Quote of the Week

Quote of the week: “If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.” - Toni Morrison

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Context 24: Why Conventions are so Important

Denise Wyant, Me, Lesley Conner and Nora Azzi
Anyone who is serious about writing should be serious about attending conventions, especially writing conventions. I've gone to several and plan on expanding to more. This time around I went with three other writing friends of mine to Columbus, Ohio to attend Context 24, which is a convention for horror, science fiction, and fantasy writers. The best part is you don't even have to be into the horror, science fiction or fantasy genres to get something out of this convention, because it's main goal is to appeal to the writer.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The First Draft: A Necessary Evil

Have you ever taken a look at a first draft of a story and said "What a piece of crap?" It happens to me all the time. It's really quite depressing when you read through the story and think "This is nothing like what I was trying to go for" or  "There's so many  errors and mistakes I'll never get it to turn out the way it needs to."  When coming to these types of low points in writing, it is important to remember that it's all part of the writing process. First drafts are suppose to be crappy. The most important thing is getting the story on paper anyway that you can. Once it's there then it will be possible to go back and make changes.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Vampires: Can An Original Story Be Told?

By: Denise Wyant

So you want to write about vampires… But you’re wondering if it is still possible – isn’t the market all ready inundated with vamps?

Yes, I’ve seen the movies and merchandising. Edward and Jacob are everywhere. Just wait until Breaking Dawn is released. More vampire mania. So, to answer the question at hand (remember the answer is coming from someone who takes being told “no” as a challenge): yes, you can still write about them. It’s not going to be easy, and there are many who may need a break from vamps. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done successfully. The key is simple; although, it may be easier said than done. Drum roll please…you need to make the story yours. Find a unique twist and exploit it. Most importantly, do your homework and your research.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Description Part 3: The Secret to Good Description

I’ve already discussed the 3 Elements of Good Description and the 6 Pitfalls of Description, but I saved the best for last. What is the true secret to good description? Is there the one thing that will open the door to allow a writer to touch the reader and dive them into the wonders of a story? The answer is yes and that one thing is word choice.

The word or words chosen to describe something can make all the difference in the world. It can influence the reader’s mood and change the entire context of a sentence, paragraph, and even the characteristics of a character.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Description Part 2: 6 Pitfalls of Description

It has already been determined some of the positive elements of good description (see Description Part 1: 3 Elements of Good Description), but there are some pitfalls of description to be aware of as well. Here a 6 to keep in mind.

1. Never use description that will serve the character, instead use description that will serve the story. That means don’t throw in description for the sake of just having it. If the description doesn’t enhance or move the story forward then cut it out. It will only serve to be a distraction.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Description Part 1: 3 Elements of Good Description

Description allows the reader to visualize the people, places, settings and objects in your story. Description is important because good, effective description paints a vivid picture that immerses the reader into your story, which allows for a deeper experience for the reader. A well written description moves the story forward and adds to characterization. There are 3 main elements of good description.

1. Specific well written detail- Be specific about what you want to say. Less is more, so find the right word or words to show detail. Stay away from ambiguous descriptions like suddenly, look, like, good. These words aren't giving you the biggest bang for your buck. (For more about words to avoid check out Grammar Guru: Words to Avoid.) Also go a little deeper and use sensory detail. The use of sensory detail detail is a key element in good description. Try to use all when writing; sight, sound, smell, touch and taste.

Note: Do not rely too heavily on sight itself, instead try to use some of the other four for variety and depth.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Discipline of Writing

I have found that there are times that it is harder to write than others. It seems that everything else comes first or a minor distraction is enough to pull me away from the task at hand. A lot of times what it simply boils down to is not enough discipline. What do I mean about that?

Humans are creatures that work best on a reward system. Look at children. A parent rewards a child for doing something good and punishes them for doing something wrong or not doing something when it should be done. A similar approach should be taken by adults. Adults need that check and balance to get them to where they need to go. It's a basic form of motivation, but even more than that. It's holding oneself accountable.