Ep. 104: Revising Your Action Scenes

In this episode, Clark and I critique a scene from Beneath the Crypt, a middle grade fantasy novel by Alex Heath. We talk about how to evaluate and revise your action scenes. When characters fight, chase each other, or engage in acts of derring-do, it can be hard to keep track of all the moving parts. Often, the clear image of how the action unfolds in our minds doesn’t make it into the story. If you unpack what’s happening in your action scene, you can make sure that it does everything you intend, and nothing you don’t.

Ep. 104: Revising Your Action Scenes by Leslie Watts at Writership.com

 

Listen to the Writership Podcast

 

Wise Words on Action Scenes

However, Hollywood films are not good examples of action scenes for books. Action scenes in movies are eye candy, designed to give the viewer a visual “Wow!” at the awesome feats. But all these action scenes flash by in just a few seconds. The viewer doesn’t have time to even think about how impossible that stunt is. In a book, the reader is with that scene a lot longer. She has more opportunity to say, “Wait a minute. They can’t do that.” And the moment she does, you’ve lost her.
— Linda Adams

Additional Resources and Links

Want to find out what Henry did to upset the thief of Carcassone? Read on here

Clark mentioned that the most realistic fight scene he’s observed is in Old Boy with Josh Brolin.

John Wick with Keanu Reeves is a movie with fight scenes that are realistic in how they portray the combatants’ energy.

To find great examples of dialogue in action scenes, check out Spider-Man comics.

 

Editorial Mission—Unpack Your Action Scenes

In episode 67, we asked you to look at model fight and other action scenes to help you revise your work. This week, we want you to unpack your own action scenes.

Use an action scene you’ve written and record what you observe in a list of what happens in the scene. Add every instance, one per line, of the following:

  1. action a character takes (e.g., character throws a punch)
  2. piece of information that’s revealed (e.g., character notices the bad guy has a knife)
  3. result or consequence (e.g., man falls to the ground)


Once you’ve exhausted everything you can think of about the scene, put the items in chronological order. Here’s an example:

  • Fred slashed at Joe’s face with his knife.
  • Joe ducked under Fred’s arm.
  • Joe kicked the side of Fred’s right knee.
  • Fred shouted.
  • Fred fell to the ground.
  • Fred dropped the knife.
  • Joe grabbed Fred’s wrist with both hands.
  • Joe twisted Fred’s wrist.
  • Joe felt the bones crack.
  • Joe felt relieved.
  • Joe saw Fred’s friend walking toward him.

This is a simplistic list, but it will give you a clear view of what you have and what you need. When you're done, review the list and ask yourself these questions:

  • Does it make sense? 
  • Have you missed any crucial actions, pieces of information, or results?
  • Does each element appear in the best place in the sequence?

Next, consider the setting and where people and objects are, especially in relation to one another. I recommend drawing a diagram and using small tokens (I use Lego minifigures) to show keep track of people and objects, especially if you have a battle or an action/fight scene that involves more than two or three people.

Think about visibility. Is it a crowded street, the woods at night? What can your POV character actually observe (sights and sounds)? Does this affect the action as you’ve laid it out?

Once you’ve done all this, then revise your scene. You could approach this in different ways. You could use your new understanding of the scene to revise the one you’ve already written, write it from scratch, or begin weaving the sentences in the list together into a scene.

Why go through all this work? Action scenes are intense, fast-paced, and often contain several different elements. Sometimes the author has such a clear vision of the scene as a whole, as if it’s a video playing in their minds, that they don’t see and record the individual elements to transfer that conception to the reader’s mind. Unpacking what you’ve put on the page can help you discover if anything is missing.

Please remember this is a tool for revision! I wouldn’t mess with the minutiae while writing an early draft, but when you review it, if you deconstruct the action this way, you can be sure that what you imagine in your mind’s eye ends up in the story.

Do you want editorial missions sent directly to your inbox?

Sign up to join us aboard the Writership Podcast! We'll send new episodes and editorial missions directly to your inbox so you'll never miss out. You'll also get the lowdown on our top 12 writing, editing, and self-publishing podcasts—perfect if you, like us, want to live a fulfilling life as a writer.


We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe any time.

