Dialogue and Scenes – Making Them Great – Quick Writing Tips

Great dialogue makes for great scenes In last week’s post, I focused on tips for writing great scenes–scenes and summary are the building blocks of fiction and memoir. A friend who blogs and writes essays read the post and reminded me that scenes and partial scenes also lend energy and veracity to nonfiction. So true! C’mon, make a scene! First of all, a vital reminder: a scene is a piece of story action, played out moment-by-moment on page, stage, or screen. Conflict drives every scene. No conflict, no scene. A scene moves, dynamically beginning in one place and ending in …

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Write Great Scenes to Build Great Stories – Quick Writing Tips

writing conflict

Action, Conflict, Scenes! Scenes and summary are building blocks of stories–both fiction and memoir. A scene is a piece of story action, rendered continuously moment-by-moment, without summary, but with action and, often, dialogue. A scene can be acted out on stage. She wants, he wants: Characters work in conflict. If they both want to go to the same party and they go, sorry, no conflict, no scene. In contrast, let’s say Joe and Suzy are on their third date and Joe wants to take Suzy to Dave’s party. Dave is Joe’s best friend. But Suzy absolutely doesn’t want to go to Dave’s party–Joe just pointed …

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Help Writing Your Novel—Yes You Can Revise with Ease!

help writing novel-revision

Want to start and finish your first, fifth, or tenth novel in 2017? Read on! In my previous post, I wrote about 1st drafts, and I shared my best suggestions for finishing draft 1 of your novel within 3 to 6 months (without losing your mind). Your 1st draft is the one Anne Lamott aptly dubs the “shitty first draft.” Give yourself permission to work quickly with forward momentum. When your 1st draft is complete: Set it aside for days, weeks, maybe even a month or more. Give yourself time to let it go and separate yourself. When you come back to the …

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How to Write, Revise & Finish Your Novel in 2017, Really: Part I

help writing fiction

It’s that time of year when many of us are looking forward to 2017, evaluating what matters to us, and making our resolutions. If writing and finishing your novel tops your list, here are some tips to help you write your best book. I use these steps to write my own fiction and I’ve just finished the 1st draft of my newest novel, working title, The Book of Riddles. Write your 1st draft quickly, ideally within 3 to 6 months. Key to this process of drafting is to refrain from editing your 1st draft! I know that makes some writers howl with …

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#NaNoWriMo2015–Get to the Heart of Your Story (writing tip #24)

Five days to go for 2015’s National Novel Writing Month! I was conversing with a writer today about what it means to finish a first draft. We went over the nuts and bolts of what happens after you write the last line of the first draft of your story. I told him I always put aside my manuscript for several weeks or more. When I am ready to pick up my manuscript and read from cover to cover over the course of a day or two or three, I know that my goal is to read like a reader. I …

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#NaNoWriMo2015 — Get to the Heart of Your Story (writing tip #2)

Don’t get stuck believing you must draft your novel by a) rigidly outlining OR b) driving your story through the dark blindly with no gas can and no sense of destination. Writing a novel is not an either/or process. Try creating a loose outline with some idea of beginning, middle, end–and fill in the major turning points as you write. Let your hero’s “want” drive the story. Ditto your antagonist’s “want”. Free-write scenes, be a voyeur and watch your protagonist interact with people who are most important in her life. Those moments are vital even if they do not end up …

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The View from Here: One Writer’s Thoughts on Viewpoint Any in-depth discussion of viewpoint or point of view (POV) is a complex undertaking because viewpoint is perhaps the most intricate element of fiction. Because in this blog, I aim for simplicity, I will cover a few basics, and, with the examples interspersed, encourage you to register and reflect upon your impressions. For the moment lets consider point of view as the person and perspective used to narrate the story. More simply yet profoundly put by author and teacher Janet Burroway, viewpoint is the vantage point from which a story is …

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