Posted in Fiction

Writing That Stings

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What is it about a piece of writing that keeps you glued to the pages? Is it just one particular writing element that does the job, or is it more than one? I’m currently reading a mystery thriller series by Jeff Carson. It’s the David Wolf series. If you haven’t checked out these books, I highly recommend them. In less than a week I’ve finished the first five books and am on book six right now. What is it that keeps me reading them?

  1. Characters–The characters are unique and lifelike. Each of them have their own set of problems, likes/dislikes, habits and quirks, etc. You don’t end up liking or disliking them because you’re supposed to. You do that because these characters are very three dimensional. They jump off the page. They are real. You want to be ‘around’ them.
  2. Description–The setting is richly described and also jumps off the page. The reader is able to see the environment and be a part of the story. The author does this though without being too descriptive. It doesn’t take away from the story. If you read these books, you’ll find that the descriptions add to the story and provides clues.
  3. The Story–YES, the story itself is extremely compelling. You’re eyes/brain will be glued to the pages. The cause and effect of the plot structure is expertly done. Everything happens for a reason, whether you the reader thinks so or not.

So, you see, drawing a reader into your story is done with various tools, not just one. But, essentially, how you do that is up to you. After all, it’s your story.

Posted in Fiction

Knowing

We’ve all heard the mantra ‘write what you know’. Well, what do you know? You might get stuck here, and the reason I say this is because you may not think you know enough. Trust me when I say, you do. You have a whole lifetime of experience to use in your writing. You don’t necessarily need to know anything about any one thing in order to write what you know.

In my book The Triunix of Time I have lots of real life experiences included in the story. No, I’m not going to tell you which ones (LOL). There is also included in the story dialogue from conversations I had with others; snippets. Then, the icing on the cake, embellishment. Yes, use what you know and have fun fictionalizing it and building on it.

Here’s an example:

We’ve all had at least one favorite summer; maybe more than one. What made that summer your favorite? Maybe you spent it at the beach most often and you met a new friend, or maybe you spent two weeks of it with a cousin on a farm. Yes, lets use the farm experience. Cousins are a lot of fun. If you have cousins, and I’m sure you do, you know what I’m talking about here. Let’s say you want to write a mystery, but you don’t know what to use as it pertains to setting, characters, etc. Use your experience with your cousins on their farm. Let’s say you and your cousin found a wallet in the barn while cleaning the stalls. It ended up being your uncle’s wallet. Let’s fictionalize that a bit. Maybe you and your cousins were in your early teens. Write a YA mystery involving a bag of wallets you found in a hay loft in a small barn you were both told to stay out of. You were caught by your uncle’s friend when he walked in and heard someone up in the loft. You and Johnny in your haste put the bag of wallets back in a rush and call out. “Just getting some hay for the horses’ stalls.” And on the story would go. Do you see how you could create something wonderful from one experience? By the way, feel free to steal this idea.

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