Showing posts tagged Writing advice.
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Three simple ways to get your hero to make a stand →

‘The place where you made your stand never mattered. Only that you were there…and still on your feet.’ Stephen King

Readers do not want to read books about eternal cowards, characters who avoid problems, and people who never learn to fight back. 

As a reader, I am not looking for superman in every character, but I do want characters to find that extraordinary something they never knew they had, or to admit that they will never have it. I want them to make a stand. If they don’t, I feel as if I am watching a tacky reality television show where nothing changes. But how do novelists get characters to make this stand? 

If you are struggling to get your character to show his true colours, here are three ways to force your hero to act:

— 1 day ago with 77 notes
#Three simple ways to get your hero to make a stand  #Writing Advice  #Amanda Patterson  #Writers Write 
Five Lifelines for Writers with Deadlines →

Just last week, I had a deadline for a script and felt the grip of familiar panic. Another writer friend of mine said she had to have a deadline or she would not finish anything—and I’m pretty much the same. ‘A deadline should be motivating but not overwhelming,’ I said. ‘Otherwise you tend to crack and not produce anything.’

This time round, with a sense of calm and a loose but firm strategy, I made it to the deadline (OK, four days after the deadline—but I made it to the finish line).

If you’re on deadline, here are five tips that may help you.

— 5 days ago with 46 notes
#Five Lifelines for Writers with Deadlines  #Writing Advice  #Anthony Ehlers  #Writers Write 
The Top 10 Writing Posts for August 2014 →

These were the Writers Write posts you enjoyed most in August 2014.

  1. Eight Commonly Misused Words - Common mistakes made by writers
  2. Punctuation Personality Types - Which one are you?
  3. Why you need strong verbs when you write - Three ways strong verbs improve your writing
  4. 20 Literary Quotes About Cats - Writers have always been fascinated by cats
  5. What does it take to write a book? The five qualities published authors share
  6. Start here: Three things you need to do at the beginning of your novel
  7. Six Fascinating Character Types - Characters should be fascinating
  8. The Plot Maker - Create a rom com storyline in five easy steps
  9. Tolkien’s 10 Tips For Writers
  10. Five Ways to Make Description Work in Your Novel - Description is a way to engage the reader’s imagination.
Previous Posts
— 1 week ago with 139 notes
#The Top 10 Writing Posts for August 2014  #Writers Write  #Writing Advice 
"Write every day. Even if only for ten or fifteen minutes. Give it half an hour; who knows what can happen. If we don’t write every day (or at least five days a week), we lose touch with our writing muscles, our imagination goes a little brittle, words hide out.
The worst part about not writing, especially when we intend to write but somehow just don’t get to it, we feel bad about ourselves; maybe a little guilty, maybe embarrassed or ashamed to admit to ourselves or others. When we feel bad about ourselves it’s more difficult to get the pen moving. So we may miss another day, and then the next. The more we don’t do it, the worse we feel and the harder it is to “just do it.”
But, by simply putting pen to page every day, or fingers to keyboard, even if what we write is what Natalie Goldberg calls “the worst junk in America,” we keep the creative muscles limber and the self-esteem healthy. The more we write, the better we feel about ourselves not just as writers, but in other areas of our lives, and so the more we write and so it goes. Daily practice. No judgement."
— 1 week ago with 324 notes
#Judy Reeves  #Writing Advice 
Throwback Thursdays Mean Business →

By Mia Botha:

'Thursdays are interesting. Not only because they give hope that the end of the week is in sight, but because I get to stare at people who willingly posts pics of themselves with big hairspray hair and leg warmers. Yes,Throwback Thursday is a highly anticipated event. 

But how can I embrace this trend for my business? 

Posting a pic of your CEO with the aforementioned leg warmers might not get the response that you are looking for, although it might help to remind us that the powerful boardroom samurai is a person too. (Which we can argue is the point of building relationships on social media.) But, I digress…

Think about what your business has to offer. It has been around for years. You have a ton of experience between yourself and your employees. You have hundreds of magazine articles and lots of data. Social Media is about sharing that knowledge.
— 1 week ago with 5 notes
#Throwback Thursdays Mean Business  #Mia Botha  #Social Media  #Business Writing  #Writing Advice 
Six Fascinating Character Types →

Characters are the stars of a story, the heartbeat in a novel or screenplay. We sometimes hear that characters should be interesting but interesting is not always an adequate description. Characters should be fascinating.

So what makes a character fascinating?

Follow the link to read about the six fascinating character types you can use to drive your novel.

— 2 weeks ago with 111 notes
#Six Fascinating Character Types  #Writing Advice  #Writers Write  #Anthony Ehlers 
Start here: Three things you need to do at the beginning of your novel →

Sometimes I wish a giant arrow would appear above my manuscript and pin-point the correct place to start. Alas, that does not happen.

An inciting moment is the moment of change for your character. It can be positive or negative, but it must be big enough that it forces him, or her, to act and to deal with the situation. This can be as big as a tank driving into the living room or as subtle as a discomforting sentence.

In your opening scene you should do three things:

  1. Orientate the reader: Get your reader orientated quickly. Tell us where we are and what is going on. You can be ambiguous, but do not confuse us. 
  2. Introduce the characters: Who is there? Introduce your protagonist as soon as possible. I want to know what is happening, but most of all I want to know to whom it is happening. 
  3. Show the relevance: Once I know where I am and what is going on you have to keep me interested. You have to make me ask questions. 

