Tag Archives: Fiction writing

Not Wanting To Make Things Up

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wordsAlmost all of us draw on autobiographical material when writing. This leads to a lot of powerful prose, and probably saves a ton of money in psychiatric bills. But it can also cause major problems with fiction writing, because it can make it hard for the writer to make stuff up. And if you’re not making something up, you’re not making something up, you’re writing a journal entry, which can be beautiful, but it is not a story.

Say you are inspired by your Uncle Louis, a real one of a kind sort of guy who was one of the most colorful figures you ever knew. You always thought you wanted to write about him. He applied for a patent on a copying machine, and he got it. You write up the story, give it to me, and I say, “That’s great that Uncle Louis got the patent, but the story would have more tension if he didn’t get it.”

“But he did get it,” you say.

“Yes,” I say, “but the story would be better if he didn’t.”

“But he did get it. Patent number 3333.”

“Well,” I say, “what if a woman steals his patent then?”

“But he was married to Aunt Irene for 50 years.”

You see where I’m going with this? Keeping the story too tied to Uncle Louis makes it difficult for the writer to use his imagination. It’s locking him into someone else’s story. It’s taking away the author’s power.

What to do? First, think of why Uncle Louis appeals to you. Why do you want to write his story? Is it because you admire his fighting spirit? Can you create a character who has the same fighting spirit but is different than Uncle Louis? Maybe, instead of making your character a little old man, you could make him a young man with red hair. Or, make him into a woman. The key thing is to take ownership of him. He’s no longer your uncle. He’s your character. You can do with him what you want.

We All Get There

Who’s Doing The Talking

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Centre for Dialogue Logo

Image via Wikipedia

Today is Monday and it’s time for “The Blog.”  Today I want to share a little about talking in your writing, otherwise known as “Dialogue”.  In fiction anything which isn’t narration and is in quotes is dialogue.  Dialogue holds your reader’s attention, lets them get to know your characters better.  If you went out on a date and there wasn’t conversation, do you think you would go out on a second date.  I wouldn’t and I don’t suspect you would either.  That conversation is vital in establishing a relationship.  It is the same with fiction writing.

You can also do the opposite.  What if you went out with someone who talked all the time.  You couldn’t get a word in because the person wouldn’t shut up.  Would you do a repeat of that performance?  Fiction writing requires  a happy medium.  You want your dialogue balanced with your narration.

You can write about any given moment in a story by two methods:  scene or summary.  Summary is where the action is summarized, or otherwise told to the reader.  Scene writing is where dialogue comes into play (excuse the pun).  Your reader hears the conversation and can see what is happening in their minds eye.  Using dialogue makes the writing stronger.  It makes the writing seems more lifelike and dramatic.

Dialogue moments of real significance to your story.  Examples

Dee and Andy walked to the kitchen, flipped the light on before going to the sink to do the dishes.    Dee would do the washing, and Andy would dry the dishes.

“Hey Andy, are you going to help me with the dishes?”

“Sure I am, you cooked the dinner.”

Dee and Andy walked to the kitchen, laughing at the idea of Dee cooking.  She flipped on the light switch, and they headed to the sink.

“I’ll wash and you can dry, Andy”

“Sure, not a problem.”

The dialogue added more to the scene of the story.  It gave it some life, not just a flat sentence.

We just have to figure out when we want our characters to talk.  When is going to provide the most impact.

Todays video is on Dialogue.  See you Wednesday.

Research

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Library Research

I loved doing the research for my book. I think my favorite spot to learn about was the Gelen Mines in Scotland. The pictures of the area were beautiful. I find it amazing how much new knowledge I gained from doing the research for The Tower. I also enjoyed the cultural aspect of Kathmandu. The city has six large casino’s located in hotels. I am sure those casinos bring in money for the government and the owners.

Tulsa, I knew about because I lived there many years ago. Since I am from Oklahoma I visited often. Tulsa is a nice city, and it is well laid out.
I also enjoyed finding out about the South American island.  I used the name and changed everything else I mentioned in the book.
Even with fiction writing, you have to know a little bit about what you are writing. I don’t think you could make it realistic if you didn’t. If your writing science fiction you know from the beginning that it is not real, the writer has to make it seem real.
That’s my two cents on research for the day.