Marketing by

 

Editing Advice to Our Author

Dear Alex,

Thanks so much for your submission! Beneath the Crypt sounds like a fun adventure story, and Henry and Aurélie are great characters to play with. Even though we’re jumping into the middle of the story with no other introduction to the characters, it was easy to follow. The approach of the mysterious figure is a great hook to pull us into this scene, and the open question you leave us with at the end of the scene is intriguing and would make it hard to put the book down.

Clark and I focused on action scenes for this episode, and I think you’ve done a nice job of conveying who is doing what, where, and when, which as we mention in the episode can be a bit tricky. Although combatants in a fight don’t have time for a lot of reflection (unless one is skilled and facing an unworthy opponent), I think you could make the scene stronger with more reaction from Henry. I’d love to know about Henry’s experience in the fight, what he’s feeling physically and emotionally, and how he reacts what’s unfolding.

One example is when the thief faces Henry, and we get a pretty good look at the black-clad figure through Henry’s POV—with the exception of his face, of course. We see what he’s wearing, that the only armor he’s employed is a helmet, and that he is thin and lightly built (which could possibly clue the reader in to his identity or not depending on your intent and what you’ve revealed before this scene). We also see his weapon and that he is advancing on Henry with apparent violent intent. In the next paragraph, we see that Henry is scared and not sure what to do, but don’t know if he is generally scared or if something he’s seen and concluded about his opponent evoked the reaction. If you were to weave in a direct connection between his observations and what he does, the details you reveal would be immediately relevant to the scene before us rather than only the description of a character.

We noticed that you don’t have a lot of dialogue in the scene, and that may be in part due to what’s happening. As it opens, Henry and Aurélie are resting and wouldn’t necessarily be speaking. The thief is trying to avoid revealing is identity, so he might not want to speak if his voice is distinctive. Consider if there are opportunities when Henry or Aurélie might say a word or two periodically to break up the narrative and alter the pace.

We can’t assess this from only one scene, but wanted to mention this because it’s important in fantasy stories. The magic used in an action scene should be consistent with how magic is used in the story world in general. This is a helpful item to add to a revision checklist for anyone who writes speculative fiction.

For picky stuff, we flagged a few echoes and awkward phrasing in our comments. We spotted some places where specific verbs would enable you to cut some adverbs.

Note: We’ve labelled this middle grade fiction, but other factors within the story could tip it into young adult.

We appreciate your sharing this entertaining scene with us, Alex! Thanks again for trusting us with your words!

All the best,

Leslie & Clark

 

Line Edits for Our Mystery Story

Do you want editorial missions sent directly to your inbox?

Sign up to join us aboard the Writership Podcast! We'll send new episodes and editorial missions directly to your inbox so you'll never miss out. You'll also get the lowdown on our top 12 writing, editing, and self-publishing podcasts—perfect if you, like us, want to live a fulfilling life as a writer.


We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe any time.

Marketing by

 

Image courtesy of NejroN Phot/bigstockphoto.com.

Ep. 103: Narrative Identity and Why It Matters in Your Fiction

Narrative Identity and Why It Matters in Your Story www.writership.com

In this episode, Leslie and Clark critique “A Hero Least of All,” a literary short story by Tim LaFave. They discuss narrative identity and why it matters for your writing. As humans, we use story to make sense of our lives, and it’s important to understand the stories we tell about ourselves and the how this impacts our writing. We consider how being aware of our own narrative identity can help us revise, and we can use this emotional energy as fuel for our characters. 

 

Listen to the Writership Podcast

 

Wise Words on Stories

Stories are the way we make sense out of the events of our lives. Individually and collectively we tell stories in order to understand what has happened to us and to create meaning from those experiences. Storytelling is fundamental to all human cultures, and our shared stories create a connection to others that builds a sense of belonging to a particular community. The stories of a particular culture shape how its members perceive the world. In this way, stories both are created by us and shape who are. For these reasons, stories are central to both individual and collective human experience.
— Daniel Siegel, MD, Parenting from the Inside Out

Additional Notes

Clark’s covers narrative identity in his course Punch Them in the Gut: Writing Fiction with Emotional Impact.

The two books on narrative identity that Clark mentioned are How Our Lives Become Stories, Making Selves and Living Autobiographically, How We Create Identity in Narrative by Paul John Eakin. Remember that Clark said these books are fairly technical. 

