Archives for tips

Who’s up for a fight? [Writing real fight scenes]

Recently I have been chatting with a friend and fellow author about writing fight scenes in her novel. Unlike most writers, this is an area that doesn’t give me too many problems, or at least, not of the same kind that they experience. Let’s lay down a few antecedents: I have been trained in 26 different fighting systems, holding black belt degrees in 14 of these, and a host of weapons during a long and interesting life. But my knowledge is not just theoretical. Unfortunately, I have had to use those skills on occasion… and I’m still here, so they
Read More

I think I should warn you about something…

In my last article about Show and Tell (here), I briefly mentioned Foreshadowing. I have been inundated by five emails demanding I explain a little more about this useful writing tool. So here goes… Many eons ago, shortly after the dinosaurs died out, I decided to become a writer. Little did I know what the future held in store for me… That’s foreshadowing for you. What have I just done? I have created tension, expectancy in my readers – yes, I’ve manipulated their emotional response again and pressed the ‘Reader Engagement’ button. Now that’s just one way you can use
Read More

Let’s go to the Movies!

If you are new to this fiction writing business, chances are you will have heard a short phrase repeated frequently and cited as part of the MUST DO rules for authors. Yes, I’m talking about SHOW, DON’T TELL! If you are lucky, you have come across this gem of advice on a writer’s blog where they will have provided a few examples. Sometimes these examples are useful insights into how to put this into practice. On other occasions, however, the extracts only serve to confuse the matter even further because they are usually presented without any detailed explanation.   If
Read More

Character Building

Novels are often described as being either plot-driven or character-driven. This is something that may confuse the aspiring or new writer. Surely all plot-driven novels have characters, and character-driven novels have plots. Often I feel that this description is applied when the reviewer comes across a character that stands out (so the work is character-driven) or not (plot-driven). I think this is a somewhat short-sighted approach – I’ve yet to meet an author who doesn’t try to make their characters believable. So let’s take a look at why some succeed and others don’t. First off, despite all the effort that
Read More

Your Book–Keep Marketing Momentum High

For new authors, the task of getting the word out about a current WIP or an upcoming release comes complete with a separate set of worries than that of writing, drafting and editing. Marketing and promo sounds fun. Some of us start the planning stages before we have the finished product. And that’s a good thing–to know what direction you want to go in, but keeping that momentum up during and after is the trick. Is it enough to simply outline, list what you want and make the proper inquiries? Sure. If that’s your only goal at the time. Having a more
Read More

Thinking of ending it all…

I bet that title got your attention! If you are here looking for some ghoulish thrills, or to be saddened by the last rant of someone about to leave this world, then… I’ve led you on!   This post is about novel endings.   I mean… the way we writers conclude our tales. Sorry, better luck next time. WARNING!! This post will be inconclusive!   Okay, now I’ve got that out of the way…   Why am I writing this article? Well, in part, it’s a result of certain dialogues I have maintained, via e-mail and through reader reviews, about
Read More

Tips for the would-be author

With indie publishing booming and e-readership expanding daily, there’s never been a better time to become a writer. As a published author and writing instructor, my advice to the “would-be” author is this: Write your book. Plenty of people say they are going to write a book someday, but they never do. If you’re serious, then stop talking about it and start writing. Re-write until you never want to look at your book again. I know this probably sounds crazy, but if you read about successful writers, you’ll find that most have this in common: by the time they finished
Read More

Should I bother with Writing Rules?

All my writing life I have come across Rules. Of late, however, the prevalence of these, and worse, people happily quoting them as though they were The Only Way To Write, has become a bane. Let’s get a few things clear, especially for newbie writers out there who may be inadvertently lured in by these snippets of writing wisdom. Writing Rules are usually written by successful writers; often quoted out of context; offer no guarantees whatever (thank God!); and can easily lead a writer astray. You may be mistaken for thinking that if you follow Kurt Vonnegut’s Eight Rules for
Read More