Discuss: Writing Process and Regiment

There’s an idea floating around out there in the literary community that suggests a strict, x number of words milestone per day to qualify one as a real writer. I’ve talked before about my indifference to structure; if some preparation or plan works for you I figure there’s no reason to call in the chaos. But maybe this advice isn’t appropriate. Maybe there is room for a writer to change his or her habits even if the current writing process and regiment appear to work just fine. The question to ask oneself: Are my current methods actually working? More often than…

Frame Narrative Fiction

As a lover of fantasy I’m often drawn to stories built on a foundation of lore, myth, and history. If a fantasy is good, I feel immersed and intrigued. The story should feel as though it operates within a functional, developed environment. To accomplish this, many authors write lore and legend to give their fantasy world some context. Some allow the readers to experience this lore; some choose to keep it a secret. I work with the former idea. What is the best way to import lore and legend into your fantasy story? Fool around with the frame narrative. The Story Within…

Made for Television: Why Some Books Translate

George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series is a powerhouse. Even stronger, and perhaps more popular, is the book series’ television counterpart. In light of the fourth season, which premieres tonight at 9 PM EST, I’m inclined to think about the characteristics of books that translate well on television and film. Three factors, it seems, turn the tides for these literary dynamos. A Long & Large Series What books that don’t appear on television may lack is length and size. Notice I distinguish between the two. I say length in reference to the number of books in…

Sacrificing Audience For Description

While discussing “An Outpost of Progress” by Joseph Conrad with my students, I learned that a number of them disliked the story solely based on its length and “wordiness”. The latter comment caught me off guard; I don’t perceive Conrad as wordy at all. When I think about it, however, it seems that my students (and others I’m sure) believe the quantity of words is just as important as the quality. I asked a particular student “What do you mean by ‘wordy’?” He verified my suspicion. With the modern reader being so well adapted to the quick concise content and copy…

Writing Tech Part 2: Scrivener

In my last post, I discussed Literature and Latte’s quick note taking software for writers–Scapple. Now it’s time for Scrivener. Scrivener is a nifty program that allows writers to organize, construct, and structure their novels, stories, research papers, and scripts. It’s all about accessibility, much like Scapple, but on a larger scale. Imagine having your plot outlines, research notes, reference materials, and inspiration aids side by side with the first draft. Your Draft Scrivener allows you to construct your chapters and scenes in a seamless, single document that distinguishes between each section so you can easily identify one from the…

Writing Tech Part 1: Scapple

If you’ve scoured the internet looking for any sign of software designed for serious writers then you’ve certainly come across a company called Literature & Latte. Scrivener is their more well known product, but today I’d like to talk about another: Scapple. Scapple “is an easy-to-use tool for getting ideas down as quickly as possible and making connections between them”. It’s essentially a blank piece of notebook paper on which you can write down single words, phrases, or sentences and draw lines between them. You can use those lines to make connections, or you can connect two or more ideas…

Pace Yourself: Writing With Rhythm And Intent

Pacing is all about creating a rhythm for the reader to follow. It allows you, the writer, to invoke emotion in the reader wherever you wish. The most basic element in pacing is speed; how fast or how slow your reader reads what you’ve written can be determined by sentence structure. Fast Pacing There are a number of reasons why you might want your reader to speed through a scene. Are your characters racing through the streets in a high-speed chase? Is the protagonist encountering a tense situation, like playing in a high school football game or witnessing a car-jacking?…

The Premium Writing Space (Is the one you create)

Our environment is not always ideal for writing, plotting, or revision. I have a noisy cat, televisions blaring all over, and a rabble of neighbors who have seemingly coordinated their lawn mowing in subsequent shifts–they’re secretly plotting to annoy me, I think. Even with a number of household distractions, it’s not too difficult to find or make your own writing space. Carve out a cubby in your bedroom, rope off a corner in your basement, or box in a little office in the attic. Natural Vs. Unnatural Light This is my number one concern. While writing, I like my laptop…

New Poll: What do you write?

Let me know what genres you love to write! If you aren’t a fiction writer but enjoy writing in some other genre, add yours into the poll.

Literary Fiction Vs. Genre Fiction

Whether you’re a reader, and English-major, or a writer, the concept of two categories defining all of fiction may seem confusing and totally unnecessary. But if you are interested in the literary fiction vs. genre fiction debate, here are the ground rules that are often ambiguous and muddled and ever-changing.  Character Driven Vs. Plot Driven This is often the first “defining” factor. Many say that literary fiction is driven by characters and their needs, wants, wishes, and dreams. The story revolves around people–not an event or a journey (although the people may certainly go on one). The best example I…

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