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Showing posts from May, 2017

How to Use Similes and Metaphors

Similes and metaphors are extremely useful tools for writers, they bring extra depth and layers to the writing in ways that normal description doesn’t. New writers don’t always understand the difference between the two or how they should be used, and often think they have the same function, but they do differ, and offer different things to the writer. As with many literary devices, it’s how they’re used they makes them effective, not how many are used. Simile A simile is a fairly simple figure of speech - it compares two separate things by using connecting words such as, as if, as though or like, for example: His voice sounded gritty, like footsteps across gravel. Her words became dull, as though muffled by water. John’s face screwed up, as if an electric charge had shot through him. With each of the examples, there is a connecting word – “like” and “as though”, which help to make the comparison. So in the first example, the gritty voice sounds like footsteps across gravel. In the second one…

Resist the Urge to Explain

What does that mean, exactly? Well, it describes what it says – writers should resist the urge to explain things. This may seem contradictory, since the writer has to explain things to the reader so that they understand the story, but in this instance, we’re talking about the urge to explain everything. There’s a fundamental difference between the two. New writers, in particular, have an in-built habit of over-explaining things, simply because they don’t really know any different, and they assume that’s what the reader needs and wants. But that’s not the case. In this instance, less is always more. From the first chapter, writers feel they have to explain everything, on the assumption the reader simply won’t get what’s going on. But readers are smart. They pick up on things very easily, so the need to explain is mitigated by the fact that they don’t need to be force-fed every morsel of information in order to ‘get it’. That’s one of the main reasons why too much explanation – or exposit…

Making First Chapters Successful – Part 3

Part 1 and Part 2 looked at an array of elements to include to make a first chapter successful and stand out to your readers, but since there are so many to consider, we’ll conclude with a few more to ensure that the opening of your book hooks the reader from the very first word and keeps them hooked. Central Theme This is something that can be hinted. You don’t have to club the reader over the head in order for them to get the main theme that runs through your book. Themes are the veins that run through every story, and your reader will easily pick up on them. The more they enjoy the story, the more things they will understand. Often a story has a central main theme – betrayal or revenge, for instance. So by hinting at these themes through subtext, through character emotions and thoughts or carefully placed flashbacks, you can establish the main theme very easily. Be Visual, not Verbose The description, or how you apply it, in your first chapter is a benchmark of what the reader can expe…

Making First Chapters Successful – Part 2

Part 1 looked at many of the elements required in order to make a first chapter interesting enough for the reader to keep reading, but there are plenty of others at a writer’s disposal. Writers don’t have to use every single one, but they’re important enough for most first chapters if the writer wants to get them right. Begin the story, Not the Book Open in media res, the most tense or dramatic moment. Most books start with the beginning of the book, but it’s not the beginning of the story. Writers spend far too long establishing a story at the beginning instead of jumping right into the thick of it from the outset. The reader will pick up the story as the story unfolds – that’s what storytelling is about. Setting Somewhere in the first chapter you should let your reader know when and where your story is taking place.That doesn’t mean you write a three page description of the setting, because that will just kill any impetus of the opening chapter. The first chapter really doesn’t need an…