In The Language of Flowers, Vanessa Diffenbaugh starts off by setting her protagonist’s bed on fire. What do I learn?

  • Where are we? She is in a group home. 
  • Who is she? She has dreamt of fire for the last eight years. She has been in the foster-care system almost all her life. She is angry and violent. She knows about flowers. 
  • Moment of change: It is her 18th birthday so she must leave the home. 

In Night Film, by Marisha Pessl, our protagonist is running in Central Park at 2am when he sees a beautiful ghost-like woman in a red coat who seems to be following him. He is deeply unhappy and he blames Cordova. What do I learn?

  • Where are we? In Central Park, New York in the early hours of the morning. 
  • Who is he? He is a journalist whose life has fallen apart because of a film director named Cordova. Immediately I want to know who Cordova is. 
  • Moment of change: He is shocked out of his apathy and inertia by this chilling Cordova-like incident. 

Five things you should not include at the beginning

by Mia Botha for Writers Write

— 2 weeks ago with 197 notes
#Writing Advice  #Writers Write  #mia botha 
Why you need strong verbs when you write →
Strong verbs improve your writing in three ways. They help you:
  1. Reduce adverbs: Choosing strong verbs helps you to be specific. You should replace an adverb and a verb with a strong verb if you can. It will improve your writing. Don’t say: “She held on tightly to the rope.” Do say: “She gripped the rope.” Don’t say: “He looked carefully at the documents.” Do say: “He examined the documents.”

  2. Avoid the passive voice: Choose specific, active verbs whenever you can. Don’t say: ‘He was said to be lying by the teacher.’ Do say: ‘The teacher accused him of lying.’

  3. Eliminate wordiness: Strong verbs help you eliminate wordiness by replacing different forms of the verb ‘to be’. They allow you to stop overusing words like ‘is’, ‘was’, ‘are’, and ‘were’. Don’t say: ‘She was the owner of a chain of restaurants.’ Do say: ‘She owned a chain of restaurants.’

If you reduce wordiness, choose specific verbs, and use the active voice, readers will be able to understand you more easily. This is what you want because the reason we write is to communicate. 
Examples of Strong Verbs
— 3 weeks ago with 2136 notes
#Why you need to use strong verbs when you write  #Writing Advice  #Writing Tips  #Writers Write  #Amanda Patterson  #Writing Courses in South Africa  #grammar 
What does it take to write a book? →

I am often asked what it takes to write a book. Can anyone write a book? What special qualifications do you need to write?

It’s a good thing to have talent. It’s great if you have an English degree. However, after teaching people how to write for more than 10 years, meeting and interviewing many authors, and writing weekly posts on writing, I think the people who succeed in finishing a book have a number of things in common.

The five qualities published authors share

— 3 weeks ago with 116 notes
#The five qualities published authors share  #What does it take to write a book?  #Amanda Patterson  #Writing Advice  #Writers Write 
Five Ways to Make Description Work in Your Novel →

Description is a way to engage the reader’s imagination. It is a tapestry created with words—it can summon vivid images of place and character, strong emotion and become a thread to move the story forward.

Here are five examples of description at work in a story.

— 3 weeks ago with 165 notes
#Five Ways to Make Description Work in Your Novel  #Writers Write  #Anthony Ehlers  #Writing Advice 
The Character Biography – Writing more to write less →

Charles Dickens could get away with starting a story with the birth of his protagonist. J.D. Salinger chose not to start there and called it ‘all that David Copperfield kind of crap’. Now before I am lynched, let me say that I am a huge fan of Charles Dickens, but David Copperfield was published in 1850. Catcher in the Rye, although very advanced for its time, was published in 1945. Today we don’t write like either of these two authors.

This is 2014. What do we do?

  1. In The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins tells us simply that it is the day of the reaping. She doesn’t explain it or tell us what it means. 
  2. In The Fault in Our Stars, John Green jumps in by telling us seventeen-year-old Hazel is depressed because she has cancer. She is in a support group almost before we hit page two. 
  3. In Room by Emma Donoghue, Jack wakes up on his fifth birthday. He is in Bed and switches on Lamp and has an interesting conversation with Ma. We know something is up and weird, but Emma strings us along. She tells us nothing. 
  4. In The Good Luck of Right Now, Matthew Quick writes about Bartholomew Neil who is clearing out his deceased mother’s underwear drawer and finds a form letter from Richard Gere. The death of his mother and his one-sided correspondence with Mr Gere takes us on a journey that is at once sad, sweet and enchanting.

Now, this is not a post about inciting moments although each one is a brilliant example of a moment of action and change. This is in fact a post about character biographies.

Imagine if I started my post with: To begin my post with the beginning of my post, I record that I wrote (as I have been informed and believe) on a Sunday night at eight o’clock while everyone else was watching the Sunday night movie. (I ain’t no Dickens, that’s for sure.) 

How do great modern authors create characters so complete that I am interested in them even though I only met them a page ago? 

Read more here

— 3 weeks ago with 112 notes
#The Character Biography – Writing more to write less  #Writing Advice  #Lit  #Mia Botha  #Writers Write