We have a Patreon shout-out for E.A. Hennessy, the author of the steampunk novel Grigory's Gadget.  

 

Editorial Mission—What's Your Story?

The more clearly we see and understand our own stories, the more we can use our emotions to fuel our stories, make our characters relatable, and connect with our readers. This week, look at your own life’s journey and where you’re at today. What stories do you tell yourself about your life and why you do what you do? Then consider one of the stories that you’ve written or are working on. Where do your stories show up? How can you bring more of your personal journey to make it more specific and connect with the reader? 

Do you want editorial missions sent directly to your inbox?

Sign up to join us aboard the Writership Podcast! We'll send new episodes and editorial missions directly to your inbox so you'll never miss out. You'll also get the lowdown on our top 12 writing, editing, and self-publishing podcasts—perfect if you, like us, want to live a fulfilling life as a writer.


We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe any time.

Marketing by

 

Editing Advice to Our Author

Dear Tim,

Thanks for your submission to the podcast. “A Hero Least of All” gave us the opportunity to talk about narrative identity, a topic near and dear to our hearts. Like anyone else, writers mull over our concerns and worries, so they naturally find their way into our stories. It’s a great way to process events that are beyond our control and change the course of our own lives.

Michael is a great example of the way we can make sense of life because, given his circumstances, he could have been a very different person. Acknowledging that home isn’t what he would have wished for, but that the letters are his anchor in his present life demonstrates the way we use story to create a helpful narrative and cope with challenges. It’s not that he sees the world through rose-colored glasses, but he sees the world benevolently enough to keep him from falling into despair or lashing out. 

You’ve done a great job helping readers empathize with Michael through the details you shared and the way he navigates a world that is not kind to him. We all know someone who is a bit awkward or sees the world differently, and I think your story helps people understand them better. This is one of the powerful things that stories can do—not only help us make sense of the world, but also to understand others’ experiences and worldviews. I found the story deeply touching, and I can't help but wish that the future holds something better for the Michaels of this world.

Just like any other story, the ones inspired by challenges we face need to work and avoid extra elements that don’t add to the telling. When you write for an audience beyond yourself, I recommend checking that everything included supports the story (the anecdotes, metaphors, descriptions). Not every aspect of what happens in real life will be relevant.

I also think this could be made stronger by showing us an episode or two from his hometown, the mail call episodes (before and after as contrast), and when he walks into camp after wandering around in the woods for three days. The third omniscient POV gives you lots of latitude to reveal powerful details to help the reader experience those scenes.

Generally speaking, when we use aspects of our personal stories in fiction, we need to make them worse or better than ordinary life in a memorable. Just as we wouldn’t include commonplace dialogue, make sure that the emotions and situations we include are larger than life. You’ve captured this well. For example, Michael doesn’t have one annoying nickname, he has many, some of which are humiliating and came to him through no fault of his own. He picks up new ones wherever he goes.

We did a light copyedit of the manuscript, and I’ve pointed out a few picky items in the submission. I suggest omitting scare quotes because they can become like speed bumps to the reader, and I made some other punctuation edits as well.

Thanks again for sharing your story with us and for trusting us with your words.  

All the best,

Leslie & Clark

 

Line Edits for our Literary Fiction Short Story

Do you want editorial missions sent directly to your inbox?

Sign up to join us aboard the Writership Podcast! We'll send new episodes and editorial missions directly to your inbox so you'll never miss out. You'll also get the lowdown on our top 12 writing, editing, and self-publishing podcasts—perfect if you, like us, want to live a fulfilling life as a writer.


We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe any time.

Marketing by

 

Image courtesy of digitalista/bigstockphoto.com.

Ep. 102: How to Choose Your Story's Point of View

Ep. 102: How to choose your story's POV by Leslie Watts at writership.com

In this episode, Clark and I discuss point of view in our critique of “The Second Prayer: A Confession for the Dead,” a thriller short story by David L. Storm. Point of view seems like a straightforward choice. It's the filter through which the reader experiences your story: Each option has advantages and disadvantages and can produce vastly different results. If you have to change it in the revision stage, it's a big job, but worth it if you find the right POV for the story you want to tell. 

In our editorial mission this week, we share a list of questions to ask when you choose the story's POV for your first draft and later during revision. Our author has graciously allowed us to include the entire text of his story, and you'll find that below, after the inline critique. 

 

Listen to the Writership Podcast

 

Wise Words on Point of View

Selecting the best point of view from which to tell a story can be puzzling. Because you originally conceive an idea in first or third person doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. Often it’s good to rewrite the story in another person to see how it changes. Sometimes writers, after a number of drafts, have realized that the real story lies elsewhere—in the mother’s view of the daughter, not the daughter’s view of the mother. Such changes in perspective have resulted in breakthroughs that have astonished their own authors.
— Jerome Stern, Making Shapely Fiction

Additional Notes

Grab an official copy of David L. Storm's The Second Prayer: A Confession for the Dead!

Clark mentioned two stories films in which the viewer sees the story from multiple points of view. They are Roshomon and Vantage Point.

 

Editorial Mission—How to choose your story's point of view

When deciding and reviewing point of view, consider the questions listed below. No single factor should necessarily determine your choice. As Clark mentioned, when you’re deciding on a POV, it’s a great to experiment with different options. Try different characters as well as first, third limited, and omniscient to get a feel for how the story feels most natural. 

  • How many perspectives do you need? (The shorter the work, the more likely you’ll want to stick with one person.)
  • Do you need an objective or subjective narrator?
  • Do you need to contrast character’s actions? (As Nick Mamatas noted: “If a character’s thoughts match his or her actions exactly, the thoughts aren’t interesting and are probably not necessary to share.”)
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of each choice? This Writer’s Digest post lists the advantages and disadvantages of each point of view.
  • Whose story is this? Who has the most at stake? Who changes the most as a result of the events of the story?
  • Who has the best vantage point? Whose perspective can best convey the story to convey your controlling idea or theme?
  • Who has the best and most interesting voice?
  • Do you need more distance or intimacy? (You can adjust narrative distance within the POV, but this is accomplished far more easily in third omniscient than third limited and first.)
  • Which character has a secret you want to avoid revealing early in the story?
  • Consider the MICE quotient and who can best reveal the events of the story given the main factor in yours. (Not mentioned in the episode, but check out the advice for our author for a brief discussion.)

Do you want editorial missions sent directly to your inbox?

Sign up to join us aboard the Writership Podcast! We'll send new episodes and editorial missions directly to your inbox so you'll never miss out. You'll also get the lowdown on our top 12 writing, editing, and self-publishing podcasts—perfect if you, like us, want to live a fulfilling life as a writer.


We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe any time.

Marketing by

 

Editing Advice for Our Author

Dear David,

Thanks so much for sharing your story with us! “The Second Prayer: A Confession for the Dead” has a fascinating premise for a psychological thriller with so many great elements. The twist you have set up is spectacular and ambitious for a short story. I love that you’ve taken on this challenge!

Our biggest suggestion is to reconsider the point of view, including the character and possibly the type. Point of view is important in every story, but particularly critical when you want to reveal some facts and hide other facts. It’s hard to hear because this would mean a substantial rewrite, but you have stellar ingredients for a huge twist, and we suspect that a different point of view would make this powerful.

As Clark mentioned, we couldn’t think of any elements that we would cut or add (except that we think you could expand this into a novella or a novel)—our main advice is about how and when you reveal the events of your story.

The key to this can be found in your logline: Two people know why Jimmy stepped off the curb in front of a truck, and one is dead. Since Jimmy knows, he could simply tell us, and from his point of view, there is no mystery about why he did it. (Unless the story were about him waking up in the hospital and having no recollection of the facts of his recent past. But that’s quite a different story.)

The detective, Ben Sanders, doesn’t know why Jimmy acted the way he did, but wants to know so he can build a case against Jimmy in the death of Linda Belle. He’s a great character to guide us through the story and ask the questions we would want to ask.

Another way to look at it is through the lens of Orson Scott Card’s MICE quotient story factors: milieu, idea, character, or event. I hadn’t thought about this before we recorded, so we don’t talk about it in the episode. I share a brief explanation here, but if you want to find out more, listen to episodes 6.10 and 8.20 of the Writing Excuses podcast and Karen Woodward’s excellent posts on the topic.

Within that system, you could frame this as an event or character story, but the logline and genre point to an idea story: Jimmy Grant had it all, so why did he step off a curb in front of a truck? And the reason this is important is that this single fact changes how we see everything in the story.

As written this is an idea story, so it begins with a problem to be solved (building the case) or a question to be answered (Ben must know why this happened). If the question were, how am I going to get away with this, then Jimmy might be the best POV character, but again the powerful twist comes from the question of motive, and Ben is the person in this story who wants to know that and with whom the reader is most closely aligned.

You have such a fantastic and inventive twist! Thank you for the opportunity to talk about this and for trusting us with your words.

 

All the best,

Leslie & Clark

 

 

Line Edits for Our Thriller Short Story

Do you want editorial missions sent directly to your inbox?

Sign up to join us aboard the Writership Podcast! We'll send new episodes and editorial missions directly to your inbox so you'll never miss out. You'll also get the lowdown on our top 12 writing, editing, and self-publishing podcasts—perfect if you, like us, want to live a fulfilling life as a writer.


We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe any time.

Marketing by

The Full Story

 

Image courtesy of luciezr/bigstockphoto.com.

Ep. 101: Check Your Narrative Distance

In this episode, fiction editors Leslie and Clark critique the beginning of Osweyth, an epic fantasy novel inspired by Cornish folklore by JM Hudson. They discuss narrative distance, omniscient point of view, and moving smoothly between vantage points. They also talk about the weather as a character in the story, lush prose, sentence and paragraph length, and commas. The editorial mission asks you to check your narrative distance, that is how close your reader is to the character or narrator.

Check Your Narrative Distance by Leslie Watts at writership.com 

 

Listen to the writership podcast 

 

Wise words on narrative distance 

Psychic Distance is a concept which John Gardner explores in his book The Art of Fiction, and I think it’s absolutely crucial, not difficult to understand, and not nearly talked about enough. You’ll also find it called Narrative Distance because, basically, it’s about where the narrative (and therefore the reader) stands, relative to a character. Another way of thinking of it is how far the reader is taken, by the narrator, inside the character’s head.
— Emma Darwin

Additional Resources

The useful article about narrative distance we mentioned can be found on Emma Darwin’s site, This Itch of Writing.

The comic book writer Clark mentioned is Joshua Crowther.

Don't forget to check out Clark’s new course, Advanced Novel Writing with Harry Potter!

 

Editorial mission—check your narrative distance

Narrative distance (also known as psychic distance) is a term to describe how far away the reader is from the character or narrator who’s revealing the story. Even within a single point of view, you can be far away from the character and her experience (the equivalent of watching a scene from the back row of a theater) or actually within the character’s experience and feeling what they feel or knowing their thoughts in their own words.  

This element is also related to showing and telling because the greater the distance between the reader and the character, the more the narrator or character tell us about what’s happening rather than showing us or allowing us to experience it. The distance you need to tell your story effectively will vary across the entire book and within individual scenes.

The examples from John Gardner and Emma Darwin in her post we mentioned in the episode will help you get a better feel for the extremes and the levels in between.  

Once you have a sense of these levels, check a scene of your own. Consider the narrative distance as written then what you think would be ideal for what you need to accomplish and what you want to show the reader. Use the following elements to assess then adjust the narrative distance within the scene.  

  • Word choice and sentence structure. Is the prose in the character’s own voice and using words she would use, or in the voice of an objective, story-telling narrator?  
  • Which details about the setting and characters are revealed? Things only the character would know and notice? Is the reader told about feelings or opinions regarding the details, or are these conveyed through the character’s actions or words? 
  • Are there details the POV character wouldn't normally think about?  
  • Do you hear the character’s direct thoughts or about what she’s thinking? 
  • Including thought verbs (e.g., think, know, believe, understand, realize, want, hate, remember) or tags for observations increases the narrative distance.
  • Explanations about the location and what’s happening do the same.
  • The character’s own facial expressions unless she’s gazing in a mirror or reflective surface increase the distance as well.

Do you want editorial missions sent directly to your inbox?

Sign up to join us aboard the Writership Podcast! We'll send new episodes and editorial missions directly to your inbox so you'll never miss out. You'll also get the lowdown on our top 12 writing, editing, and self-publishing podcasts—perfect if you, like us, want to live a fulfilling life as a writer.


We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe any time.

Marketing by

Editing advice to our author

Dear J M,
Thank you so much for your submission! You’ve provided us with the perfect opportunity to talk about narrative distance (aka psychic distance) and how it affects point of view in stories.  
You’ve used third person omniscient POV so the reader can observe the action from many vantage points, which is helpful in an epic story like this. The way you employ narrative distance helps us ease into the location and becoming familiar with the characters.  
We have a lovely progression from a tiny figure, to a small girl, to feeling what she feels and realizing she is only four years old. Then we hear her speak and see her interact with Jowan. (By the way, she is a captivating character, and I feel a strong urge to read on to find out who will win the battle of wills between her and her father.)
There is a similar progression with Jowan from soldiers noticing that something is amiss to eventually learning that he has a pet name and no small affection for the feisty four-year-old, who also happens to be of royal blood.
The movement from Byhan to Jowan is smooth, not jarring. You’re training the reader how to read your book. And, I suspect we are seeing very characteristic moments for both these characters: Byhan lying in the mud during a squall and feeling the vibration of the waves crashing against the stone beneath and Jowan fearing for her safety, scolding her (though not harshly), and remembering that the odd things about her in a commoner’s child would probably mean death.
There’s not a lot going on in this scene in terms of action: A young noble girl rushes outside in a violent rain storm and falls in the mud. Soldiers notice her, and one in particular rushes to see that she’s all right. While he scolds, her father arrives and then another person (possibly her mother). But in execution you’ve added so much. This is a great opening scene that reveals way more than simply what happens.
As Clark mentioned in the episode, you’ve avoided presenting a laundry list to describe the characters, and instead, helped us get to know them by showing us who they are in their environment with their actions.
The way you’ve employed the weather as a character in this opening supports the story well. Your lush and poetic prose and word choice are a great fit for an epic fantasy inspired by Cornish folktales.
Our suggestions for you relate to items you’ll want to consider in the later stages of revision. You have a lot of long, complex, and compound sentences, and there’s a lot of information to hold in the mind before the reader reaches the end. In part, the description is forceful (not forced), like the storm. This is great, but we were wondering about sustaining this throughout the 100,000 or more words of the story. (You may have already considered this.) When you start editing at the level of paragraphs and sentences, consider the reader’s experience and make sure the level of detail and the complexity of the sentences are manageable. It’s not that there are no short sentences, it’s that the long and complex ones stand out.
Beta readers, especially those who are close to your ideal reader, should give you some great feedback on this point. Some readers enjoy a challenging read, so it’s more about a good fit than a particular word count per sentence. (Does that make sense? I have a book I’m reading for fun that has long, complex paragraphs with very little white space on the page. I love it, but not everyone will want to read The Sea & Civilization: A Maritime History of the World.)  
Watch for comma usage (again, this is something you shouldn’t wrestle with until later stages of editing). I’ve marked some instances in the submission below. With complex prose, you’ll want to make sure the punctuation aids clear understanding rather than following the rules. Still, readers are used to seeing punctuation show up in a certain way, so I recommend keeping as close to "normal" as possible. Clear as mud?  
The last thing I want to mention is that you handled the Cornish words well in this opening (even though my pronunciation was terrible!). The meaning, or enough of the meaning, was clear from the context in each case.  
Thanks again for your submission!
All the best,
Leslie and Clark

 

Line edits for our epic fantasy story 

Do you want editorial missions sent directly to your inbox?

Sign up to join us aboard the Writership Podcast! We'll send new episodes and editorial missions directly to your inbox so you'll never miss out. You'll also get the lowdown on our top 12 writing, editing, and self-publishing podcasts—perfect if you, like us, want to live a fulfilling life as a writer.


We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe any time.

Marketing by

Ep. 100: Answers to Your Burning Questions about Writing and Editing Fiction

In this episode, fiction editors Leslie and Clark celebrate 100 episodes. They depart from the regular format to answer your questions about writing and editing. They discuss passive voice, pantsing vs. plotting, head hopping, how long your story should be, and how to write character thoughts. This week’s editorial mission is about finding your strengths and weaknesses. 

