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

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Novel Chapters: Does Size Matter?

In the process of writing my novel series, I began to realize that I was writing incredibly long chapters. Granted, I am still in the the beginning rough draft stage of my novel, but it got me to thinking. How long should chapters be in a novel? Is there a set length that should not be exceeded? Or a length considered too short? What is the acceptable length of an average chapter? I decided to do some research on this topic, and this is what I discovered.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What to do About Backstory

Backstory. It's the ugly red-headed step child that no one ever likes, but finds necessary to keep around. Like it or not, backstory can be very helpful in enriching a story and giving it depth that can't be done any other way. However, backstory also can be easily misused and become the anchor that pulls a story into a dark abyss of unreadable slush. This happens because backstory essentially stops the story cold. But don't fret, because there are a few things that can be done to help keep backstory from being said anchor.

The first rule of backstory... Only tell the reader what they need to know in that moment to understand the story. It isn't necessary to load a reader up with information that they don't need right away. Does the reader really need to know that the main character's father has been in a mental hospital for the last six years? Or that the main character's favorite team is the Red Sox? Or maybe the main character likes to wear cut off jeans and holey T-shirts every Saturday when he (or she) likes to go to their favorite local pub. Unless that information is necessary to the story right in that moment of the story, it should be come at a later time.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Truth About Flashbacks

This post is another result of one of Michael Knost classes. I do highly suggest his online classes to anyone who wants to take writing seriously. Check out his blog to find out more. Anyways, this most recent class I took was all about flashbacks (and backstory, but that's a different post). I found a few "light bulb" moments in the class that just had to share, but this post really is only the tip of the iceberg of what I learned.

The most important thing to remember... Flashbacks should not be used unless there is absolutely no other way the story can be told. Flashbacks carry a built-in disadvantage to even the best of written stories, because it stops the story. A flashback is about something that has already happened. It's over and done with so the flashback lacks immediacy.