Crossing GenresCrossing Genres in Writing More Like This
Every genre has core elements that make that genre that genre. In order to Cross Genres properly, you need to know each of your genre's distinctive elements and make them Equally Important in the story.
Simple, no? However...
One of the most common mistakes I've seen in every genre of fiction: IGNORANCE.
"Most of the common mistakes come with any writing that isn't so goodbad characters, bad plots, bad writing. The ones which are peculiar to alternate histories (fantasy and sci-fi) are bad research and bad extrapolation."
-- An Interview with Harry Turtledove --
How do you expect to cross genres properly if you don't even know the genres you're working with? Contrary to popular belief, even if you're writing pure Heroic Fantasy, just making it up as you go is NOT good enough!
On writing Heroic Fantasy
"The consequence of making that assumption is, inevita
The Subtle STATIC TRAITThe Subtle STATIC TRAIT in Writing More Like This
The Subtle STATIC TRAIT
Secret Weapon of the Clever Writer
The Static Trait is the small personal HABIT an individual character displays which reveals their personal Neurosis, their driving NEED, especially in stressful situations. This habitual or even ritual behavior acts as both their greatest source of trouble and the linchpin to their success. It's the individual character's "Accident Waiting to Happen".
The most obvious place to find visible Static Traits is in both Comedies and Tragedies. These stories (and movies) RELY on their characters' Static Traits to linchpin the plot.
What made Laurel and Hardy so funny, were the little neurotic habits -- the static traits -- that would appear under stressful situations. Abbot and Costello built whole routines on Bud Abbot's little twitchy responses. The climactic scene in every one of their movies involved Abbot in a panic attack. You spent half the movie going "Oh no! Don't! Don't! Don't!...AH! He did
10 Second Tip - Foreshadowing10 Second Tip - Foreshadowing in Writing More Like This
I hear the term 'foreshadowing' a lot. That's when you hint at stuff to come, right? So yeah, but how do I DO it?
Foreshadowing is when the opening scene of a story is a kind of nutshell prophecy for the whole story.
* In a Horror, this is when the originating Bad Thing happens.
* In a Mystery or Crime story, it's when the first victim is slain, and/or object (McGuffin) goes missing.
* In a Romance this is where the main character meets their soon-to-be lover for a fleeting but memorable moment.
* In a Sci-fi, this is where the ruling Theory is presented.
* In a Gothic, this is where the main character transforms into a monster for the first time.
This also reveals the Premise, or ruling argument that the story is trying to illustrate; what the story is trying to Prove.
The results of Revenge
The path of Ambition
The reality of Love
The sacrifices one mak
The NonVerbal ThesaurusThe NonVerbal Thesaurus in Writing More Like This
Not spoken > Body Language.
Latin thesaurus, treasury, from Greek thesauros.
n. pl. thesauri (-sôri) or thesauruses
1. A book of synonyms, often including related and contrasting words and antonyms.
2. A book of selected words or concepts, such as a specialized vocabulary of a particular field.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009.
Dialogue is VISUAL
-- Not just a bunch of words.
Watch the average conversation between two people. 90% of that conversation isn't in what's Spoken, it's in what they are DOING while they are speaking. It's in their Body Language. Body-language cues in your story alert the reader by SHOWING them what is going on in a character's head without Telling t
Writing for PROFITWriting for PROFIT in Writing More Like This
Writing for Profit
It's Not just an Adventure - It's a JOB.
Whoever told you that writing fiction for publication - for money - is supposed to be Artistic, Fun, or Easy -- LIED.
Writing may look artistic, and creative writing certainly is artistic (that's why they call it Creative Writing,) but writing for a living; writing for publication with the intent to get paid on a regular basis is NOT artistic, it's NOT always fun, and it certainly is NOT easy.
Writing for publication is WORK. Sure, some of it is fun, but the bulk of it is mind-bending, eye-straining work. Don't get me wrong, creativity is part of the job of writing for a living, but if you think us professional writers turn on "the Creative Muse" at 8 AM and shut her back off again at 5:30 PM then you are missing the point entirely.
The Road to publication is paved with glamorous Half-Truths.
