Tag Archive: fiction

ANATOMY AND SCIENCE Of The Query

Believe it or not, there is an actual anatomy and science to the query. And you won’t learn this in college. I learned it in Hollywood. Never tell anyone you’ve written a novel unless you can pitch it because the next question they inevitably ask is “What is it about?” In my case the people asking were producers, actors, models, production managers, film financiers, and I really sucked at pitching it. I could see it when their eyes sort of flicked over my shoulder at something more interesting. You’ve got to keep the pitch short and sweet. Hook ‘em and leave ‘em wanting more. Not drifting toward the coffee machine. Same goes for the written query. You must grab your readers attention because they have hundreds of other queries in their inbox. And donuts in the breakroom. Read More

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Unpacking your verbs

luggageWe were told by professors that adverbs are weak tools for writers, and often that was the extent of it. It most certainly is not the worst thing you can do. Here is a laundry list of other no-nos. Consider “thought verbs” and chuck them.

Think of your words on a page like a suitcase, from the outside it’s a rectangle that holds things. But what’s inside? Read More

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The Yin/Yang of Character Development

Character development is probably one of the most important things we as writer’s are responsible for. People aren’t interested in characters in books or television that don’t grow or change (unless it’s a sitcom, of course, where the characters must be frozen in time. In that case it’s the situations and comedy that suck viewers in).

I like to view character development exactly like the Ying Yang symbol:

yingyangYou notice a curved division, not a straight one (because there is no “straight and narrow” path to the end goal–characters change, they compromise, experience loss, gain, regrets, etc. and if it were easy that would be predictable and people don’t necessarily want predictable. I mean, more often than not your main protagonist had better ride off into the sunset, but the path there must be rocky and full of obstacles–just like life.

Also note that within the white there is a little spec of dust, and within the black, a light at the end of the tunnel.

All interesting characters can easily be placed within this black/white model (grey isn’t as fascinating to read about or watch–I consider grey the narrator or the threshold characters must cross).

Good characters have a little darkness within them (perhaps a cross to bear), and the most evil characters may have a little goodness in them (for redemption purposes later, or simply to gain a little sympathy from the readership so when good defeats evil it is bittersweet (a far more complex twist than a happy ending). Read More

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Shape up!

When you’ve completed your novel/script and are now ready to edit the best way I’ve found to deepen the character, plot, etc is to list the most important aspects of the piece and sift through each aspect individually—tackling each aspect one by one. Here are a few of the most important aspects of my novel that drive my character’s thoughts and actions: humor, romance, and culture. This isn’t everything (just the first three. Also included for a second round of editing is: horror, sexiness/charm factors, fear, and betrayal). I know, you can’t wait to read it now.

I already showed you a bunch of circles in my last post because they related to writing the novel—not editing. Editing is a triangle—not a straight line—at least not for this process. Grammar and Syntax are absolutely a straight line.

A quick little review of the three most important circles of writing life:

rythem1If you read my last post you know what that means. If you don’t, go read it. Read More

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