Quick Tips from the Writing Notes

Hopefully these one-liners I’ve collected on the craft of writing will help you, and perhaps not just in writing.

  • DON’T TAKE YOURSELF TOO SERIOUSLY
  • Be true to your I.Q.
  • Embrace idiosyncrasies
  • Make them laugh and/or make them cry
  • “…a lot of times if you’re finding that you’re having to describe things with a lot of adverbs, find a stronger verb instead” – CJ Lyons interview
  • Go beyond the five senses
  • Forget about being pretty
  • Don’t fall into stereotypes
  • Verbs are the foot soldiers of action-based description”

 

A Recent Writing Exercise: Beach Prompt

Some time ago I pulled this prompt from Writer’s Digest University’s “Showing Character Emotion“. As an exercise I recently wrote a snippet in response.  It resonates with me because of the beach experiences of my childhood. The snippet is in draft form; I’ll be returning at some point to polish it by convey more emotion, directly and indirectly.

“Create a character who’s favorite place is the beach. Describe her thoughts as she stands on the sand and looks out at the ocean; use specific, imaginative, and active verbs.”

My response:
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What’s in My Notes on Writing?

I keep a separate Word file that I reference often when I write, especially when revising.  It contains a rather eclectic mix: scene checklists, story structure advice, lists of conjunctions, and much more that I would like to remember.  I do add endnotes for the sources of most of the information.

Here’s the current Table of Contents:

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The arguments people in Christian circles propose for not pledging allegiance to our flag and our country are specious.

Some talk of divided loyalties – how pledging allegiance to the flag and country has us impossibly serving two masters.

Others talk about allegiance being contrary to our faith in Christ, defining it as acting out one’s duties to his lord, as loyalty and faithfulness, as constant commitment to further its object’s good name and cause.

Still others object as meaningless the phrase “Under God” or pledging to an inanimate object (the flag).

All three arguments are all somewhat plausible – but wrong.

Dialogue Does More Than You Know

Here’s a few tidbits to consider.  Dialogue can

  • Be a vehicle for character
  • Help draw relationships
  • Reveal tensions
  • Create atmosphere
  • Help the reader read between the lines
  • Illustrate underlying emotions
  • Drive the plot forward

I will be pondering the above as I review dialogue in my own writing.

From Writing a Scene with Good Dialogue and Narration by Helga Schier, PhD over on Writer’s Digest.