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The Link Between Your Story’s First Plot Point and Third Plot Point 

If you are a plotter (a writer that likes to work on your plot usually via an outline before you start writing), or a plotter once the whole thing is written (using the exercise to make your story as strong as it can be), then this post, along with the others that K.M. Wieland has written (or will write) will be very helpful.

I liked I liked her line: The First Plot Point may take the protagonist to a new place, but the Third Plot Point makes him into a new person.

K.M also has a great archive of movie and some book plot points that can help you when you’re struggling with your own manuscript.

Thanks K.M.!

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Deepen your understanding of story structure by examining the parallel functions of the First Plot Point and the Third Plot Point.

Source: The Link Between Your Story’s First Plot Point and Third Plot Point – Helping Writers Become Authors

Characterization Through Dialogue

This is something that I see debated often and probably will continue to be a topic of discussion; I think because there isn’t any one right answer. Odd characters are fun to write so writers like to create them. And odd character often speak in odd ways. Or if you’re trying to portray a certain group or character by their/the character’s speech pattern, trying to make them stand out, dialogue is one way to do that.

But as K.M. Weiland notes in the post below, if you use slang, or even odd speech ticks, I agree, that a little goes a long way. Part of the reason for this is you don’t want the reader to stop and have to really look at a word(s) to try and interpret what you’re trying to say. Text should flow easily through the readers mind. An odd word here and there probably isn’t an issue, but if you make the reader stop too often, they may decide they need to unload the dishwasher instead of continuing to read your book!

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Authors need to get the nuances of slang in dialogue right, because smart readers will always recognize phony speech patterns.

Source: Slang in Dialogue: Use It Sparingly – Helping Writers Become Authors

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11 Secrets to Writing an Effective Character Description 

I haven’t posted in a while. I think covid is having more of an effect on me than I thought. There are a few things in my life that I’m having trouble doing – blogging is one of them. Unfortunately, exercising is another, along with a desire to write. But I saw this post and thought I’d share Rebecca McClanahan’s thoughts on character development. It’s an old post, but I don’t think character development has changed that much. Rebecca makes some good points.

Hope you’re writing life is fairing better than mine in these strange times.

Take care!

Christine
(p.s. I would change one word in the Carole Stivers quote – I would use critique vs criticism. I don’t think criticizing a work in progress is helpful to anyone.)

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11 secrets to keep in mind as you breathe life into your characters through effective character description, including physical and emotional description.

Source: 11 Secrets to Writing an Effective Character Description – Writer’s Digest

12 Ways to Be an Invisible Writer 

Are you an “invisible writer”?

What does it mean to be invisible as you write? Or more accurately, as the post notes, what does it mean to be invisible as you edit. Don’t worry about these 12 things as your creating your story. It is something to look at once you’re done with your first draft, during the rewrite process. Actually, farther in on the rewrite process.

When I’m editing a client’s manuscript, this is something I see fairly often and a surefire thing to diminish the reader experience. I get push-back sometimes when I make suggests to change some of these things, and I can’t make someone make a manuscript change that they don’t want to make. I know sometimes it feels like you have to explain everything to the reader – to make sure they understand – but most times being less obvious is better. (Like, less is more.) Readers like to figure things out on their own. I know I do.

Of course, It’s easier to see when I haven’t written the piece myself. Harder for me to see in my own writing – which is another reason to always have someone else edit your story, someone who knows what to look for such as an editor or another writer.

Take a look at Tim Storms 12 things…

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Once the author becomes visible, the enchantment of the story dissolves. These 12 things can ruin the illusion for the reader. Become an invisible writer.

Source: 12 Ways to Be an Invisible Writer | Craft Articles

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Your Writing Community 

from mythic scribes

In Jane Friedman’s blog, Susan DeFreitas writes a guest post on the advantages of a writing community to spur your writing and support you when you need it most. I think even more so, a writing community makes you a better writer, especially if you’re able to connect with a critique group of good writers. Remember, you’ll only be as good as the best writer in your group, so choose your group wisely.

