Contrary to popular belief, writing a book isn’t just sitting, staring at a computer screen, spewing out words and hoping they’ll magically mold into some sort of story. Oh, but wouldn’t that be wonderful? Those little black letters and words could climb and squirm their way into some semblance of order until you have a coherent story, worthy of an audience! But, alas, until someone creates this wonderful piece of technology, writing a book is quite the contrary. It requires skill, patience, perseverance, and knowledge. Part of that knowledge comes from understanding your craft. There are many elements that go into writing a book, some of which might seem a little more elusive than others. Characters need to be carefully crafted, worlds must be skillfully created, and the plot must carry through the entire story. While those are some great starting points, there are even more things to consider—voice, characterizations, descriptions, showing the story to your reader through the character’s eyes, and engaging your audience. Easy peasy.
Characterization: The last thing you want is a cardboard cutout for a main character. Honestly, that’s just flat, boring, and stiff. Unless that’s your point, then go for it…? Maybe. Otherwise, you’ll need to make your character engaging and someone for your readers to care about and root for. And when introducing other characters, point out physical traits and characteristics other than eyes and hair color. Think about the way they walk or how their hair falls into their face when they tip their head or how, no matter how many times this character bathes, they always smell like cheese. I like cheese. Swiss is my favorite.
- Character Lessons from Doctor Who (MUF post)
- The Impacts of Books We Love (MUF post)
- Writing Corner-Characterization
- The Secrets of Characterization in Fiction
- The Name Game: Do All Your Character Names Sound the Same?
Grammar & Technique: I done gone and writ a book. Win I was dun, I even uzed spill check. It be a good book. Reel smart persons are going ta loved it.
- Wisdom from the Second Grade: Writers’ Tools (MUF post)
- How to write (or be) funny (MUF post)
- Passive Voice
Language: Once you’ve mastered grammar & technique, there are a lot of style choices to be made with language.
- NEW! Symbols & Subtext in Middle-Grade Novels (MUF Post)
- NEW! Subtext in MG (MUF Post)
- NEW! 120 Ways to Get a Character Moving (MUF Post)
- NEW! Finding Writing Inspiration Through the Five Senses (MUF Post)
Plot: It was midnight. A girl woke from a nightmare. About zombies. She cried. Her mother comforted her with milk and cookies. The end.
- Strengths and Weaknesses (MUF Post)
- Who’s the Boss of Your Writing? (MUF Post)
- Writing a Hot Plot
- Plotting Is Like a Jigsaw Puzzle
- Plotting with 3×5 cards
Show Don’t Tell: This is best described in a wonderful quote by Anton Chekhov— “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” Brrr….It’s cold outside. Oh, I mean I have goosebumps on my arms! Time for a sweater.
- How to Give Your Readers a Hand…and a Foot…and a Face… (MUF post)
- Daily Writing Tips-Show, Don’t Tell
- Quick and Dirty Tips-Show, Don’t Tell
Voice : This is really quite an elusive little thing that isn’t so little. Yeah, it’s kind of vital to the life of your story. Voice is your character’s unique way of speaking. It’s the way they tilt their head, laugh with a sweet little trill and narrate your entire manuscript. Voice takes practice, and once you get it, you’ll know it and so will your readers!
- Four Steps to Finding Your Ideal Writing Voice
- Ten Steps to Finding Your Writing Voice
- Voice Begins with Word Choices
World Building: Zombies are cool. That is all.
- NEW! Settings That Come Alive (MUF Post)
- I’ll catch up as soon as my Flux Capacitor is fixed… (MUF Post)
- Reading and Writing Boston (MUF Post)
* * * * *
Beginnings: Once upon a time. It was a dark and stormy night. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. They call me Ishmael.
- NEW! Hook Your Reader With a Terrific First Line (MUF Post)
- Making a Promise (MUF Post)
- Making a Great First Impression (MUF Post)
- The Real Beginning
Muddy Middles: Help! My feet are stuck in quick sand and I’m sinking! This story is going NO WHERE fast!
Wrapping It Up: And they all lived happily ever after. The end.
Books About Writing: Because you can never have too many!