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Showing posts from July, 2011

Confidence in Fiction Writing

There will come a point when every writer’s confidence slips, or they hit a barrier (usually physiological) and in turn, it affects their writing and they find themselves trapped by self-doubt. 

Usually this is a short lived blip and writers pick themselves up and get back to writing, but on a more serious note, some writers cannot return to writing at all because their confidence has been shattered.

So what makes a writer lose confidence?

Negative feedback on a writing pieceRejectionFamily and friendsOurselvesFirstly, you may have given your work to a peer, teacher, or fellow writer for feedback on your manuscript or story, but sometimes the comments are not very constructive.

Critiques, for instance, are designed to find flaws with your writing and help you improve to become a better writer. Good critiques should be constructive and helpful, however when they are overly negative without the support to correct the errors in your writing, this can severely knock your confidence.

Nega…

Part 3 - The Importance of the Read Through

Continuing on from last week, we’ll look in more detail at the most common flaws found during the read through of a novel/short story and ways in which a writer can correct them. 

Pace

Pacing is one of those things where it is sometimes hard to find a balance. The story shouldn’t race along without pausing for breath, but at the same time, it shouldn’t plod to the point of boring your readers. It needs to fluctuate steadily, slowly building up to a crescendo – the ultimate tease for your reader.

Pacing problems often occur because there is little description to slow the narrative down or there is too little dialogue to support it. This sometimes occurs in the first draft and is easily corrected at the read through stage by making notes to add more description to bolster the narrative or to add more dialogue where necessary in order to break the pace and achieve that balance. 

Impossible situations

Sometimes a situation created by a writer might look like a really good idea, but a clos…

Part 2 - The Importance of the Read Through

Continuing on from last week, we’ll look in more detail at the most common flaws found during the read through of your novel/short story. These are typical errors rather than case specific, the kind that every writer should be aware of, and more attuned to, when reading through work.

Pathetic Plotting

Stories need a lot of thought where plots, subplots and subtle twists and turns are concerned. That’s because they all need resolving satisfactorily by the end of the story. 

In simple terms, this means providing the reader with something believable and tangible rather than something that is contrived, forced, ridiculous or highly unbelievable. Any first draft story will have numerous weaknesses where plot is concerned. The read through will flag these for you to address. Weak plots will instantly show up, as will gaping errors within the narrative.

If you don’t resolve them correctly, then you’ve created a plot flaw and your reader will spot this. All issues in your novel/story mus…

Problem solving - spotting plot flaws and mistakes

The importance of the read through.

A writer can breathe a sigh of relief when the first draft of a story or novel is complete. Months of blood, sweat and maybe a tear or two, have gone into creating your masterpiece, and any writer knows that the editing process is the most important part of writing a story. 

Reading through your narrative from start to finish means you get to digest the story as a whole, because while writing the story, you rarely focus on the intricate goings on. You might move from one scene to another or one chapter to another during the process. Some writers don’t write in chronological order – some write the ending before the beginning, so it’s hard to gauge how the story will actually read.

The purpose of a full read through is that you can read the whole thing in its entirety. This is where large problem areas - not just grammar and punctuation – things like plot holes and glaring continuity mistakes, pacing and characterisation should be addressed. 

What ar…

How Writing Flash Fiction Can Help You Become a Better Writer

Flash fiction is a bit of an art form. It squeezes a very short story into a very tight space, which could be anything from 50 to 500 words. It’s concise and to the point – it has to be.
Its very nature means that every word counts. Unlike short stories and novels, where you have room to explore things like characterisation, setting and plot etc, flash fiction affords no such luxuries. This means being economical with words and sentences, yet bringing forth the right exposition, narrative and description. It also means, to a certain degree, that it must have a rudimentary beginning, middle and end.

Like short stories, flash fiction should observe the Greek Unities:
Flash fiction covers the bare minimum time frame.It should take place in one location only.The action should remain from POV, two at most.Telling a story in as few words as possible but with as much narrative as you can allow, requires discipline and thought to the craft of writing. If you have 200 words in which to te…