Half-Truth: "If you write it
Writing ANGSTWriting ANGST in Writing More Like This
One way to add excitement to your story is by adding lots of bad-guys, also known as EXTERNAL Conflict. Another way is by adding INTERNAL Conflict, more commonly known as Angst.
I'm sure most of you have noticed by now that most movie characters, and far too many book characters, are One-Dimensional. They do stuff, but they don't face any personality issues: a hang-up, a fear, paranoia, a moral code, a love interest, a strong dislike Or worse, they do have all these things, but they never really affect the story.
There's a Plot Arc, things happen, but no Character Arc. The things that happen don't affect the characters emotionally.
Where's the ANGST?
Answer these two questions:
1. What is your character's biggest character flaw?
(Think: 7 Deadly Sins.)
Writing DESCRIPTIONWriting DESCRIPTION in Writing More Like This
Tricks for Writing DESCRIPTION
------------- Original Message -----------
"I think the biggest problem I have is lack of detail. I can see things in my head, but other than the general surroundings, I'm always too intent on what my characters are thinking, or doing, or about to do to remember to add the details necessary to paint a really clear picture of where they are and their environment." -- Wanna Rite Reel Gud
The way to deal with that is by writing what you can. When you're done, go back and put in all the rest. Also, in situations like this, a beta-reader is your best bet at seeing where you skipped something.
As for What to describe and How Much to describe
Getting the IMAGE on Paper
Avoid Simple Nouns:
- Use a Specific Noun rather than a simple and vague noun to automatically pop in description.
Instead of: the door, the car, the tree, the house, the sword, the robe, the hat...
Write: the French doors, the
Story Writing for BEGINNERSStory Writing for BEGINNERS in Writing More Like This
I want to write a story. I have a couple of ideas, but no idea what to do with them, or even how to begin! Help?!
-- Newbie Writer
So when you wanna write a story, where do you begin? With your PASSION!
Write what you KNOW & LOVE
What do you KNOW, really? What do you love to Do, to Study, to Think About, to Talk About...? Whether it's cave-diving, model trains, skate-boarding, sewing, horses, mythology, ghost legends, or particle physics your passion is where you will find your most unique and powerful work.
Make a list of all the things you know well and all the things you've done -- seriously! Mythology, history, any retail jobs you might have had -- anything you might have seen, done, or studied.
Sticking with your passions and your personal experiences also helps you make fewer MISTAKES.
Case in point, someone who has never kissed isn't going to be able to write a kissing scene as well as someone who Has. Worst of all,
An Unkindness of COMMASAn Unkindness of COMMAS in Writing More Like This
I SUCK at commas big-time. I tend to pull a "Mark Twain"; I sprinkle them in wherever to break up the monotony of the sentence. This article is my attempt to hammer the rules into my brain.
An Unkindness of COMMAS
What the heck are Commas for, anyway?
Besides abusing the sanity of the writer, the comma exists to help readers organize information in a sentence. It makes all the stuff the author is trying to say easier to swallow. Without them, sentence bits and pieces collide into one another causing confusion; rather like a train-wreck, though not nearly as exciting.
Just in case you'd like to know who made up all these comma rules, I got most of them from Strunk & White's "Elements of Style" the grammar handbook used by every publishing house in America, and a few overseas. The rest came from my editors.
To get a good idea of how commas work, let's take a look at what they are supposed to do -- and some major
GMC - SIMPLIFIEDGMC - SIMPLIFIED in Writing More Like This
"I am I Need I Desire "
Goal, Motivation & Conflict - SIMPLIFIED
Goal, Motivation and Conflict seems to be the BIG MYSTERY of fiction writing. Everyone says that they're essential to good writing and they're right, they are. Absolutely. But this stuff can be a little confusing.
Let's begin at the beginning
-- What are all these things and why do stories need them?
Goal is what your character THINKS they are after.
Motivation is what makes them WANT to go after it.
Conflict is what Gets In Their Way.
-- Internal Conflict being ANGST or Drama.
-- External Conflict being the PLOT or Events.
The Plot (Events) Arc is the stuff that happens to the characters the plotline. There are 5 basic stages in a Plot Arc:
1 - Inciting Event
2 - Challenge
3 - Crisis/Reversal
4 - Ordeal
5 - Confrontation
The Character (Drama) Arc is the complimentary (or contrary) stage of Ang