Category Archives: Writing: Style

Specifics, Please!

How’s this? I pushed open the door, walked to the car, drove a few miles past farmer’s fields, and found myself at Myra’s house. Well, I suppose it gets the job done. And perhaps you want your reader to concentrate … Continue reading

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Describing an Event

How do you like to describe events in your novel? By event I mean something that happens to further the plot. Let’s take an example. Your outline (you do have an outline, don’t you?) says that Jack, Mary, and Jane … Continue reading

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Keep Your Language Straightforward

I’m reading a non-fiction book on William Tyndale, an early advocate for an English translation of the Bible from the original Hebrew and Greek; in fact, his own translation serves as the basis for the King James Bible. It’s a … Continue reading

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Whence Conflict?

In previous posts, I’ve talked about a necessary ingredient in your novel (indeed, in all fiction): conflict. So what should the conflict be? Sometimes it’s obvious, for example your novel on star-crossed lovers. Other times it may not be. When … Continue reading

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Proposal Writing

I haven’t put a post up for the last couple days because I’ve been deeply involved in writing a proposal for my day job. Pondering this, I think the similarities between writing a good novel and writing a good proposal … Continue reading

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Imagine Your Scene

When I write a scene, I’m writing down what I’ve already imagined. In fact, I live my novels! I’ve thought through the scene as though I were there as one of the participants. I see it, feel it, smell it, … Continue reading

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My Scene isn’t Working!

You’ve honed your characters and written their bios and let their backstories consume your daydreams. The conflict is palpable. The plot is moving forward. But you’ve rewritten your scene to the point of wearing out your keyboard, and it still … Continue reading

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Foreshadowing

It’s true that fiction has to make sense, whereas real life doesn’t. You’re asking your reader to willingly suspend disbelief and take your story at face value. Sure, they’ll let you colonize Mars. Or they’ll buy a new breed of … Continue reading

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Use All Five Senses

How do you like this: Hank walked into the living room where Mary was serving breakfast. He spoke to Mary as he wolfed down his eggs. Compared to this: Mary heard Hank’s familiar footsteps as he entered the brightly lit … Continue reading

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Treat Your Reader as an Equal

To whom are you writing? To kids? Retirees? Ham radio operators? There’s one thing they all have in common. No one likes being talked down to. Treat your audience as an equal. That means assume they are smart people and … Continue reading

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