I love Writer’s Digest. If you’re seriously pursuing a writing career, you should consider subscribing to the magazine. They have great articles from published authors that cover a multitude of subjects – related to writing of course 🙂
I recently picked up a copy of one of my older publications and reread an article by Jordan Rosenfield on building tension, or I guess I should say, quick tips for infusing scenes with tension.
Dramatic tension relies on the reader’s knowledge that something is about to go down – but the details for how or when have yet to be revealed. To create it, you must:
Tension keeps the reader waiting with baited breath, wondering if the protagonist is going to survive, find love, or achieve his/her goal.
Remember tension keeps your reader turning the page.
Something to think about.
– Jan R
Spoiler alert! If you were one of the eight people that read this blog following its previous publication, you are experiencing de ja vu. I thought it was a good blog, but one thing I’ve learned over the last few years, is the title can make you or break you.
It was initially titled ‘Show Don’t Tell’. I guess that sounded kind of boring or maybe just to repetitious. Goodness knows how many ‘Show Don’t Tell’ blogs are out there. So I decided to repost it under a new name 🙂
I can’t count how many times I’ve heard the phrase – show don’t tell. You probably saw the title and questioned even reading this blog. Everybody knows you are suppose to show and not tell. You want the reader to experience the scene as if they are one of the characters walking through the story beside the hero/heroine.
If you’re like me, you understand the expectation, but you don’t really know what to do to make it happen. How do I show and not tell? It’s a lot harder than it seems, or if you’re an overachiever, you’re thinking it’s a lot easier than it seems :-). Once you start writing that novel, you’ll understand what I’m talking about.
There are 5 tools for showing
If you’re doing anything that’s not one of these 5 things, you’re not showing.
Why is it so important to show versus tell? Showing provides your reader with a powerful emotional experience. If you want to be a best selling author, that’s what you have to do.
It doesn’t matter how great you do everything else in that novel, if you’re missing that emotional experience, you lose. If everything you did is bad, but you have a great emotional experience, you may still win.
It all comes down to the take away. Every great novelist will tell you, you have to give your reader that powerful emotional experience, or they wont be coming back.
-Something to think about 🙂
I wrote this blog a few years ago, but for you newbies who haven’t been around that long, I thought it was worth another go round. Hope this offers some encouragement, and a reminder to never give up. For those like myself who have walked around the block a few times, I hope this puts writing into perspective for you as well. I know how easy it is to become discouraged.
I received two rejections this week, and while they were nice well written form letters, that’s what they were. You know the ones that thank you for considering their agency, and assure you that they will give your work a thorough going over before they make a decision. And then they add, if you haven’t heard from us in two weeks, assume we are not interested, and your work isn’t a good fit for us…
I have to admit besides being a little disappointed, I was skeptical and mad. I’ve put a lot of work into my manuscript. I’ve edited so many versions, that it doesn’t even look like it’s former self. It really is that much better than the original completed work. So what’s the problem?
I’ve heard over and over not to take it personal. It’s business, and truth be known, it may have nothing to do with your manuscript. If there are no obvious flaws with your work, send it out to other agents. Just because you were rejected by one agent, doesn’t mean you will be by the next.
The New York Times best selling author of “The Help”, was rejected by 60 different agents. You read that right. Her 61st attempt was a success. The book was on the best seller list for the entire year and eventually made into a movie.
So why do books get rejected?
Maybe your manuscript just isn’t ready.
Maybe your manuscript is ready but….
What I’m trying to say, is there are a lot of reasons books get rejected, and they may have nothing to do with your work. I’ve read more than once, that perseverance is the key.
If you have a great, publishable piece of work, don’t give up, submit it to other agencies for review. If you have less than perfect work, roll up your sleeves and get to work. Don’t expect someone to fix it for you. They won’t.
Don’t give up!!!
What are your favorite reference books on writing? We all have them. I learned following my first very rough draft, that I didn’t know a thing about writing a publishable novel. I thought I did, but the rejections and the one agent who responded set me straight.
Like many of you, I learn from my mistakes, but I am totally hoping I can keep some wannabees from making the same ones that I made.
If you follow me, you know I’ve said many times, ” You don’t know what you don’t know.” So needless to say, I began to research various sites and successful authors. I had to learn how to write a novel.
This led me to three of my favorite resource books.
I found The Elements Of Style and Eats, Shoots & Leaves at a library book sale. They cost me a dollar. Unfortunately, the Koontz book is highly recommended but nowhere to be found. I purchased mine from a dealer on eBay for $65.00. I do believe it was worth the price, but you can find all of the information contained in the book on the web.
I didn’t include the Dictionary or Thesaurus. I think they are a given.
These are a few of my favorite things. Yes, I do like Mary Poppins 🙂
Something to think about.
Writing can be both rewarding and frustrating. I’ve been around the block a few times and have had my share of rejections. Don’t judge me, get used to it. If you are out to write that best selling blockbuster, and I’m cheering for you, you’re going to have to develop some tough skin.
I’ve stated in previous blogs, that there are a lot of reasons why your manuscript was passed over, and many have nothing to do with the manuscript itself, but I thought it would be nice to hear it from an agent.
You just submitted a query for an awesome piece of work. You’ve had several agents request full manuscripts and one even gave you a call, but just like that it was over. What happened?
You may have submitted an amazing piece of work, but the submission before yours hit the ball out of the park, and the one after yours did likewise. Those two works raised the bar and affected the impact you novel had on the agent.
Maybe you presented a very well written novel, but the market is saturated with the genre you are offering. Agents may have manuscripts for the particular genre you submitted on hold for the next few seasons.
You made it to the personal phone call. Where did you go wrong? Maybe you were missing the synopsis or logline for your next novel. Agents don’t want to just sell a book, they want to represent a career. Another guess would be that you were resistant to editorial thoughts presented by the agent.
The biggest obstacle one can have in getting a novel published is quitting. If you’re going to do a little bit right, have that little bit be the fact that you don’t quit. – Barbara Poelle, agent
Something to think about.
Something to think about.