Ideas are a dime a dozen . . . in fiction. But ideas for a blog about writing fiction that has been up and running for over five years and is absolutely busting with great information? Well, today I find myself short on an idea for a topic that hasn’t already been covered.
So, I thought I’d ask you guys what you’d like to hear more about? What kind of topics haven’t we covered in depth? (or at least not recently?) What are you currently struggling with in your own work that you would like to see future posts on here at magical words? Tell me what you’d like a post on (or multiple posts as each of us here at MW have our own style and way of doing things)? I’ll gather up all the topic ideas and put them in a MW-future-post-treasure-chest, one I shall raid quite [...]
Continue reading My Kingdom for a topic . . .
One of the most important questions we ask in fiction is WHY. Why would the young farm boy take up a sword and start off on an epic quest? Why would a normally intelligent person walk into what she knows is a trap? Why doesn’t the amateur sleuth throw his hands up in the air and stop poking around in a case when things turn deadly? In fiction we need the reader to understand why these characters would make such decisions. Why they would choose danger. And as writers we need to make sure their motivation is strong enough that the reader believes with the character that there is no other choice–it has to be done.
“Why?” It’s such an important question. But, it tends to become obsolete when it comes to love.
Why would two characters fall in love? Why does anyone fall in love? And not just in [...]
Continue reading On Writing Love
Have you ever read a scene full of featureless, naked people in an empty void? (Not a love scene mind you!) Okay, so theoretically the characters aren’t naked, and they most likely are in a place of some sort, but they might as well all be mannequins in an empty room for all the reader knows because the writer failed to describe, well, anything.
Unless we’re reading a comic book, it is up to the writer to use words to paint pictures in the reader’s mind. We don’t need to know everything (that would bog us down) but we need enough details that our imagination will fill in the gaps. As a general rule, it is often advised that reader needs three descriptive details to ground them in a scene/ establish what someone looks like (your mileage may vary). A good rule of thumb, but how and when do you [...]
Continue reading On Writing: Description and Setting
Christmas is almost upon us, so I thought a post on craft and research books would be appropriate–you know, just in case you need to add something to your wishlist or buy that last minute gift for a fellow writer friend.
Self-editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King — This is an amazing book that covers elements of writing from show and tell to dialogue. One warning, sometimes they can be rather absolute, such as their advice to eliminate all adverbs.
Goal Motivation Conflict by Debra Dixon — The title is exactly what this book is about. This is an intensive lesson in properly motivating your characters so that internal and external goals/conflicts move the story forward. I highly recommend it.
Don’t Sabotage Your Submission by Chris Roedren — This great craft book has a lot of useful advice for getting your draft polished and ready [...]
Continue reading Stocking-stuffers for Writers
Hey everyone. Sorry for the tardiness of this post. I’m supposed to write on first drafts today, but I’ll have to save that for next time. Why? Because until Misty sent me a prodding email, not only did I not remember today was my day to post, but I’m not even sure I knew it was Thursday. These things happen. Sometimes that is great as it means I’m caught up in what I’m writing. But sometimes it’s just a couple ticks too close to panic as the days seem to wash past while my word count doesn’t move quite enough and deadlines loom closer.
Best way to combat this? Be consistent with your writing habits. You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again: Butt-in-chair-hands-on-keyboard is the very most important thing a writer can do. Even if that means you set a timer for an hour–or just 15 minutes–knowing [...]
Continue reading Now is the time to write
I’m starting a new project and I thought it might interest you to know the steps I go through in writing a novel. Of course, I’m only one writer and there are as many ways to go about writing a book as there are authors, but seeing my process might give you some different ideas to try.
For this blog series the project I’ll be working on is a book in one of my existing series. If I were working on a brand new series, my first step would be world building and character development, but for this project, the rules of the world have already been established in previous books and I know the main characters rather well. I will be adding more depth to the world as the characters go new places and experience new things and new characters will make appearances in this book, but at this [...]
Continue reading Book from the ground up: Part 1 – Getting started and Plotting
There are many elements to a successful story. When we think about how one tells a good story, we tend to jump to topics like believable characters or plot arcs. These are, of course, essential. But there are smaller, less noticeable elements that can be employed to keep a reader engaged. One of these is word order.
Books are written word by word and readers digest them in the same fashion. We’ve all heard the advice to pick strong verbs and choose descriptive words. This is very important, but equally important is where in a sentence and/or paragraph we place those power words. The term “Backloading” refers to placing power words at the end of a sentence to increase impact.
Why would placing your power words at the end of sentences make them stronger? Because when our eyes hit a period, we pause. When we hit the end of a [...]
Continue reading On Wordsmithing: Backloading for Power