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Dealing With Facts in Fiction

Fictional stories are just that – works of imagination and fantasy. Characters, situations, places and events are all made up. But even the most imaginative novels sometimes have to incorporate a sense of realism, and that means authors have to deal with facts. Facts in fiction may not seem a crucial component, but many authors omit even the basic facts. While this won’t affect the story, it will affect the reader’s enjoyment of it, because a sense of realism helps the reader to immerse themselves, it adds layers to the story. Getting to grips with facts – and what to include in your story – can be a minefield. Don’t include too many that it reads like a technical brochure, but conversely, don’t leave any facts out that the reader won’t be half as convinced as they would if you’d dropped in a few real snippets. There are a number of ways to approach how you use facts in storytelling. Often, writers use real places as their setting, but then everything else within the story is fictitious.…

Getting Into Your Character's Mindset

One important factor for creating really good characterisation is for writers to try to get into their character’s mindset. Part of creating characters that the reader will connect with and feel emotional towards is to make them so believable that they seem entirely real. And to do that, writers must feel and think like their characters – figuratively speaking they have to climb into their character’s heads and become these people. The more you truly understand your characters, the better your characterisation. It’s not just about knowing what their hair colour is or when and where they were born, but it’s how they are with other characters that the readers look for. What would the protagonist say, or do in any given situation?How would he or she act or react to people and the developing situations around them? What drives them? What do they want? Getting into your character’s head isn’t as complicated as it sounds. On the whole, writing largely depends on what we know and what we’ve exp…

Plot Structure v. Plot Points – What’s the difference?

The plot is the crux of your story – what it’s about, what it will involve and the characters it will affect over any given period of time. It’s the sequence of events that tells the story. Plot structure and plot points are different, however; they do different things. Plot Structure The way the story connects together and is laid out, the way it moves from point A to point B and so on, is plot structure.It’s a basic framework for how the characters, chapters, key scenes, themes, conflict and subplots will work.It also encapsulates the beginning, the middle and the end of the story. The structure is down to the writer how they construct it – what they want included, what they don’t and how they want it. There is no right or wrong way to structure plots (some keep it simple, others use complex diagrams and charts or mapping), as longs as the story that forms from it is logical. All plots follow the same pattern – an exciting beginning, escalating action, drama and conflict, a few twists …

The Importance of Consistency in Fiction Writing

Just how consistent is your story?
Fiction writing is about clarity and how not to confuse and befuddle your readers. That means writing a story that doesn’t detract or distract in any way, and that the choices you make for the story remain consistent.
Is it as perfect as it can be or are there inconsistencies hidden in the narrative?Sometimes it can be hard to spot these flaws because we’ve written and read our stories so much, we get a little ‘word blind’ from time to time. But inconsistencies are like little bugs that hide in plain sight and if you’re not careful, they can cause all manner of problems, especially if you need to get your manuscript as perfect as it can be for submission to agents and publishers.
Inconsistencies can be anything, which is why they are sometimes hard to spot. They can occur anywhere in narrative, dialogue and description, and it’s mainly at the read through and editing stages that they’re spotted and rooted out.
Consistent Characters
Your characters will ha…

A Distinctive Narrative Voice

This is a phrase sometimes found within publisher or agent rejections, which calls for the author to possess a more distinctive narrative voice. This can be difficult, however, especially when the author has already tried hard to develop a unique voice and style.
So, what does a distinctive narrative voice mean?
Narrative voice is sometimes mistaken for author’s voice, because people think they mean the same thing, but there’s a subtle difference between them. Narrative voice relates to the characteristic and unique way an author writes and conveys his or her words through characters (i.e. actions and dialogue), the narrative and the description, but it also refers to the point of view of the storytelling.
Author’s voice, on the other hand, refers the author’s own personality, style and tone. So although they are similar, they have different functions, and both authorial voice and narrative voice should be distinctive enough to stand out to make your writing interesting.
This is one thi…

Individual Writing Styles

The expression ‘writing style’ is found everywhere in writing, but what does it mean to have a writing style? And how do you recognise it within yourself? Writing style isn’t a complicated notion – the way we write, the tone, the way we describe and narrate, and also the way we convey what we mean to our readers, is a very individual thing. Just as each person has his or her own style of clothes, distinct things they like and dislike – the same is true for every writer. They have their own style of writing. We sometimes share similar styles with other authors, but it doesn’t mean they’re the same.Every writer is unique, so the way they write is different to the way you write. Writing styles vary – for example, some writers express themselves with gritty, raw narrative that jolts their readers.Other writers are very poetic or literary so their writing is softer and richer. Some styles are visceral and shocking, while some writers use romantic or very imaginative narrative. Many authors li…

How to Stand Out For Agents and Publishers

It’s what every would-be author wants to know. The general advice is to stand out in order to make an impression. But how can aspiring authors stand out among thousands of others among the slush piles, especially as it’s so hard to get a foot on the publishing ladder?
The simple answer is to write a great novel that is unique or different, with a standout story and standout characters and one that is well written. Agents are looking for a story that stands out from the crowd; a story worth reading. But of course, you have to stand out in the first place.
Being noticed by agents isn’t just about writing a really tight, well thought out story. A good novel should be near perfect as it can be for an agent or publisher, one that has been edited a number of times and polished to perfection. That means there shouldn’t be any of the following:
1. Silly grammar mistakes. 2. Story structure issues. 3. Plot holes. 4. Lack of pace. 5. Lack of tension, drama or atmosphere. 6. Lack of conflict and crisis. …