Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Embrace the Storm

Embracing the Storm… as a new writer

As a new writer there are a few mistakes you just might make. (We all make mistakes, sure, but to the newbie here is one thing you might want to keep an eye out for.)

Let’s say you want to write an article. You may at first want to try sounding too smart for the reader of the magazine/ezine/newspaper (or God forbid, the editor). By sounding too smart I mean using convoluted sentence structure or complicated words. This will have you either making a fool of yourself or worse cause the reader to put your article/story down, and quick.

Then there is the time when you may feel the need to say too much. Don’t ruin your work with mundane details of every single step your character is taking, just to move the story along. If what you are saying doesn’t move the story arc to the next place then it is unnecessary to give the entire minute nail biting fragments of dust. If you’re a reader, do you want to know how Timmy got from the bed to the breakfast table? Step by painstaking step?

Sometimes this HELPS to move a story along but if it hinders it, then cut it out of the story all together.

Then there is the time when you can say too little to the reader and he is left scratching his head. You have to make the connections for him/her so that he is getting a clear picture of what you’re writing. If Timmy is walking to his car, maybe we don’t want to know he glanced at the phone on his way out. That he stopped to pick up his keys and saw yesterday’s unopened mail. He may have even patted Toby, his dog, before he finally took the needed steps to get to the garage and into the car.

Timmy went to the car and drove off in a hurry. Flurries of concrete stirred in the wake of his screeching tires.

You see? Timmy made it to the car. The reader KNOWS he was in a hurry or angry. (That’s for the story) But Timmy made it to the car without miniscule details following him.

Now get writing! Be it a blog, an article, a tell-all novel, a short story or a poem. Ahhh poetry…that’s a topic for another day.
Keep an eye out for the manufactured look of your work. Make it stand out as special and maybe you too will become the next Great American Author!
Hey, we can dream can’t we?

"Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night."
Edgar Allan Poe

1 comment:

June said...

Hi Joni,

Great advice for the beginning writer.

As an editor for two online publishers, another thing I've noticed in manuscripts submitted by (mostly) unpublished writers is not beginning the story (for most genre fiction) in a good spot.

The writer seems to think that he or she needs to explain all or most of the backstory. This does not make for an interesting story beginning, and most editors won't read past the first couple paragraphs.

Things to think about: Does the story start with action? In the middle of something exciting? With a line of dialog that will spark the interest of the reader?

Take care,