How do you develop the ability to ‘show not tell’ as a writer?

 

Think about it. If you stopped your action for a flashback to ‘show’ why the protagonist is doing what they are doing every single time the action changed, your story would never go anywhere.

That said, though, you should ‘show’ whenever possible, and you do so by simply going through your manuscript during that all-important second draft and zeroing in on all places where you, as the writer, simply told the readers what they needed to know.

Could that information be shown without breaking the pace of the story?

If so, then change the ‘telling’ to a flashback or a conversation between the protagonist and whomever else is nearby as a way of inserting a mini-story into the larger story you are telling. The mini-story tells the ‘why’ of what’s going on in the larger one.

And that’s how you ‘show’ instead of ‘telling.’

Why is there a need of inserting sensory details in a creative literary work? How does it affect the interest or readers in a piece of work?

Because most readers have had similar experiences and the evocation of the senses brings back those experiences and makes the story more real, sharper, and more personal.

And that’s the goal of every writer. To bring the reader into the story.

What is the worst fiction writing advice you’ve heard?

The worst fiction writing advice I’ve ever heard —- and the best fiction writing advice I’ve ever heard — is to write about what you love.

It’s very easy to get so caught up in the enjoyment of writing about something you love that you can go on forever and bore your reader to death.

It’s also some of the best writing you can do — if you follow all the advice you’ve ever heard on the craft of writing — because your heart will be in it and that alone will make it wonderful.

Is it possible to write a novel or short story that doesn’t perpetuate stereotypes?

 It’s not a matter of stereotypes.

It’s a matter of whether the characters are described well or not so well. Good writing will turn them into archetypes and become the best and most representative of the group they belong to, whatever that group may be. Poor writing will make them stereotypes worthy of laughter and readers who put the book down without finishing it.

The thing is, if your characters are representatives of a group, they can be recognized easily and quickly by the reader and that’s a great help to the writer. Less work, less stress, fewer words for the reader to wade through to get to the story.

Use that quick recognition. It’s valuable.

Just make sure that you do your job as a writer well so your character is an archetype instead of a stereotype.

Why is it so hard to write a novel, and especially hard to sit down and write your first novel?

Because you’ve never done it before.

Any endeavor can be extremely difficult for a beginner.

But the more you do — or even the more you sit at your computer and think about writing even if you don’t do any actual work — the easier the process becomes because you are becoming mentally psyched up to do it.

And one day you’ll discover that it’s not so hard after all.

How can I write the first chapter of my fantasy novel as a scene that happened 8 years previously?

 There are two ways and either way works well:
  1. Write the scene as a prologue instead of as a chapter. It’s done all the time and it works great. The only thing to remember if you use this technique is not to make the prologue too long because, for some reason, readers are turned off by a really long prologue and will simply skip it and get to the book itself. Even if the prologue is essential to the story and you do your best to make sure the reader understands that fact, they still tend to skip it if it’s too long.
  2. Write the first chapter as a ‘flashback.’ This is usually done by using the first paragraph to set the scene that the present/real action is in and to kick-start the flashback. Then the last paragraph in the chapter brings the reader back to the present.

How do I get a first novel published?

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This question opens up a can of worms!

Writing is the easy part, getting published is waaaaay more difficult! But there are some steps to follow that will get you there.

1. But there are books and blogs and articles out there telling you what to do. I’m not sure how helpful they are but they are a good place to start. Read them.

2. Then, after reading them and internalizing whatever they have to say, you look at your own work again and think how best to get YOUR work published, which is quite different from the generic advice those books, etc, provide.

3. If you write for the Christian audience, look at Christian publishers and websites. If you write horror, type ‘horror’ into a search engine and see what comes up. And so on for your own kind of writing until you get a feel for what the literary scene is like for what YOU write, as opposed to what other authors write.

4. Then you do whatever looks right for your particular niche of the writing world. There are hundreds — maybe thousands — of e-publishers out there. If they don’t sell a whole lot of books, they do give you creds when you are pushing your own work somewhere else because someone, somewhere, liked your work enough to take it on as their own publishing project.

5. If that doesn’t work, self-publish. It’s free, easy and also gives you the right to call yourself a published author.

The only ‘don’t’ in this scenario is not to expect huge financial rewards. You might hit it big. It’s a whole lot more likely that you’ll sell — or give away — a few copies. But either way, it’ll be a start and where you go from that start will be up to you.

About rain — rainbows — writing — stories of wonder.

It’s raining today. Sort of raining, just enough to get everything wet and make me not want to go outside and stand in it because I’d get chilled and soaked, though the ground will still be thirsty when it ends because it’s not coming down hard.

Still, considering we’ve been in a ‘red flag’ event for a while — forest fires so likely that it’s scary — I love that it’s raining. Love it.

Perhaps one of the things I love most about rain is what comes afterwards. And that’s a rainbow. Once in a while the rainbow is double, making for double the wonder and double the beauty.

I always feel lucky when I see a rainbow, and if you’ve ever seen a double rainbow—two rainbows on top of one another— it’s an amazing sight.

But triple and even quadruple rainbows are possible. Okay, maybe they are found more often in scientist’s labs than out-of-doors after a rain, but they are still beautiful. Scientists in a lab used water droplets and a laser to create a 200th order rainbow. I can only imagine what that was like!

But I’ve tucked the idea and a gorgeous mental picture in the back of my mind because I fully intend to use it in a future story.

Imagine a world where seeing a rainbow is considered good luck and a double rainbow would bring double the good luck. Then imagine a character seeing a rainbow to the 200th order.

What a story that would make. Will make.

More about black cats. Yep, there’s more.

Black cats are as easily adopted as cats of other colors.

Although euthanasia numbers for black cats have been some of the highest of all cats, their total number of adoptions was the highest of any hue as well. There may just simply be more black cats than other colors.

Furthermore, the Black Panther movie has made black cats so wildly popular lately that animal shelters are often not able to provide all the black cats people want.

So does it surprise you that I chose a black cat as one of the main characters of my latest small-town romance, A Very Black Cat?

Of course it doesn’t and if you read the book, you’ll see why he’s so perfect for the role he plays in the story.

How can I get readers to relate to a non-human character in a story?

 

I suspect it’s the ONLY way to describe a character because, as humans, we don’t know how to describe anything other than ourselves and, fortunately for writers, that includes a huge range of characters from the most lofty, nicest characters imaginable to the worst scum of the universe.