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Writing Tips & Resources

Writing Tip #1:
Important Things to Remember About Creating Character
 
"You want to write about people you care about. You can dress them up any way you see fit. You can slam them together in composites or put knee breeches on them and let them fight in the Revolutionary War, but your characters ought to be some of the ten most important people in your life, or the six most creepy, or you'll bore the socks off your readers, and yourself as well." - Carolyn See ("Living the Literary Life")
 
In developing a character, remember that conflict is built on not the part that conforms but the part that doesn't. The oddness, quirks and differences are what make a story character memorable. These attributes help build conflict, and conflict makes the story, adds complexity and creates dimension. Some characters are driven by an obsession or passion. Others find conflict within themselves. A character might be arrogant or mentally ill or overly shy or be burdened by excessive virtue or guilt. Don't protect your protagonist. Play the "what-if" game: what if this happened or that happened? How would your character react? What if the worst possible turn of events sends your character off in another completely different direction. That's how to add excitement and surprise in your story. Have fun creating an interesting and memorable character. Read tips on writing dialogue, creating subtext, developing plot on future viewings.
 
"It’s not the sterling characters so much as the quirky and imperfect foils in fiction that we most appreciate as readers." – Margaret Atwood
 
Writing Tip #2:
Creating the Scene
 
Every scene or episode in story must contain a sharply defined character, a conflict or clash that keeps building, a sense of time and place, and an emotional boundary. Just like the story itself, the scene should have a beginning, middle, and ending. Pay attention to where and when the scene takes place, know what's at stake for your protagonist, set a mood. Every scene starts at one point and ends at another and should move the story forward. If it starts at a downturn, make it end at an upturn, and vice versa. Scene by scene, your story is written. Don't waste words on meaningless scenes. Something happens in the scene and your character reacts. The reader sees what happens in an objective way and then reacts along with the character.  Our senses are aroused. We see, smell, taste, hear, and feel through the character. What motivates your character to react and what is his/her feeling?  A good character reacting in a scene conflict makes for good story.
 
"Omit needless words. Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences just as a drawing should contain no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts."
– William Strunk
 
Writing Tip #3:
Technical & Mechanical Errors
 
Check your manuscript for typos, misspelling and punctuation mistakes and watch out for the following when proofreading your work: BE CAREFUL OF EYES. They do not dance or fall and your protagonist should not cast them out onto the Aegean Sea. Eyes should stay in place and not roll toward the ceiling. Eyes “gaze” or "look" or "stare." BEWARE OF PET WORDS & PHRASES.  Writers use favorites repeatedly in drafts. Read your work aloud to a discriminating critique group.  BEWARE OF REPETITIVE ACTIONS - sighing, nodding, smiling, shrugging. AVOID REDUNDANCIES  - "The blonde girl had yellow hair." AVOID ADVERBS. Delete the words ending in -ly. ELIMINATE SOME TAGS - “he said, she said" - and precede or follow your dialogue with an action line. People say words. They don't smile, snort, laugh, cough, sigh or choke them. They say, mutter, mumble or whisper. Check your vocabulary and punctuation. And then do it again.

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