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on  at 8:28 PM

Posted In: Bad writing habits, Basics of writing

From Rick:

I received some interesting comments on the previous post on this topic from my good friend and a fellow Director of Silver Pen Perry McDaid.

Perry pointed out that I had erred in my statement “We generally don’t talk while engaged in violent action.” I had also said that dialogue and actions shown as happening almost simultaneously is not a reasonable expectation. After thinking about this and weighing Perry’s remarks, I need to rephrase and clarify some of what I said.

First, let’s look at the brief scene I wrote my PREVIOUS POST.

=====

(1) “How dare you call me a slut!” Sheila said, grabbing a plate and throwing it at me.

Effective description by Rick Taubold

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on  at 9:29 PM

Posted In: Basics of writing, Story Details

From Rick:

The best good description should be as transparent to the reader as possible, meaning it should blend with the story, not stand out from it. Well-written description can be so compelling that the reader experiences rather than sees the scene. If the reader is more than lightly aware of the description, then it’s not done right.

Good description is like good art: it should have a focal point, not just be dumped on the reader. A good artist knows how to create the focal point in his work and how to wrap the rest of the piece around it. A non-artist may simply see the whole picture and miss the focal point.

So it is with writing. When describing the scene and the character, you should find the focal point of each. What stands out most? Remember that in writing the scene is being told from the viewpoint of one particular character at a time. The character’s interests and personality will color how he or she sees something. The writer should therefore describe the scene as the character, not the writer, would see it. What aspects draw the character’s attention? What parts are most important for the reader to see? This is where you learn to edit your writing.

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on  at 9:46 PM

Posted In: Bad writing habits, Basics of writing

From Rick:

Exactly what do I mean by “writing in afterthoughts?” Consider this short scenario:

(1) “How dare you call me a slut!” Sheila said, grabbing a plate and throwing it at me.

“Well, what would you call having sex with my roommate after I went to work? Pity sex? So he wouldn’t feel left out?” I said, ducking, the plate hitting the floor behind me and shattering.

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on  at 9:00 PM

Posted In: Basics of writing, Story Details

guest post by Kellee Kranendonk

From Rick:

Once again, I’m pleased to have Kellee Kranendonk as a guest on our blog. This time, Kellee provides us with a simply superb post on description wherein she answers the question, How much description do you really need?

My answer is that you need however much as it takes to inform your reader and keep him/her interested in reading the descriptions without wanting to skip over any. With that, let’s hear Kellee’s excellent advice along with her excellent examples.

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on  at 9:01 PM

Posted In: Action scenes, Story Details

guest post by Sgt. Adam Fenner

From Rick:

Award winning author Adam Fenner has served in both the US Marine Corps and the Nevada National Guard. Adam is the co-author of On Two Fronts the Silver Medal winner of the Independent Book Publishers Association’s Bill Fisher Award (Nonfiction) and the “Deployment Wisdom” series. He is a student pursuing his Bachelor’s degree in Accounting at UNLV, and is currently working on a horror series called the “Horrors of War” with its first release OP #7 in March 2015, and a dark fantasy series. Adam maintains a blog at www.authoradamfenner.com.

Read the original article at Write Well, Write to Sell

on  at 9:14 PM

Posted In: Basics of writing, Punctuation

From Rick:

The punctuation book that Scott and I are working on has entered its final death throes (meaning pending final test reader acceptance and polishing in prep for the FINAL edit). Before I embark on the two promised series—one on book cover design and one on the practical aspects of self-publishing—I thought it would be nice to give our blog readers a teaser—and helpful information—from the last chapter of the punctuation book. This comes from the final chapter (16) on Special Topics. One of the topics in that chapter deals with how to decide which punctuation to use when several options exist.

You can always fall back on the standard periods and commas, but one theme running through our book is how to use punctuation to make your writing stand out for the reader by giving it clarity and proper emphasis.

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on  at 9:03 PM

Posted In: Dialog

From Rick:

I know, I know. I’m doing dialog posts with astonishing slowness even for me, but I’ll get to the end of them one of these weeks… or months… or years.

This particular post in the series began with a recent blog post from Anne R. Allen (a great blog, by the way):

8 BOGUS RULES NEW WRITERS TELL EACH OTHER

Specifically, it began with Anne Allen’s bogus point #3: “‘”Said’ is boring. Use more energetic tags like ‘exclaimed’, ‘growled’, and ‘ejaculated.'”

To which Anne replied:

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on  at 9:16 PM

Posted In: Basics of writing, Point of view

From Rick:

“Why would I want to write in second person?” you ask.

“Well, maybe because you can capture a voice, mood and tone with it that no other viewpoint can,” I reply.

Before I answer that in detail, let’s first understand exactly what the second-person viewpoint is—and what it isn’t.

The excerpt below is from the first, and most famous, novel to be written in second person: Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney.

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on  at 4:35 PM

Posted In: Basics of writing, General

From Rick:

An interesting question came up recently with regard to authoritative advice for writers. It’s a fair question. With so many books and blogs out there, who should we believe and trust when it comes to advice? Further, what qualifies a person to give such advice?

In my October 6, 2014 blog post, I talked about the accepted authorities for spelling and grammar. That was a much easier topic to address because there are recognized standard reference sources. Even though I pointed out that these sources do not always agree, we’re dealing with an area based more on fact and less on opinion: the spelling, definition, and usage of words in the English language. The minor discrepancies arise because the language is always in a state of flux and not every change is magically adopted everywhere at once.

Read the original article at Write Well, Write to Sell

on  at 8:49 PM

Posted In: Basics of writing, Confusing words, Editing

by Rick Taubold and Kellee Kranendonk

From Rick:

For this week’s blog, I decided to build on another great article Kellee wrote for Silver Blade magazine. What I’m going to do is use Kellee’s article as a base, selectively choosing relevant pieces of it, and adding my own stuff in with it. I’ll try to give Kellee the credit for her parts.

KELLEE: There can’t be enough articles on using the correct words. Especially in an age when young people learn to text before they learn to spell. If all you’re ever going to do send text messages, then spelling doesn’t matter. But the chances are great that somewhere, sometime you will have to spell something correctly or use the proper word. I don’t buy into that old motto most teachers use: “Look it up in the dictionary.” If you don’t know how to spell it, how can you find it in the dictionary? Try “psycology” (psychology) or “nife” (knife).

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