Do your critique members have a published book(s)? How well does that book(s) do in the reviews? Of course, your critique mates don’t all have to be published authors, but someone who has made it through the whole process (traditional or self-publishing, it matters not) will know more about the craft than someone who hasn’t.

And you’ll always learn something by reading and commenting on someone else’s work, in addition to reading the comments of other on that same piece.

And if you join a group that doesn’t seem to be working for you, politely bow out. You’ll be doing everyone a favor. No one does good work if they don’t want to be somewhere.

But where to find a critique group?

Ask around, of course. Look on facebook in your area. Join online writing groups and ask if anyone has an opening in their critique group. Ask on Linkedin writers groups. Ask at writing conferences (when those are a thing again – Ug!). I’m sure there are Instagram writers groups too, though I’m not on Instagram so I have no clue. I know you can find writers on twitter. Most of my writing friends are on twitter. I would suggest looking for a group that is writing in your genre, but maybe that is obvious.

Take a look at Susan’s post and she what wisdom she has to share.

Hang in there, everyone!

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Don’t feel like you have to go it alone—others are on the same journey, ready to offer encouragement and applaud your hard-earned victories.

Source: Developing a Writing Practice, Part 2: Community | Jane Friedman 

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How to Write Dialogue That Dazzles Your Readers

The fastest way to improve your story is to write dialogue that dazzles. How? Give each character an opposing goal, and stick to “said.”

These are 2 of the 6 strategies Joslyn Chase writes about in her post about dialogue.

Chase makes good points in her post and I would add, formatting dialogue in a variety of ways also makes reading a more interesting experience. For example, add the dialogue/attribution tag before the sentence or in the middle of a couple of sentences, as well as at the end.

And don’t forget, you only need an attribution (or dialogue) tag, if the reader won’t know who’s talking.

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Source: How to Write Dialogue That Dazzles Your Readers

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Writing Advice: Zen in the Art of Writing – Ray Bradbury -Part 1.

I had no idea Ray Bradbury was still alive, let alone that he wrote a book on writing. It is not on my list. Thanks Tea and Biscut!

‘Fahrenheit 451’ by Ray Bradbury is a classic book that you always find on those ‘100 books to read before you die’ lists. It’s a book that everyone has heard of and y…

Source: Writing Advice: Zen in the Art of Writing – Ray Bradbury -Part 1. – A Cup Of Tea And A Biscuit

16 Military Phrases and Cliches That Screenwriters/Book writers Need to Stop Using 

Ken Miyamoto knows screenplays so you can be sure he knows what he’s talking about related to his post on writing military cliches. Even though he’s talking about writing for film (or TV), the same would go for fiction.

So if you write military based fiction, take a gander at Ken’s post.

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Ken Miyamoto lists military phrases and cliches that screenwriters should avoid to create a more authentic military-driven screenplay.

Source: 16 Military Phrases and Cliches That Screenwriters Need to Stop Using – ScreenCraft

Writing Tip: Conflict

I’m working with a client that has written a story – the pantser method – that now needs some plotting work. This is not a bad way to write. I write this way most of the time. It is a slower way to write but if, like this writer – who is retired, you aren’t particularly in a hurry, it’s a fine way to write. I’m not about to tell anyone how to write.

But the story, now done, does need plotting work to pull the story theme together in a compelling way. I was reading a post on plotting vs panting on Valerie Biel’s wonderful writer’s site and came across this wonderful tip by Deeanne Gist.  It is a very helpful tip when taking a second look at your story, or planning it out for the first time (whatever way floats your boat). Take a look:

8 Mundane Elements That Slow Down Your Story 

Image result for images of walking slow

Jane Friedman has picked a few writing tips from Jordon Rosenfeld’s book “How to Write a Page Turner” that aren’t the usual: watch out for adverbs, passive voice, flowery dialogue tags… Items that might slow down your story!

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Realism has its role, but don’t let it bog down your novel. Heed the advice of bestselling author Jordan Rosenfeld about pitfalls that can bore your reader.

Source: 8 Mundane Elements You Should Cut From Your Story | Jane Friedman