Posts Tagged ‘writers’

Not for Computer Geeks, but they are welcome to read on!

Alliteration: the recurrence of stressed, initial consonant sounds.

Example from my childhood: Great big gobs of greasy grimy gopher guts.

(some writers, including me, would include initial unstressed consonants) Military maneuvers manipulate us.

Consonance: the repetition of consonants that are close together.

Example: Animals named Sam are clammy.

Sibilance: A consonance that uses sibilants (S, Sh, Z, ZH) –

Example: Zack’s uncertain, sad milkshake.

A good writer will utilize consonants—this is just some ideas to jog your imagination. Make your own rules, but let your ear guide you. Some people think of these as devices for poetry or children’s writing, but great writers have always employed them.

Have fun finding forms of your own!

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Draw the reader in. Readers need to identify-with/love/relate-to your character. Then they will keep reading to find out what happens to the character.

What’s your character’s name? Names are important. A name must ring true to your character without drawing attention from the story. With children, be aware of name styles. If your character is 5, some names are no longer in vogue.

What’s your character look like? Size, age, hair, health issues etc. are vital to give the reader a mental image.

How does your character speak? Slowly, bass/treble, formal, uneducated etc. Accent is important, but just give the readers hints about the dialect or slang.

How does your character behave? Emotional, mental, & anger states are important, if only to give the character reasons for their behavior.

How about clothes? Don’t ignore clothes/lack of clothes, as they can give the reader an idea of the character’s appearance.

Gives us the specifics. Giving your character specific interests/likes/dislikes personalizes them, makes then unique.

You must eat. What/where/when does your character like to or have to eat. Food can be regional or it can reflect a child’s whims.

Location? Where your character lives or visits can be important to the story line.

What’s your character’s past? Even if you don’t include the backstory in the manuscript, it can be important to the plot.

Put it together. Once you have built your character, write his/her story.


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  1. Clichés are old hat

Perhaps in dialogue, otherwise avoid them. Instead find metaphors, similes, etc.
2. Writing dialogue that sounds like it’s written

Listen to people speaking, write what you hear. Read it aloud & change it until it sounds like speech.

  1. Hurrying that plot (are we there yet?)

Find that sweet spot between writing too much & boring your readers, or ending the plot too soon, frustrating & mystifying readers. Pantsers plot as they write, outliners know in advance where their plot is headed.

  1. Not making the ending (and beginning) authentic & exciting

Waking up from a dream at the end is one example of a way to cheat or trick the reader. IThe ending must be unexpected yet necessary to your plot & story arc. I.e. the ending should be a surprise yet feel as if it was the only ending possible.

  1. Keeping your characters consistent

A character must make choices appropriate to the traits you gave them, or your readers will be confused. Point of view is an important consideration—first-person can help you get deeper into a character’s motivations, but a close third person can also work.

  1. Not varying sentence structure

Don’t make every sentence subject/verb/direct-object. Imperatives. Incomplete sentences. Interrogative sentences. Sentences with inverted word order. Complex. Compound. Complex/compound. Cumulative sentences. This is especially important when revising.

  1. Failing to trust the reader’s intelligence

Learn how much to tell the reader. Too much info can be as bad as not enough. And don’t talk down to the reader no matter what age the reader is. Allow the reader to develop connections to you and your writing.

  1. Changing the time & place without good reason

Only change the setting, time & place, if it furthers your story. Frequent changes can impair story flow & lose the reader.

  1. Being lazy

Do your research, double-check even if writing about what you “know.” Use reliable sources!

  1. Forgetting who your audience is

Know who you’re writing for, both genre & age group. For example, if writing romance, don’t write for the mystery buff. Write a& win-over the romance readers. When writing for children, they don’t like to read about main characters younger or much older than them.

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2017 Green River Writers Writing Contest!

The 2017 Green River Writers Contest is now open for entries. $1700 in cash prizes: 2 Grand Prize categories plus 13 poetry & prose categories. Break out the pen, the pencil, the keyboard. Craft your best poem, pull together that first chapter of the next great novel, document the last family holiday in an entertaining creative narrative, and send them all to this year’s contest.

All entries must be postmarked by September 30, 2017. http://www.greenriverwriters.org/about.html

I am the contest chairman. We are a non-profit group.



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Seven W’s for a novel’s beginning:

WHO is the main character: Bring the main character out ASAP. Starting with a secondary character confuses readers.

What does the character WANT: Problem, goal, or conflict (with oneself, outside world, nature).

WHEN does your story take place: If in the present time, is often unnecessary. If not the present, hints are usually enough.

WHERE does your story take place: The reader needs to know where, but hints are sometimes enough. “Farmer Jones” tells the reader it’s on a farm.

WHAT is the story’s tone & what obstacles does the character face: Funny, serious, sad, etc. Word selection & rhythm are important. Make the main character suffer until the climax.

WHY the character does what they do: The main character reacts for certain reasons, possibly back story the reader never sees.

WOW! Hook the reader!

Finishing a novel: Seven plot points for the story arc

GOALS: What the main character wants to achieve.

OBSTACLES: Hurdles to overcome or to make the main character suffer.

MOTIVATION: Why does the main character want/need it? Or not want/need it?

FEARS: What fears must the main character overcome? Or live with?

STAKES: What if the main character doesn’t get their wishes? Do the stakes get higher?

REWARDS: If the main character gets what they want, how does it affect them?

BLACK MOMENT: Toward the end of the story arc, the main character should have a crisis of faith that causes them to give up all hope. (just before the solution appears)

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The June Louisville SCBWI Chit Chatters Social is Today!

Anyone from Kentucky, Tennessee, and surrounding states is welcome.

Monday, June 5, 6 to 8 pm. No RSVP required.

The first hour will be for socializing, the second hour for optional critiques. Writers can read for three minutes. Illustrators are always welcome.

Barnes & Noble’s Café, 801 South Hurstbourne Parkway, 1 mile north of I-64, on the right. This is NOT the Paddock Shopping Center B&N.
You do not need to be an SCBWI member to attend. For more information, contact Charles Suddeth csuddeth@iglou.com  502-339-9349, c 502-649-9944.


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John Rollin Ridge, AKA Cheesquatalawny or Yellow Bird lived from March 19, 1827 – October 5, 1867. A member of the Cherokee Nation, he is considered the first Native American novelist. He was born in New Echota, now Rome, Georgia. The Life and Adventures of Joaquin Murieta, the Celebrated California Bandit was published in 1854. He was also a newspaperman and published poet.

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