As writers, our job is to create stories. Unique stories. It doesn’t matter whether they take shape inside poems, short stories or novels, because either way, we are still developing distinctive characters and a plotline. We are telling a story from beginning to end. The question is, how do you come up with the uniqueness of the story, when there are already billions of stories in existence. How will your story stand out from the rest? It may not be that unique after all. Or is it? [Read more…]
I imagine there are some writers out there who write their first novel effortlessly, a couple edits and they’re done. These people would be known as “naturals”. I am not a natural. I’ve only met one natural who was such a great storyteller I could easily see why novels just flowed out. But for most of us, the first novel is a great experiment, or learning experience. And many writers throw their first novels in the garbage. [Read more…]
As I was researching for this blog, I found myself thoroughly confused. So this blog post comes from a place of sincere learning – no preaching. I don’t have a literature degree. I have no formal writing courses other than the many conferences and lectures I have attended. I simply love telling stories and think I have a unique perspective and the heart to tell a pretty good story.
My lack of training does not mean I take any less pride in my craft. I want to express myself eloquently in a word frugal fashion that will capture my reader and wow those who are formally trained. The worst crime I could commit, would be to place a reader’s imagination into a fantastical place, only to rip them from that reality when they stumble into a passive sentence. [Read more…]
Early in my writing career, I was telling instead of showing. Recently, I discovered I’ve been showing through repetitive flashbacks and my writing has become predictable, often times reading like the chapters of a Biology textbook. Although my writing has a veterinary medical background, when I’m creating fiction, I need to alter my style to be sure my flashbacks serve their story telling purpose.
I’ve researched how to conduct a health check on my flashbacks to ensure they fulfill their purpose of delivering backstory, highlighting a character’s motivations or adding context and meaning.
When flashbacks are done well, they add depth and emotional resonance. Done poorly, the reader can become confused, bored or disengaged with your story. [Read more…]
Character in a book (or movie) is king for me (wait, queen?). If a character doesn’t reach out from the pages and grab me, I won’t enjoy the book and probably won’t even finish it. Because for me, a good story boils down to one simple truth: Story is what happens to a character. So if your character doesn’t rock your book, nobody’s going to care about the story.
‘The first million words are never very good.’ says Brian Henry, editor and creative writing instructor who also publishes Quick Brown Fox, the hugely popular Canadian blog for writers.
Without doing the math, I imagine a million words would be equivalent to at least ten novels or a legion of short stories. Couldn’t hazard a guess where I might be on the continuum but the target is a long way off. [Read more…]
So, you are a writer and you are writing a novel, BUT you just can’t find the time to finish it. Are you procrastinating? Are you spending more time thinking about writing that novel, than you are writing it? Are you stuck at Chapter Three and you don’t know what should happen next? Are you wondering what could you possibly do, to make your fingers fly across the keyboard at lightening speeds to finish telling your story? What could you do that will inspire you and motivate you into finally completing your novel? Do you want to know the quickest way to rev up your word count and finish that novel? I have four answers for you: