still story street table take talk tell thing think three time told turns two walks want wife without woman word years Yehya This is an interesting distillation of a book. Pick a book you like and know well that has one of these concordances on the Amazon site. 6. 1. This is from Gretchen Rubin’s website ( 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. —Marcel Proust
Philip Pullman calls time on the present tense Last week, the Daily Telegraph printed a story headlined "Philip Pullman and Philip Hensher criticise Booker prize for including present-tense novels". Not for the first time, a statement bellowed forthrightly in a headline became rather more muffled and provisional in the text below it, which carefully avoided having me say directly that I was criticising the Man Booker shortlist. I hadn't done that because I hadn't read the books. I'm quite prepared to believe that each of the listed novels that's told in the present tense is a miracle of literary art. Here's why. That works beautifully because it emerges from the context of a narrative told in the past tense. "Well, he is not a ghost; yet every nerve I have is unstrung: for a moment I am beyond my own mastery." But if every sound you emit is a scream, a scream has no expressive value. There's a close parallel here with the increasing use of the hand-held camera in cinema. It's an abdication of narrative responsibility, in my view.
How To Find Your Writing Muse If you’re lying awake in bed, and you look over at your sleeping partner with their tongue hanging out, snoring, making odd farty noises, and your heart starts beating faster and you think, “Of course! What a brilliant idea for a horror story,” then congratulations, you have a genuine muse on your hands. Sadly, that’s not the case for everyone. Having someone who can inspire great ideas and put thoughts in your head that lead to marvellous stories is something we would all love, but the muse as an independent being who feeds out creativity is a rare and unreliable creation. So where can you go for a refill when your well runs dry? For most of us the real muse is ourselves, or to be more specific, our viewpoint. If you’re writing a romantic story about a man and a woman, what is it that you’re really writing about? It’s easier to put those thoughts aside and just write and see what turns up on the page. Will it happen to you? This can be a tricky thing to do on your own.
How a Scene List Can Change Your Novel-Writing Life By the end of this post you will have a nagging urge to use an excel spreadsheet. Don’t make that face—I know you’re a writer and not a data analyst. Or if you are a data analyst—I get that you’re on this blog to get away from your day job. But guess what? At the suggestion of Randy Ingermason—the creator of the Snowflake Method—I listed all of the scenes in my novel in a nice little Google spreadsheet. Creating a scene list changed my novel-writing life, and doing the same will change yours too. Scene Lists Help You Plan I tried to write a novel once before without planning in advance. I used the Snowflake Method, which consists of several steps to designing a novel that we can discuss at a later date. Today we’re focusing on a particular step: the creation of a scene list. What is a scene list? It’s literally a list of the scenes in your novel in an excel spreadsheet. Column 1: POV. The particulars can be revised at your convenience, but that’s how I set it up. 1. 2. 3. What did I do?
Set up Your Story in the First Paragraphs by Jodie Renner, editor, author, speaker I receive several first chapters (and synopses) every week as submissions for possible editing, and I always read the first page. Some are clear and compelling and make me want to read more. But too often, two main problems emerge: Either the author spends too much time revving his engine with description or backstory before we even care (boring); or we’re plunged right into the story but have no idea where we are or what’s going on (confusing). There are three cardinal rules of successful novelists: 1. 2. 3. I’ve discussed the negative effects of starting off too slowly, with too much description and/or backstory, in other articles (see the links at the end of this article). Your first paragraph and first page are absolutely critical! So try to work in the basics of the 4 W’s below in your first page — preferably within the first two or three paragraphs. Who? What? Where? When? Also, your first page is a kind of promise to your readers. 1. 2. 3.
9 Easily Preventable Mistakes Writers Make with Dialogue Dialogue has been my own writing nemesis and I continue to find it a challenge, although each day of writing seems to improve it slightly! Today, author and blogger Ali Luke helps us with some basic dialogue mistakes and how to fix them. Whether you love writing dialogue or dread it, you’ll probably agree it’s an essential part of fiction. Dialogue has many roles in your story. Reveal characterAdvance the plotMake characters seem realGive a sense of action unfolding Dialogue is also easy and fast to read. It breaks up the page, adding white space and making your story look more attractive. Unfortunately, dialogue is also easy to get wrong. (You can also look out for them in published books, too — plenty of pros still aren’t getting these right. Mistake #1: Being Too Formal Even if you’re a stickler for the finer points of grammar in your prose, real people don’t talk like textbooks. Me and him went to the shops.I dunno.If I was you… Yes, we know that those should technically be: However…
Easy Novel Outline – Free Writing Lessons and Worksheets Here you'll find easy novel outline techniques to plan your book step by step, along with worksheets for planning characters and scenes. This is just one of many pages on this website with creative writing worksheets and advice. At the bottom, you'll find links to related pages on how to write a novel. An outline for your novel A novel outline is a plan for a novel. Why outline your novel? It can make it less intimidating to start writing. Advertisement: Dangers of a novel outline A reason some writers prefer not to work with a detailed outline is that they feel that the outline stifles their creativity and makes them less spontaneous. Top tips for your novel outline Know yourself, and figure out the method that works best for you. A simple way to outline Here is an easy system you can use to outline your novel if you find it helpful. 1) Before you start your actual novel outline, spend some time brainstorming freely, letting your imagination run, generating ideas, and writing them down.
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