Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Free Online Reads - Exciting New Chapters

Just to let everyone know, the free online reads featured on this blog has exiting new chapters. A New Beginning at Mokweni is heating up with Amy telling Luke about the baby she lost. That is not all happening, but you'll have to read it yourself to find out.

In The Bodywoman Sarah starts earning the excessive fee she is paid for protecting Ben. Dark forces intensify their efforts to harm her charge and Sarah needs to use skills she didn't know she possessed to fight them off, but Sarah's job is made more difficult by the the sparks flying between her and Ben. Again, much more is happening - you'll have to read for yourself.

Happy reading and feel free to comment on the reads - either on or on the blog.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Show - Don’t Tell - What Does It Mean

Any writer needs to get the reader involved in the story to the extent that all else fades away and the reader is transported into the story. The author must lure the reader into the fictive dream by the writer's ability to have the reader identify with the characters in the story. The reader must feel the emotions of the character - whether it is joy, anger, guilt, shame or passion. One way of keeping the reader in the fictive dream, is to show rather than tell.

According to James N Frey in his book How to Write Damn Good Fiction, 1994, a writer is showing when 'he or she is suggesting the sensuous detail that draws the reader into the fictive dream.' In plain language this boils to 'showing', what the character is feeling, smelling, hearing, seeing, tasting and touching.

An example of telling might look like this:

He walked into a room full of strangers.

Showing might look like this:

The copper handle of the door froze his fingers. The door creaked open and all laughter and conversation stopped. Perfume and smoke drifted up his nostrils as he searched the faces of the women in cocktail dresses. He recognized none of the painted faces and shoved his hands into his pants pockets.

This might not be the best example, but you should get the idea. The second example contains sensory detail - feel (froze), sound (creaked, laughter), smell (perfume and smoke), sight (painted faces) and emotion (awkwardness - hands in pockets).

Being a novice at this myself, I hope I offered some insight into this problem we all have. Above all - KEEP WRITING!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Learning How to Write - Books on Writing Skills

If you do a search on Google or Yahoo for tips on how to write a novel, the volume of results will render you speechless. The novice might find the selection of a good book to start with, a daunting task. Just writing down your story is not enough. You need to make people want to read your book and once they start reading, to keep on reading until the end. If you are not born with a natural writing talent, like me, you will need all the help you can get.

The consumer and would-be novelist are spoilt for choice by the numerous printed titles on the market. Books such as-

  • The Art of Dramatic Writing by Lajos Egri
  • Writing Novels that Sell by Jack m. Bickman
  • The Craft of Fiction by Raymond C. Knott
  • Professional Fiction Writing by Jean Z Owen
  • The Basic Formulas of Fiction by William Foster-Harris
  • How to Write Damn Good Fiction by James N Frey

Offer the reader insights into the mind of the editors and prospective readers. Writing workshops all over the world use these books and although some were first published as early as 1946, the basic concepts still hold true. All of these books will offer the inexperienced and even the experienced writer new insights into storytelling and the craft of writing fiction.

Personally, I prefer the books by James N Frey. He wrote a range of books on the subject of writing fiction and his practical, no - frills approach makes his arguments easy to follow. He uses plain language to explain concepts like creating the fictive dream, creating suspense, using memorable characters amongst others. Through all the practical tips and guidance, one important factor shines through in all these guides on writing. You cannot be a good writer if you do not write often. Writers need to practice and practice and practice. Good writing skills require dedication and perseverance.

So whatever you do - KEEP WRITING.