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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

ARE YOU PLAYING FOR KEEPS OR JUST PLAYING?




 Kristin Lamb wrote an intriguing post on how to write NO MATTER WHAT:

She points out that many of our noted writers were journalists, but forgot the two most famous:

 Mark Twain and Ernest Hemingway.


When the bullets are flying and the forest fire blazing, your editor does not have time to wait for your muse to become inspired.


She equates journalism with blogging since it is a form of digital journalism.


And she is right: 

We have to be concise, engaging, and convey the most information using the fewest words possible.



BUT IF YOU DON’T KNOW YOUR STORY …



Your novel is going nowhere.   

It will be buried under “wonderful moments” that tug at the heart and stalls your story.  


What is the story of LOTR

Is it Frodo throwing the Ring into the river of fire in Modor, or is it Frodo finding Frodo?


What is the story of GONE WITH THE WIND?   

Is it Scarlett hopelessly chasing Ashely Wilkes or vainly trying to retrieve the vanished South she loved?




LEARN TO SEE WHAT IS AROUND YOU.



Take the first face you see in the next crowd. Describe it in ways that would draw in a reader and accurately display what your eyes see.


What follows each major scene in your novel?  If it does not turn the reader’s expectation upside down, you’re going to bore her.




DRAW YOUR READER INTO YOUR NOVEL BY MAKING THEM PART OF IT.



How to do that?   

Give them a character to root for, to relate to.  All humans bleed, hope, have their hearts broken.  


Have your heroine suffer those universal blows.   

Better yet have your antagonist suffer them as well.




BE A DO-ER NOT A DREAMER.



Write every day.  Even if it is only a paragraph.  Write every day.


Make a Bonzai tree out of your novel.   

If you write 5 pages in the morning, refine them to 3 in the evening.


SAY IT IN QUALITY NOT QUANTITY.


November is coming up.  Forget volumeFocus on value.

Have you ever read a novel and groaned, "Just get to the point!"

Don't do that to your reader.   

Raymond Chandler once wrote: "She gave him a look that jutted four inches out of his back."

ShortPunchyFunny.

It made me want to read on.

I hope that this helped in some small way.  If not, read Kristen Lamb's blog.  I know she will help you.




6 comments:

  1. And please, keep on writing, so I can keep on reading.

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  2. Elephant's Child:
    That is so nice of you to say. I am finishing the last of THE STARS BLEED AT MIDNIGHT. It won't be long now.

    And on the 30th, HIBBS, THE CUB WITH NO CLUE will be published!

    The little guy is so happy! :-)

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  3. Good advice that I'm trying to follow. In my own way.

    I don't think everyday blogging is necessary, but if a person can handle it, why not? I am having to to limit how many bloghops and other distractions I sign up for, as time is limited.

    And, how could anyone forget Twain and Hemingway? I mean really.

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  4. Hemingway. The best journalist turned writer ever.

    Dickens started off as a journalist too, no? Not an American though.

    Is it always good to be succinct? Many great novels are more than 1000 pages, and still riveting. Is succinctness a prerequisite of the modern novel because readers have smaller attention spans, less time for reading, etc? Just asking.

    As always, much to learn and mull over in your post. Thanks.

    Nilanjana.

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  5. A Bonzai tree? Crap, I kill plants...

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  6. D.G.:
    Yes! How could she forget Twain and Hemingway? Their ghosts are fuming! Sadly they are fuming AT me! :-)

    Not blogging every day -

    But writing on our novels every day, if only a sentence will help us stay in the groove. :-)

    Nilanjana:
    Hemingway really put himself on the front lines as a journalist. Even Steinbeck did in WWII and Viet Nam.

    Sadly, in today's attention span shortened culture, long, leisurely prose is frowned upon. I still write it, but then I am also unknown, too! Ouch!

    Alex:
    Funny. We are to prune our novels to snip off needless growth ... unless you are in WrMoNanNo or whatever they call it. :-)

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