Oh, I know there are those of you who won’t agree with me. You’ll say plot is more important. I’ll make my case with the beginnings of two popular plot-heavy stories. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins “When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold. My fingers stretch out, seeking Prim’s…

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I read a blog the other day that taught me a new writing craft term: Countersinking. This is how Rob Bignell defines it in his article: One way for an author to slow a story is to employ “countersinking,” a term coined by science fiction writer Lewis Shiner. Countersinking involves making explicit the very actions that the…

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Laura Drake Description, run-on words, similes and metaphors are all ways to get your meaning across to your reader. I got the first two, but metaphors and similes….they were a bit fuzzy (school was a looooong time ago for me). Until I watched this scene from Renaissance Man, with Danny DeVito (if you’ve never seen…

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Thank you, brave soul, for trusting me with your work. I hope you find this helpful. I chose this month’s submission to help explain a closer POV. This reads like a movie script. It is omniscient POV (mostly), which was great in the 1800’s, but today’s reader wants an immersive experience…they want to BE Katniss.…

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  I traveled to speak at a writer’s group last weekend (I do that, you know. Contact me if you’re interested). I was talking to a writer there, and she bemoaned the fact that she didn’t have this down yet.  She was still making mistakes. I’ve heard this many times. I’ll bet you’ve said it…

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I’ll admit it. I can write a scene that only a mother can love. One so sappy you’ll need to test your blood for sugar afterward. A sure cure for insomnia. (as boring as all these old saws). And when the author knows it sucks, you can imagine the sheer volume of suckage I’m talking…

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Descriptions are some of my favorite things to do. But they’re not easy to write well. Descriptions have changed over the years.  Stienbeck’s The Gapes of Wrath was published in 1939. Here’s the beginning: Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge Steinbeck fan, but that was before TV, Netflix, apps, and Xbox. Back when readers had…

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Don’t you just love it when a line in a book so good, that you just have to stop reading to appreciate it for a few minutes? Me too.  I think that’s part of the reason I began writing – to, just once – write one of those sentences. You can find them scattered throughout…

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I do a lot of critiquing. As I get better at craft, I’m starting to catch the nuances of good writing; things beyond the basics of POV, show don’t tell, etc. They’re subtler and harder to spot, but I believe they can be the difference between a ‘good writer’ and a popular author. And yes,…

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I just taught a class on  Beginning Pages recently, so I’ve been thinking a lot about first lines.  Stephen King had something to say about the magnitude of a novel’s first line: “An opening line should invite the reader to begin the story,” he said. “It should say: Listen. Come in here. You want to know about…

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