Something to think about!
Something to think about!
To end the year, I thought I would bring back one of my favorite blogs. Humor me 🙂
I wasn’t an English major, but I never had an issue with stringing words together and making a coherent, easy to read sentence. I know most of the rules, but I also know those rules are meant to be broken, especially if you are writing fiction.
The purpose of English Teacher grammar is to understand how to create sanitized, standardized, easy to understand, impersonal, inoffensive writing. If you’re looking for a job writing pamphlets for the government, instructional manuals, or news reports, then that’s the way to go.
These rules aren’t meant for fiction. That does not mean your story shouldn’t be grammatically and structurally sound. We are talking about styles here, not mechanics.
Fiction writing is nonstandardized, complex, personal, and occasionally offensive. It is the best way to reach into your readers head and show him your words. In order to bring your voice to life and get your world on the page, you need to say goodbye to English Teacher writing.
Fiction Writing Vs. English Teacher Writing
Fiction Writing fits the world of the book, the mouths of the characters, and the writer who wrote it. English Teacher Writing incorporates a specific, caricatured, extreme form of writing without regard to the story’s world, characters, or even the writer and what he or she is like.
Fiction Writing changes with the situation. English Teacher Writing is unchanged.
Fiction Writing does not look to impress, its sole purpose is to present the story. English Teacher Writing is self-conscious, self-important, and looks and feels forced and out right silly at times.
Fiction Writing is not always pretty, but it always fits the circumstances, characters, and story. English Teacher Writing is always pretty and always smooth, but rarely fits anything.
“Get away! Don’t touch me! Leave me alone!” The girl in the alley curled into a tighter ball, her scarred, skinny arms pulling her knees up against her chest, her eyes white-rimmed, her hair wild.
English Teacher Writing
“Get away from me! Don’t lay a hand on me! Leave me alone!” The girl in the alley, already in a fetal position, pulled her knees tighter to her chest. she wore an expression of dazed panic, and radiated the signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Writing fiction can be fun. You get to create your own world with your own characters and you can take your story anywhere you want to go. Right?
Well, that statement is true to a certain degree. You do have a lot of leeway but keep in mind your story has to make sense. It has to be believable to your readers. That’s where research comes in. Your plot may be fictitious but your details had better be correct.
Anachronisms-details out of place and time can break a reader’s suspension of disbelief if they notice the error. If for example, a character in ancient Egypt consults his watch, a reader would instantly be drawn out of the story and roll his eyes. That is an extreme example but I think it helps you get the point.
There’s no excuse for anachronisms or lack of detail. Once you know what you are writing about, immerse yourself in the subject. If you want to write about the police, you do a ride along or shadow a precinct. If your novel takes place in a school, interview teachers or volunteer.
You can also use social media to learn about people and places, by watching videos or listening to interviews. My novel is set primarily in the Carolinas but my main character is deployed to Afghanistan for a short period of time. I’ve never been to Afghanistan and have no intention of ever going there. For that short but important segment of my book, I watched a documentary with actual footage, interviewed someone who had been at camp leatherneck, and read pages set up on the internet by marines returning from the area. I found the information I needed to make that portion of my story believable through research.
It is always best to set your novels in cities that you know. A good example of this would be Nicholas Sparks. His books are set in North Carolina. That’s where he lives. He understands the culture and can provide the details his readers expect.
One word of caution is to remember your research and detail are the seasoning for the story, don’t make them center stage. Resist the urge to show off how much research you have done. You don’t want to overwhelm your readers with unnecessary information.
Something to think about!
It seems like it’s been a long time since I truly sat down to write. I’ve been doing posts, but mainly older blogs revisited or simple quotes.
My life has been hectic over the last year or so, and it’s been maybe a little too easy for me to say, “I just don’t have the time to write”. I allowed one day to grow into two days and then three and on and on and on.
Before I knew it, I was barely writing at all. I now fully understand why many professional writers encourage you to write every day.
We all have days or personal situations to arise that hinder us from getting to the keyboard. I’m not condemning anyone for taking a needed day off. Life happens!
The problem I had, was the longer I went without writing, the easier it became to put it off. I had become so engulfed with what was going on around me, that I had pushed writing to the side.
Something that I truly enjoyed doing had become an afterthought. Should I write today or not. The answer was usually not.
I am back in the game and wanted to warn those who follow my blog, listen to the experts.
Write! Write! Write! Hopefully, you got that. Just Write!
In the past I’ve emphasized the importance of character development. In order for a reader to take interest in your work, they have to relate to your hero or heroine. They have to form a connection.
I recently read an article on Point of View that caught my attention and got me to thinking. I of course opened my blog page and began to type. I had to share it with you.
Most writers don’t realize how important Point of View is in forming an emotional connection between the reader and characters in their novel. When you’re in the character’s head, you’re not just following along, you’re developing a relationship.
When you are drawn in to their thought process, you feel like everything that’s happening to your character is happening to you. You will become invested in your character and their journey, even if they’re walking through a mediocre plot.
Some things to keep in mind when using Point of View to develop your characters.
Make the connection! Use your tools wisely! Something to think about.
Something to think about