Answers to Your Burning Questions about Writing and Editing Fiction with Fiction Editors Leslie Watts and Clark Chamberlain

 

Listen to the Writership Podcast

 

Wise Words on Writing

The “rules” can be broken, of course, if the violation isn’t noticeable, or if enough is achieved by doing so; but to break the rules of point of view unwittingly, with nothing accomplished by it, is to harm the story foolishly¬ for the reader is sophisticated, he will see the error and discount the work, and even if he is so innocent of fiction techniques as not to notice it consciously, he will have an uneasy feeling, vague as it might be, that something has gone a bit wrong.
— Rust Hills
Writing talent is probably more common than anybody suspects, and it is less important to a writer’s career than most people believe. I have known highly talented young people who for one reason or another have dropped out of writing and never reappeared, and I’ve known people with very modest talents who by sheer determined effort have become professionals. I can’t pump determination into you, and wouldn’t if I could. What I can do is try to tell you what you’re in for, and help you acquire the skills that make the difference between the amateur writer and the professional.
— Damon Knight

Advanced Novel Writing with Harry Potter

Find out more about Clark's new course: Advanced Novel Writing with Harry Potter.

Get your 100 Quick Writing Tips

To celebrate the Writership Podcast's 100th episode, we're giving away a free download with 100 quick writing tips! Click here to get it now.

 

Introducing Patreon

As you may know, hosting and technical support for the show is provided by our brilliant corporate sponsor, Author Marketing Club. But we're now inviting listeners to sponsor our time in producing the show, so we can continue to demonstrate editing in action and expand the resources we offer to help you write stories that are shipshape and Bristol fashion.

If you want to support the Writership Podcast, you can donate a small dollar amount each month through Patreon, a trusted site that connects creators with their fans. As a token of our thanks, we'll give you some goodies every month and memorialize your name on the site!

 

Editorial Mission—Find Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Look at your body of work, published or not, and think about your writing habits. What do you notice? What are your strengths? How can you leverage them to improve your process or results? What are your weaknesses? Find a resource to deepen your knowledge in one area you’ve identified as a weakness. (Need one? Write to us at hello@writership.com for a suggestion.) Through determined effort, apply what you've learned until you gain mastery. Reassess regularly as you practice and receive feedback. Choose new weaknesses to study and master.

Do you want editorial missions sent directly to your inbox?

Sign up to join us aboard the Writership Podcast! We'll send new episodes and editorial missions directly to your inbox so you'll never miss out. You'll also get the lowdown on our top 12 writing, editing, and self-publishing podcasts—perfect if you, like us, want to live a fulfilling life as a writer.


We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe any time.

Marketing by

 

Image courtesy of  MartinM303/bigstockphoto.com.

Ep. 99: Have You Revealed Your Character's Essence?

In this episode, Leslie and Clark critique the first chapter of Let’s Go Inwards, a science fiction novel by Jake. They discuss revealing character. Unlike screenwriters, we can’t rely on actors to show the audience who our characters are. But we have access to and can expose our characters’ thoughts and motivations in other ways. This episode also includes suggestions for word choice and figurative language.

Ep. 99: Have You Revealed Your Character's Essence? by Leslie Watts at writership.com.

 

Listen to the Writership Podcast

There is some adult language in this episode.

 

Wise Words on Creating memorable Characters

The creation of character presents special problems for writers of fiction. The playwright or screenwriter can hope for arresting actors whose appearance, presence, mannerisms, and delivery will create memorable characters. As a writer you have only your words on the page. You cannot even rely on illustration, as nineteenth-century writers often did. At the same time, there’s nothing more important to your fiction than your characters.
— Jerome Stern

 

Send Us Your Questions!

Click here to submit your questions on writing and editing, for Leslie and Clark to answer in the 100th episode.

 

Editorial Mission—Revealing Character

When you revise your scenes look for the ways you have revealed character. Look at their actions, what they say, what they think, how they react to people and the setting, how people react to them. Be sure that you’ve revealed your characters’ essence rather than presented what they look like, which though important, is only one way to reveal character.

Do you want editorial missions sent directly to your inbox?

Sign up to join us aboard the Writership Podcast! We'll send new episodes and editorial missions directly to your inbox so you'll never miss out. You'll also get the lowdown on our top 12 writing, editing, and self-publishing podcasts—perfect if you, like us, want to live a fulfilling life as a writer.


We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe any time.

Marketing by