Tuesday, 27 May 2014 18:51
on May 19th, 2014 at 9:01 PM
A while back, one of the members of Silver Pen (Silver Pen Writers’ Association) asked a question about using names, addresses, telephone numbers, and various other personal ID numbers (social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, etc.) in fiction. The person wanted to know what could and could not be used. I thought this an interesting topic and copied my response to use later in the blog.
Monday, 12 May 2014 18:46
on May 12th, 2014 at 8:00 PM
Okay, I struggled with a title of this post. I thought of “Possessives for Dummies,” but didn’t want to risk a lawsuit from the Dummies folks who have that trademarked. Likewise, “Possessives for Idiots” was a candidate, but I’m fairly sure that set of titles is likewise trademarked. I know, it’s only a blog post, but in this litigious world, even us little guys are targets.
Then I considered “Possessives for Pinbrains,” but I didn’t want to insult any of our readers. In the end, I went with something neutral and more politically correct instead of saying, “IT’S MINE (possessive pronoun) AND I’LL DO WHATEVER THE F- I PLEASE!”
Calm thyself, Rick…
The purpose of this post is to help writers avoid confusing plurals and possessives and to teach when to use and when not to use apostrophes with these.
Monday, 17 February 2014 18:44
by Write Well, Write To Sellon February 17th, 2014 at 8:41 PM
Reposted with permission.
Last week I talked about head-hopping in terms of POV. As a refresher, head hopping refers to slipping out of the viewpoint of whichever character is narrating a scene and slipping into the viewpoint of another character in the scene, one whose thoughts and feelings the starting POV character cannot know.
I also discussed how this differs from the omniscient POV. In that POV, an external narrator is telling the story and is therefore able to enter into the heads of various characters because he knows what those characters are thinking and feeling.
A variant of head-hopping is the POV slip. This happens when the author inadvertently slips out of the POV character’s head to reveal something the character cannot be experiencing directly. Often this will be some reaction on the character’s own face (such as blushing) that he can’t see unless he’s looking in a mirror. However, the character can know what blushing feels like (warmth in the face or neck), so the author can (and should) express it this way.
Monday, 10 February 2014 19:08
on February 10th, 2014 at 8:55 PM
In two previous posts here (July 9, 2012 and July 23, 2012), I talked a little about point of view (POV), specifically first person and how to choose the best POV for the story.
Point of view is a lengthy and complex subject in writing, in part because there are so many possible POVs one can write in. Every story is told from the perspective of one or more narrators. Whoever is narrating the story at a particular time is termed the POV character. Moreover, a story does not have to be restricted to a single POV. Many novels are written using multiple POVs, although most short stories are restricted to just one, although this is not a requirement for short stories.
In an effort to simply this topic, let’s for the moment consider two broad POVs: omniscient and limited omniscient.
LIMITED OMNISCIENT POV is called limited because the narrator’s knowledge of the story is limited to the knowledge, thoughts, and feelings of ONE character. This narrator’s knowledge of other characters is based solely on what he/she knows of the other characters, but that knowledge cannot involve the thoughts or unexpressed feelings of any other characters (because the narrator cannot be inside the heads of those other characters–only in his/her own head.
Tuesday, 24 December 2013 07:56
In the August 28, 2013 blog, I talked about writing interesting sentences and discussed, among other things, a bit about how to vary sentence structure. I also issued cautions about not changing every sentence to the same structure. Here’s the link to that blog article.
Writers often hear advice about varying sentence structure, but they just as often follow this in a limited way and take it to mean that they should combine sentences with “and,” or break compound sentences apart, or change them into complex ones, or begin them with a present participle or a prepositional phrase.
Monday, 16 December 2013 19:31
on December 16th, 2013 at 9:01 PM
I had intended to do a different post this week, and had not intended to do a part 5 of this series, not yet anyway, but we’ve received several comments about it. We rarely get comments on the blog, which is fine because we know from the hits we get that it’s being read and growing. However, because we’ve received comments on this topic, I felt that a follow-up was called for.
That said, the actual post is going to be very short. It’s going to consist of extremely helpful links on the topic and not our thoughts. Among the links below are very many excellent pieces of information that will require substantial time for you to digest, probably way more than a week’s worth.
(The topic for this week was to have been “How to vary your sentence structure.” We’ll post that next week, then we’ll take a week off for the holidays to allow Scott and me to recover from food comas.)
The first comment about the marketing blog post came from Indies Unlimited (which you should definitely subscribe to if you don’t already). Scott and I considered it a huge honor that they took notice of our little blog. Their article is well worth reading.
A second link came from Kimberly Grabas’ site that listed notable articles on marketing and promotion, and it further validated what Scott and I are doing.
The third comment, the one I’m featuring, came in late last week from Phil Bolsta and offered a link to his post regarding book promotion. It is, in his words, a “comprehensive book promotion post.” I think that’s an understatement. It’s a HUGE post with many references and links in it. It will take you (and us) a long time to get through it, but it’s totally worth it. The advice he’s amassed is phenomenal. This is going to help a lot of people because it covers promoting you as an author as well as your books. Thanks, Phil.
As always, Kris Rusch is staying on top of promotion. Her four-part (so far) series on Discoverability contains her usual sage advice worth reading and acting on.
There it is. I highly recommend you take time to digest all of this information, decide what applies to your particular situation (not all of it may), and begin to act on it. After all, it’s your writing career at stake if you don’t.
Tuesday, 19 November 2013 07:37
One problem writers often have is how much backstory to use and when they should use (or not use) it in their stories. One writer at Silver Pen recently was dealing with this issue, so I thought this would be a perfect topic here.
When to include backstory is a bit easier to answer than how much to include. The reason the latter question is more difficult to answer is because it depends, in part, on the length of the piece. Clearly, the shorter the story, the less room there is for backstory.
Monday, 11 November 2013 18:58
Reposted with permission from Write Well, Write to Sell
We often hear the term “suspension of disbelief” applied to fiction, but what does that really mean? By its definition, fiction is not fact, and some writers think that gives them complete freedom to write whatever they want, especially when writing fantasy and science fiction–which is where novice writers, and some not-so-novice writers, can run into trouble.
The closer the writer gets to the real world, the more careful he/she needs to be. And I’m not talking only setting details. Characters–and their names–have to be believable for their setting.
Monday, 30 September 2013 19:26
As writers, we’ve all heard that you need conflict in fiction. An often heard statement in writing workshops is that “Without conflict there is no story.” In a future blog, I’ll be talking about the difference between a story, an anecdote, and an essay, but one requirement of a story is CONFLICT.
Tuesday, 23 July 2013 07:25
Reposted with permission. Check out all of Rick's and Scott's writing blogs at Write Well, Write to Sell
One of the topics often discussed in general writing workshops is basic story structure and the elements of a story. Let’s go over those first.