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on  at 9:05 PM

Posted In: How to write a story

From Rick:

Last time we completed the first draft of “Jury Duty.” Now, it’s time to look at some revisions. The original version was about 2100 words, a reasonable length for a short story.

We can approach our revision from a number of directions, but it’s often best to start with the opening. I had already decided to cast this in first person, and it seems to work well in that point of view. We’ll look at other options in Part 7.

The first thing I’m going to do is remove the date. It there because that’s when I wrote the story, but if I were to try to submit it for publication today, that date would serve no purpose. In fact, dates in stories should be left out unless they’re directly relevant to the story.

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on  at 8:12 PM

Posted In: How to write a story

From Rick:

This week I’m going to finish the rough draft “Jury Duty,” but I’ll do it in two stages. Let me explain. A story needs five elements: setting, character, plot, conflict, resolution. The first two are easy to understand. “Plot” is sometimes vague thing to some people, but a good definition is “the main events of a presented as an interrelated sequence.” Plot isn’t what the story is about, some believe. Plot is merely what happens in the story.

“Conflict” is often defined as what prevents the character from achieving his or her goal in the story. Conflict can be external or internal. Many stories have both. Which type does David Blayne have in “Jury Duty?”

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on  at 9:44 PM

Posted In: Guest posts, How to write a story

Guest post by Sherri Ellerman

==========

From Rick:

Sherri Ellerman has been a very active member of Silver Pen since she joined several months ago. Aside from her activities and work at Silver Pen, she recently became the flash fiction editor for Liquid Imagination magazine.

When I saw her post on the Silver Pen forum about elements in a romance novel, I knew we should have it here at Write Well, Write To Sell. I asked Sherri to expand her ideas. Further, since I had recently decided to do a series on how to write a story, I thought it would be good to include her piece there.

Because romance is a very popular–and often profitable–genre to write in and there are so many out there, many new writers seem to feel that they must be really easy to write. Further, they think that because they’ve read a ton of them, they can write one, too. And maybe throw in some hot sex for good measure.

Unfortunately, it’s much easier to write a bad novel than a good one. Even though romance novels proliferate, very few of them stand the test of time. Sherri gives some excellent advice for writing a good romance, and she uses examples of some very memorable ones.

It’s an interesting exercise to look at what makes some romance stories stand out from the myriad others and to become popular and bestsellers.

On that note, here’s Sherri–

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on  at 7:51 PM

Posted In: How to write a story

From Rick:

This week I’m going to pick up where I left off two weeks ago. In that post, I began with an idea, showed how I developed it into an initial and potentially workable story concept, and created the main character. I also picked the viewpoint (third person) and the tense (past).

I’m sure that some of you who read the opening probably yawned at it or at least said “This isn’t very good.” And you’re right to have done so. It’s not the most engaging of openings.

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on  at 8:08 PM

Posted In: How to write a story

Guest post by Annette Taylor

==========

From Rick:

This week’s post comes from writer Annette Taylor who originally submitted this as an article to Fabula Argentea magazine. It was an excellent article, but FA only publishes stories. It gave me an idea for a series of articles for the blog, so I contracted Annette about letting us use her article as the opening for that series, which I’m calling “From Idea to Story.”

I recall from a workshop many years ago the instructor saying that she could teach craft from could not teach imagination. We may not be able to teach imagination, but we can certainly stimulate it with ideas for stories. Annette gives excellent advice on where to find ideas along with suggestions on how to turn those into stories.

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on  at 9:41 PM

Posted In: How to write a story

From Rick:

Over the next several weeks (at least), I’m going to be doing a series on how to write a story from idea to finished product. Along the way, we will also have some guest blogs that tie in to this as well.

We’ve talked before about various aspects of fiction (point of view, openings, conflict, action scenes–to name a few), and we’ve mentioned the five narrative forms (description, exposition, dialog, thoughts, action) and talked about some of these.

At the very least, a story needs four basic things to get it started: story idea, character(s), setting, and conflict.

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on  at 8:51 PM
Posted In: Characters, Novel writing, Story Details

From Rick:

How can you design a character that is supposed to be smarter/more clever/more intelligent than the author?

This question came up recently on the Forum at Silver Pen. (Readers of this blog readers who are not members of Silver Pen should consider joining. It’s free and it’s a great place to learn to improve your writing.) Several people chimed in with advice.

Before we look at the answers, let’s consider what “smarter” (or more intelligent) means in this context. One commenter at Silver Pen cautioned not to get too hung up on “smart” and “clever” because these terms are somewhat relative. Two quotes from different commenters in the discussion are relevant:

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on  at 9:34 PM

Posted In: Basics of writing, Dialog

From Rick:

It’s been over a year since I wrote Part 4 of this series. You can see and read parts 1-4 simply by going to clicking here to go to Rick's "Dialog" category at his blog.

In this installment, I want to offer some tips on the basics of writing good dialog. Some writers struggle with dialog, while to others it comes naturally.

Why is dialog important in stories? Done well, it can be one of the best way to “show, don’t tell” because it can show the personalities of the characters, make them individuals, and help the reader to get to know them. Now, for that to happen, dialog has to step beyond the trivial and not be mundane. It’s okay for characters to greet each other, but the lines should consist of more than “Hi, Steve” or “What’s up, Martin?”

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by Write Well, Write To Sell on June 2nd, 2014 at 8:26 PM

Posted In: General, Story Details

From Rick:

In PART 1, we discussed the use of names and addresses in fiction. Last time, in PART 2, Scott expanded on this and added his perspective. This time we’re going to delve into the use of numerical and other personal identifiers, plus IP addresses and websites. Scott’s comments apply very strongly to these. I only present them to show what you CAN do and to give you a relatively safe approach to using these identifiers if they’re required by the story.

Read the original article at Write Well, Write to Sell

on  at 8:24 PM

Posted In: Novel writing, Story Details

[RICK COMMENTS: After reading last week's post, Scott chimed in with some useful information from a police officer's perspective. PART 3 will continue where PART 1 left off.]

From Scott:

One thing a writer needs to balance is the need for realism and detail versus privacy and reliability. I understand that sometimes we want to put every last detail into the story. Maybe you have a police officer running a license plate over the radio, or you want one character to give an exact phone number or address to another. That’s all fine, but before stepping so deep into the minutiae, it helps to think about unintended consequences. Too add further thoughts to Rick’s discussion on this topic, we thought I should present the issue from the perspective of a police officer.

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