Tip1: “My first rule was given to me by TH White, author of The Sword in the Stone and other Arthurian fantasies and was: Read. Read everything you can lay your hands on. I always advise people who want to write a fantasy or science fiction or romance to stop reading everything in those genres and start reading everything else from Bunyan to Byatt.” — Michael Moorcock
Tip 2: “Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.” — Zadie Smith
Tip 3: “Introduce your main characters and themes in the first third of your novel. If you are writing a plot-driven genre novel make sure all your major themes/plot elements are introduced in the first third, which you can call the introduction. Develop your themes and characters in your second third, the development. Resolve your themes, mysteries and so on in the final third, the resolution.” — Michael Moorcock
Tip 4: “In the planning stage of a book, don’t plan the ending. It has to be earned by all that will go before it.” — Rose Tremain
Tip 5: “Always carry a note-book. And I mean always. The short-term memory only retains information for three minutes; unless it is committed to paper you can lose an idea for ever.” — Will Self
Tip 6: “It’s doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction.” — Jonathan Franzen
“Work on a computer that is disconnected from the internet.” — Zadie Smith
Tip 7: “Interesting verbs are seldom very interesting.” — Jonathan Franzen
Tip 8: “Read it aloud to yourself because that’s the only way to be sure the rhythms of the sentences are OK (prose rhythms are too complex and subtle to be thought out—they can be got right only by ear).” — Diana Athill
Tip 9: “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” – Anton Chekhov
Tip 10: “Listen to the criticisms and preferences of your trusted ‘first readers.'” — Rose Tremain
Tip 11: “Fiction that isn’t an author’s personal adventure into the frightening or the unknown isn’t worth writing for anything but money.” — Jonathan Franzen
Tip 12: “Don’t panic. Midway through writing a novel, I have regularly experienced moments of bowel-curdling terror, as I contemplate the drivel on the screen before me and see beyond it, in quick succession, the derisive reviews, the friends’ embarrassment, the failing career, the dwindling income, the repossessed house, the divorce . . . Working doggedly on through crises like these, however, has always got me there in the end. Leaving the desk for a while can help. Talking the problem through can help me recall what I was trying to achieve before I got stuck. Going for a long walk almost always gets me thinking about my manuscript in a slightly new way. And if all else fails, there’s prayer. St Francis de Sales, the patron saint of writers, has often helped me out in a crisis. If you want to spread your net more widely, you could try appealing to Calliope, the muse of epic poetry, too.” — Sarah Waters
Tip 13: “The writing life is essentially one of solitary confinement – if you can’t deal with this you needn’t apply.” — Will Self
Tip 14: “Be your own editor/critic. Sympathetic but merciless!” — Joyce Carol Oates
Tip 15: “The reader is a friend, not an adversary, not a spectator.” — Jonathan Franzen
Tip 16: “Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. If you have the knack of playing with exclaimers the way Tom Wolfe does, you can throw them in by the handful.” — Elmore Leonard
Tip 17: “Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.” — Neil Gaiman
Tip 18: “You know that sickening feeling of inadequacy and over-exposure you feel when you look upon your own empurpled prose? Relax into the awareness that this ghastly sensation will never, ever leave you, no matter how successful and publicly lauded you become. It is intrinsic to the real business of writing and should be cherished.” — Will Self
Tip 19: “The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.” — Neil Gaiman
Tip 20: “The nearest I have to a rule is a Post-it on the wall in front of my desk saying ‘Faire et se taire’ (Flaubert), which I translate for myself as ‘Shut up and get on with it.’” — Helen Simpson
Setting is such a crucial piece of a story. In order to have a great story, a writer must not only have dynamic characters, but a setting to put these characters in. All stories have some sort of setting, whether it is in an imaginary land full of mythical creatures or takes place during the 1800s. Setting helps paint a picture for the reader and initiates the main backdrop and mood for a story.
Setting is broadly defined as the location of the plot or where an event takes place. Setting is both the time and geographic location within a narrative or work of fiction. This includes region, geography, climate, buildings, and interiors.
Selecting an appropriate setting for your story must go beyond just you liking it. The behavior of fictional characters often depends on their environment. Setting sets the stage for what happens to your characters. Why does the character need to be there? What part does it play in your character’s journey or their past? Characters need to interact with the setting.
When building your setting, don’t do it all at once. World building should happen over the course of your entire novel, layered into every scene. The goal is to create a well-designed background for your characters without overwhelming the scene or interrupting the story. Carefully balance introducing readers to your world while maintaining plot. Let the setting unfold as the characters move through the scene. Build in elements of weather, lighting, the season, and time. A good rule of thumb is not to spend more than 3-4 paragraphs on setting at a time. Start with the bigger picture then zoom in on the details. Don’t try to include every tiny detail in your description. Focus on things your characters would notice, keeping in mind that different characters will see and interact with the scenery in different ways.
Help the reader picture themselves in the story. Include different senses when describing the setting. In real life, we explore and experience our surroundings through our senses. Through our experiences, we respond with an emotional reaction. Your characters need to do the same.
Utilize the internet and do research. Look up maps, tourist information, and photos of specific places you’d like to include in your setting. Gather information and use some of it when writing your description. If you are able, visit these places in person. It can add depth and flair to your writing.
For more information on setting, see the links below.
Found this and had to share. Can anyone relate to any of these?
I saw this and had to share.
I’m a lot like writer A, yet my characters always surprise me and sometimes say or do things I don’t expect them to.
Which type of writer are you?
This week’s second author spotlight shines on someone I hold near and dear to my heart. Young Adult author and book designer, Rachael Ritchey.
Rachael is a writer and book designer for indie authors. She mainly writes YA fantasy fiction, but you can find her dabbling in scifi and contemporary genres too. She has a passion for beautiful books, so book cover and interior designing are high on her list of enjoyable hobbies. When she’s not writing, working on design, spending time with her four kids and husband, homeschooling her youngest, reading a book, or watching movies, Rachael can be found enjoying one of the many beautiful lakes of the Inland Northwest or hiking in the woods of Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho.
Chronicles of the Twelve Realms
Magic is long dead in the Twelve Realms. At least this is what most believed until an innocent young woman becomes the obsession of a man who defies time by stealing the only thing that sustains his life: true beauty.
Princess Caityn is more than a pretty face. Her beauty runs soul deep, and because of this, her life is priceless to the thief. On the eve of her wedding to the high prince, Caityn is attacked. The thief’s powerful dark magic leaves her a wretched hag with an unrecognizable, shriveled soul.
Stories of old. A quest. Willing sacrifice. These are all that can save her, but doubt is a powerful weapon, and the thief knows it well. He will stop at nothing to keep the prince from undoing the curse.
Other books in Chronicles of the Twelve Realms
Ismene has given up her freedom to become wife to the future king of Taisce, all for the sake of her family. She never expected to find love within the castle walls. But when the corruption of esteemed leaders at court erupts into a full-blown coup, Ismene is forced to choose between forfeiting her duty at the expense of the prince’s life or die with him.
Rachael also designs book covers, and let me tell you, her work is AMAZING! Check out her Book Design Services
As writers, we’re always looking for tips to improve our craft. Here are 5 simple tips that can give your writing that extra punch.
- Know your character’s unique view. How does he or she interact with the world around them? Write through that lens.
- You don’t need as many dialogue tags you think.
- Don’t forget visceral reactions. Readers want to feel your character’s emotions.
- Use figurative language.
- Read. The more you read, the better writer you become.
If you’re struggling to get started or need that extra push to get through a tricky scene, this might be helpful.
You can read the full article at NowNovel.com