Showing posts from March, 2014

How to Avoid Bad Writing – Part 2

We continue our look at the kind of things that cause bad writing, and ways to avoid them so that they never crop up again. As with most things, once you learn to recognise them, you’ll be better equipped to deal with them when editing. In Part 1, we looked at sequence of actions and separating character actions in order to achieve better sentence structures and avoid some of the flaws which are commonplace in fiction writing. This week we’ll take a detailed look at a couple of more bad writing examples, and ways to eliminate them from your narrative. Unnecessary Speech Attribution There is one thing that many writers still do when it comes to writing dialogue; they continue to get sentence structure incorrect by attributing speech tags when they are not actually necessary.    In laymen’s terms speech tags, or attributions, are a way of identifying the speaker. For agents or publishers it can be especially infuriating when writers do this, because dialogue structure re

How to Avoid Bad Writing – Part 1

We’ve all been guilty of bad writing at some point during our writing careers, more so at the start of our writing journey, when it’s all new and daunting and we lack the experience. In fact, bad writing is all part of that journey. We all have to write badly in order to improve and become better writers. That said, there are many aspects of storytelling that writers still haven’t got to grips with, the kind of things that are easily rectified, but more importantly, are easily avoidable. Unfortunately, many writers just can’t be bothered to correct bad writing or, worse still, they ignorantly think it’s okay.   Bad writing may be okay for an oblivious writer, but not for a discerning agent or publisher. And because there are so many misdemeanours where bad writing is concerned, I’ve collated together some that I have come across from time to time while critiquing. Sequence of Actions Writers constantly ask me about this. It seems to foil a number of beginners, w

Literary devices – Improve your narrative - Part 2

In part 1, we looked at the most common literary devices; the kind that most of us have used regularly perhaps, things like symbolism, metaphor or foreshadowing. There are less well known ones too, ones we may have heard of but probably don’t know too much about. But knowing about them and how they can enliven your narrative is a positive thing, after all, the more knowledge the writer has, the better the writing in general. Therefore, an overall knowledge of as many literary devices as possible is a good thing. So, which are the less common ones, and what do they do? Euphony Connotation Allusion Assonance Motif Euphony refers to pleasant sounds created, particularly with soft vowels and soft consonants. It derives from the Greek word “euphonos”, which loosely means sweet-voiced. In other words, it’s about words or phrases that are noted for their charm, harmony or melody in the sounds that they create. It is often found in literary novels or poetry and

Literary devices – Improve your narrative - Part 1

When we talk about literary devices, it is referring to the kind of elements that writers employ to enrich and improve the narrative in order to give greater depth and meaning to a story. In other words, they help the reader ‘read between the lines’. Some literary devices are obvious - metaphor, symbolism or foreshadowing.   But there are plenty of other literary devices available that are less well known, and sometimes less commonly used, but they still emphasise and bring strength to the narrative; things like assonance, euphony, connotation and allusion etc. Literary devices are numerous, and writers don’t have to use every one in existence or use them on every page. They only need use a few dotted throughout a novel to enhance the story and give it deeper meaning for the reader. In effect, they are there to benefit the writing as much as the writer and reader, if writers are willing to use them. Most writers rarely think about anything deeper than the basic structure and

How to Avoid Author Intrusion

I’ve written about this subject in the past, but I keep getting asked about it, so it’s worth another visit, especially if you are new to writing and you want to understand what author intrusion is, and more importantly, how to avoid it. New writers, in particular, sometimes have a tendency to intrude the narrative.   It’s not their fault – it is sometimes done without realising, and that’s because many new writers aren’t armed with a wealth of knowledge and experience to always know these things. That’s where the beauty of editing comes in. We can spot the anomalies and correct them. Not only that, but all writers have done it at some stage in their writing careers, so it is quite a common occurrence. What does Authorial Intrusion mean? In basic terms, author intrusion happens when the author loses sight of the story and speaks directly to the reader through the narrative or characters. They inadvertently project their own beliefs, opinions or ideas into the story.   In ot