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Archive for the tag “writing tips”

Change is for the Best


It can be very hard to see something in one way, love it and nurture, and then to have to tear bits away and fit in new pieces, but when it comes to writing, it really is crucial.

Writing is a largely based around experimentation. There are simply infinite paths to choose and that’s why no two books are the same. There may come a time whilst you write that you’re finding it hard to see where your story goes, or when you read it, you just aren’t getting the flow. There may have been a time that when you started your story, you based it on a blind girl and you imagined her hair, her family life, her friends. But maybe to make the story work, you need to change the protagonist to a male.

Other things you may change to make the story work:

  • genre – this is a big one, but perhaps you had a romantic sub-plot but that’s detracting from the dark tone you want to make
  • point of view – maybe limiting your story to third person limited won’t be as effective as third person omniscient for a little dramatic irony and filling in some gaps
  • age
  • antagonist
  • structure
  • setting

This will give your story a new direction, and perhaps even a better one. Remember that the aim isn’t always to scrap and start all over again, sometimes simply re-writing and changing only elements is what will perfect your scene.

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What’s a Book Without Conflict?


As much as you may want to wish better for human nature, your reader will have no interest for your story if it doesn’t have conflict. We need some spice, some gossip, some friction – we need your character to be going down a pretty steep hill.

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Kim Lee: On the Art of Creating Characters


Click here to visit Kim Lee’s blog ‘Writers for Life’

I lean back in my chair and close my eyes. The clock ticks endlessly, but that’s fine. It helps my concentration. Something like a giant screen unfolds in the darkness. Smiling, I paint the scene. Everything is in place; the flora and the fauna, the sticks and stones. Bricks and mortar, fire or ice. Whatever I need to be there, is there. But there is something missing. Whether I’ve created a small town, or a space flight, a bedroom or a garden, the missing element remains the same. The scene is missing people. Characters. Those beings that will bring the whole thing to life.

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Books on the Art of Writing #3


Schaum’s Quick Guide to Writing Great Short Stories by Margaret Lucke

What the book offers

Exactly what it says on the tin…I mean, cover. This is one of the most easiest books I’ve read on writing, and it’s so quick to coming on the point, without all the fancy details on the side. It covers every aspect from major ones such as conflict and character, but also more subtle one such as setting and narrative voice (which is a brilliant, brilliant chapter). It will help to make your writing more developed and fulfilling, and with exercises at the end of every chapter, you know what to do, with the aid of some very helpful tipsheets.

After the end of all the talk about writing, there is also a very helpful chapter on what to do once you’ve finished your story and are ready for publishing, including how to format your manuscript.

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From the Experts: Writer’s Tips #7: What are short stories?


A wonderful definition and valid point that all short story writers and aspirers should be aware of from Schaum’s Quick Guide to Writing Short Stories

We will concentrate on the traditional story—the kind that derives its power from characters, actions, and plot; that has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Not all short stories are like this. An advantage of the short story form is that its brevity allows variations and experiments that would be difficult to sustain throughout the much longer course of a novel.

A short story writer can focus on sketching a character, presenting a slice of life, playing with language, or evoking a mood. Many excellent stories written and published today achieve their impact from the way the author assembles a mosaic of images or jagged fragments of experience, instead of telling an old-fashioned tale. But the traditional story provides the best vantage point for examining the craft of short story writing.

Reader’s Judge a Book by a Title: Revamp and Infographic


Trying out my new found obsession (infographics) first hand, hope you enjoy!

Readers Judge a Book By Its Title


Sometimes your title may inspire a whole novel, sometimes you could have polished your story for the final time but still be struggling to find a fitting name. Some people enjoy thinking of the title at the beginning, some writers leave this task till last. Whatever it is, the title of a story plays a crucial part in enticing a reader into reading your book. Readers will judge whether to read your book by its title.

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Books on the Art of Writing #2


Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel by Hallie Ephron

What the book offers

Devised in four parts (planning, writing, revising and selling) you can really use this book as your guide from start to finish. If you are planning to write a mystery novel this is the only book you need, and the best thing is, it covers all aspects of the mystery genre from cosy right down to fem-jep and legal. There are tons of examples to help you understand the techniques explained and many useful fill out questions to help you brainstorm and develop to the right extent.

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Motivational Muses #16


From the Experts: Writers Tips #6


16 Villain Archetypes to create three dimensional antagonists for your plot from Tami D Cowden

The TYRANT: the bullying despot, he wants power at any price. He ruthlessly conquers all he surveys, crushing his enemies beneath his feet. People are but pawns to him, and he holds all the power pieces. Hesitate before getting in this man’s way – he’ll think nothing of destroying you.

The BASTARD: the dispossessed son, he burns with resentment. He can’t have what he wants, so he lashes out to hurt those around him. His deeds are often for effect – he wants to provoke action in others. He proudly announces his rebellious dealings. Don’t be fooled by his boyish demeanor – he’s a bundle of hate.

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Point of View: Whose Story is it to Tell?


The point of view of the story makes a very big impact on the reader. A lot of the time it does depend on how will the writer executes it, but it also depends on the plot and characters.

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From the Experts: Writer’s Tips #5


This one is a gem. Brilliant tips of figure of speech by How to Write a Damn Good Novel by James N. Frey

Don’t use the oldies but goodies:

  • blind as a bat/eats like a horse/dead as a doornail/a cold fish/cool as a cucumber/tight as a Scotsman/right as rain/flies off the handle/crying over spilt milk/a sea of faces.

Don’t use similes in a long string:

  • She was tall, like a telephone pole; and she was thin, like a reed; and her skin was soft, like velvet; her eyes,blue as the Pacific.

Don’t mix your metaphors:

  • He liked to bury his head in the sand and keep his light hidden under a bushel.

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Motivational Muses #14


From the Experts: Writers Tips #4


Good description takes many forms and does not depend solely on adjectives and adverbs for impact. A statement as simple as “the man wept” may be all the description you need for a particular scene. What makes one story more finished—more “real” and alive—than another is not a matter of adjectives per sentence; it is the accuracy and relevance of whatever description you do use.

Description, by Monica Wood

On the Art of Sub-Plots


A subplot is a secondary plot strand that is a supporting side story for any story or the main plot. Subplots may connect to main plots, in either time and place or in thematic significance. Subplots often involve supporting characters, those besides the protagonist or antagonist.

Personally, when planning out my story, sub-plots don’t really play on my mind until I’m actually writing – what prompts them is when I write more about my supporting characters, I feel more empathy for them and want to delve a little deeper into their lives. Your readers should feel the same – they should be compelled to your secondary cast, and be intrigued.

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