Write what you know. Have you been given that advice? Most likely. And it can be great advice. If you’re a neurosurgeon and you’re writing hospital thrillers, you have an inside scoop on the details that can make a story rich.
If you live in New York or Paris or a tiny rural town in British Columbia and you set all your stories there, you have insight into the smells,… read more
Working as a sensitivity reader or a beta reader for a writer friend is one of the greatest joys of being part of the writing community. You get to read a new story before anyone else and you have the privilege of helping your writer friend turn their just-pulled-from-the-cave-wall stone into a highly polished, beautifully cut, sparkling diamond.
Obviously there are no hard-and-… read more
At this point you should have your story's mold and sand to fill it. Now you are ready to create your narrative lens, and the way you shape it provides more than just a point of view. You can use voice to convey many things in a story. For example, it's an especially good way to impart vital information, helping you avoid the dreaded infodump.
Character Background … read more
This is the second part of our discussion on narrative vocabulary and tone. To get the full context, start here: Narrative Voice: Vocabulary Choice and Tone (Part One) Part One focuses on vocabulary choice and ways to shed light on your characters' inner thoughts and world view through the language they use.
What is “Tone”?
Compared to vocabulary choice, tone is… read more
If your characters are the lens through which the reader experiences your story, and you the writer are the glassmaker, then vocabulary makes up the grains of sand which create the glass. Likewise, tone is the mold into which you pour your hot glass to set the lens.
Some grains will be hard, rough, imperfect; and, poured into a straight-edged mold, would make a wonderful lens for… read more
Now that you’ve decided who is going to be telling your reader your story, let’s take a closer look at the technical aspects of how that story is going to be conveyed, and what the impacts of these technical choices may be on a reader’s experience.
Point of View (who is telling your story)
The Point-of-View (POV) is the perspective lens through which your reader… read more
In our last post, we took a look at Christopher Booker's 7 Basic Plots and covered the Journey and Return, Quest, and Rebirth archetypes. We'll cover the final four structures here.Conquering the Beast
Also known as "Overcoming the Monster", this story structure focuses on an underdog who must face a great threat or evil. The format is extremely … read more
Stories are organized around a sequence of events that contain plot drivers that influence what happens in that section. Throughout time, storytellers have drawn upon common story structures that have evolved within their culture.
In Western literature, traditional storytelling formats are largely inherited from classical, or Greco-Roman structures, which… read more
Once all the hard work of completing the very first draft of your novel is complete (yay!), and you’ve had the time to give it a look-over and fix all the spelling errors, typos, and other general first-draft inconsistencies and issues, the next thing you’ll likely want to do before you send the book off to editors/agents/publishers is to have a fresh pair of eyes look over the book and give… read more