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Showing posts from February, 2014

How to Use Imagery Effectively

This is a subject that I often get asked about by writers who want to understand the concept of imagery and why it’s important in fiction writing, but more importantly they want to know how they can use it effectively. Imagery is about description, but it is the kind of description that brings depth to otherwise flat depiction. It brings the narrative to life.It is designed to enhance sensory experiences. To use it effectively, writers need to understand the functionality of imagery. Imagery in fiction isn’t just about describing actions or telling the reader what is happening. Instead the use of imagery allows the reader to identify with the story, the characters and the themes by making the reader see everything in their mind, just like a picture or a movie. Good use of imagery allows the reader access to ‘see’ into the story on a different level. How does it become effective? It’s done through various techniques. Writers have so many tools at their disposal, but rarely use them to full e…

Redundancy in Fiction Writing

Redundancy in fiction writing is something all writers do.It comes about via repetition of certain words or phrases, characteristics or narrative. Writers don’t always realise they repeat certain word structures, or phrases, because the mind unconsciously blots out these anomalies while focused on writing. It’s not until the writer looks back at the work that some of these repetitions jump off the page. That’s when some snippets of what you have written become redundant. Thankfully, the editing stage will help writers weed out such instances, but sometimes even the most advanced writers can miss them, so it’s important to be self-aware of them. Repeated Word structures It’s surprising how easily we repeat the same noun or verb or adjective in one paragraph or scene and thus end up making the sentence structure weak. The reason why writers miss them is because they are subtle and not as overt as repeated words that might stand out more from the narrative. For example: John stared at the dark…

Themes - What are they and how are they used?

Themes are not always foremost in a writer’s mind when writing, but every good book needs a theme, or two. So what exactly are themes? The theme of a novel or short story is about the core topics or principles covered in the story, the things readers don’t always first realise. They are the lessons the story wishes to teach and the deeper meanings it wants readers to uncover. Essentially theme is about the meaning of the story. Themes can happen naturally during the course of writing, or they can be pre-planned by the author, who might have definitive issues he or she may want to explore. What is their function? Firstly, themes should not be confused with plot. They are very different things and both have very different functions. Plot represents what your story is about. Themes represent the meanings within the story. Themes embody the different subjects that might surface during writing. Stories need them in order to help the reader understand the concept of the story. Themes often take a…

Tempt, Tease and Tantalise

Rather like the adage, ‘show, don’t tell’, tempt, tease and tantaliseshould be a mantra for all writers to remember, simply because it embodies many of the ideals that writers should aim for within their writing. The premise of these three elements is pretty self explanatory, but the basic idea is to tempt the reader, to draw them in to begin with, then to tease them with what the story might be, what might happen, what it offers, and then, ultimately, to tantalise them with the developing story right up until the dénouement. Tempt your Reader Right from the opening sentence, your story must grab the reader’s attention. Your job as a writer is to lure the reader into reading more than the obligatory opening sentence; you have to entice and persuade them to read beyond that first page, then the second page and the third page and so on, always maintaining that level of interest.Make it difficult for them to leave it alone. But why bother? Well, there is a very good reason. If you fail to en…