Taking risks is unto a purpose. Think of a single raindrop, splashing into the quietly calm surface of a lake. The event is isolated, and you may be inclined to imagine the ripples, but then you await for the water to be calm again.
Now think of a downpour splashing onto a lake. There are very few ripples, but the effect is just as magnificent as the sole rain drop. But in this case, you may not be waiting for the water to be stilled.
Let’s use these two examples to understand risk taking. Maybe your character does something out of the ordinary but it’s momentary.
Risk taking is what defines good writing. It’s the unexpected that makes the reader’s bottom lip tremble in anticipant trepidation, waiting for your story to unfold. These risks are tough, because we want to maintain a story that’s consistent, and taking those risks teeters on the edge of being unbelievable.
Continuing from yesterday, let’s define something a little more clearly. Even though we are jumping off a bridge, make sure that there is water underneath. We aren’t plummeting to our literary deaths; we simply want to make the thrill ride is exhilarating. Continue reading →
Tricking the reader is a bad game to play. For instance, having a character pretend not to know that someone is the killer, only to find out that she knew who did it the entire time is wrong. That’s not the kind of trickery that I’m referring to.
What I’m describing is keeping something hidden from the reader, while maintaining your legitimate narrative perspective. Here’s an example. Continue reading →
There are essential elements that make high fantasy novels come alive, but the characters are the banners. Without having characters that people care about, stories will flop. That said, if the characters are admirable, then the story can sag, and people may still continue to read on.
Fantasy novels must have certain elements if they are to fit into the mold of the mainstream fantasy.
One of the dumbest ideas for a novel would have to come from The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. Think about it. Some kids go to a house where they’re not wanted and they find this wardrobe. After finding it, they realize that this glorious piece of bedroom furniture is enchanted. Not only that, but the wardrobe, if opened by the right people, has an entirely different world hidden within it called Narnia. That’s ridiculous!
HOW TO ASK YOURSELF THE RIGHT QUESTIONS FOR YOUR SCENE
The beeping wouldn’t stop. Every few seconds the IV reminded us that we were in a hospital. I sat on the chair with my head hanging between my legs, staring at the tiled floor, silently demanding the nurses to come. Next to me, in the bed, lay my wife. She wasn’t saying much, and neither was I. We’d been through this before. But what about this time was going to so be different from the last?
I have a confession to make. I have not written a blog in two weeks. I’ve just had a few of them in the queue, and I’ve responded to messages. But, my wife and I welcomed the arrival of our second daughter on June 26th. Her name is Sarai Rachel. Continue reading →
I’m bubbling up with insight from another James Frey book, How to Write a Damn Good Novel II. It’s amazing the tips that he has, and if you want some deeper understanding about novel-writing, I’d suggest buying both of his books. They’re easy reads, and they’re as suspenseful as a novel, in my opinion.
He uses the term, “Light the Fuse.” The idea is that your characters have to start your novel in a dramatic situation, a tough circumstance. It’s the bomb that’s about to blow if your characters don’t escape. Continue reading →
Empathy deserves justice. Recently we touched on the idea of building empathy for a character. This will, by far, be your most powerful tool for writing. You have to make sure that the reader can connect with the situations that you put your characters through, and the reader must somehow be coerced to pull for your characters within those situations.
Think about it. With empathy, we can make you pull for any character, no matter how sinister he is. The Professional is about guy who wants to protect a little girl, and he just happens to be demolition expert. Well, the writers actually get you to pull for him even though he’s a child molester. Continue reading →
Too much back-story will kill you. The common feeling whenever we’re writing is that we have to explain our world. We have to describe what things look like, and how things came to be, and what powers our people have.
I ran into this trouble with my fantasy trilogy. When I looked at it again, I noticed that I had a prose-styled dossier. It just wasn’t working. What I realized is that my explanation of the world was getting in the way of the story.
Seven Pounds with Will Smith, did you go see it like I suggested? If you didn’t then shame on you! (Not really, but you’re missing out).
My wife and I went to see Seven Pounds at the movie theater, and she almost walked out within the first ten minutes. It’s intense. It’s not funny…and it’s exactly what we needed to hear. What happens? I won’t tell you. GO SEE THAT MOVIE!
That said, we have to figure out a clever and precise way to create empathy for our character right from the start. Sympathy is not as critical? Why? Well if you’re writing a story to alcoholics about the dangers of drinking, then you can easily create sympathy, but what if you want to reach a wider audience? Continue reading →