five things all writers must learn…

….to create very good stories.

Many of these things come from my own personal observations and experience and much of what I say is probably repeats of previous posts.

1.) Editing. Editing is the basis of all good books. in fact, I think it is the backbone of good writing. It’s all fine and good if you can write something down on paper. It’s better if you do the extra step (or two, or three, or ten, depending on how you edit) and edit what you write.

2.) Listening to characters: This is an art, and a challenge. You know those stories where the characters (without mental disorders) suddenly start acting strange and awkward? It kinda hits you like, “What on EArth?” Well… that’s because the author didn’t really listen to the character.

In all honesty, I don’t know how to give you a step-by-step instructions as to how to listen to your characters. This (like everything else all my list) takes practice. Once you learn how to do it well, you might find all sorts of information, like, say, one character had a crush on another character but didn’t want to propose to court her because of three certain reasons. It adds depth to the character. But most important, it keeps the reader from looking at you strange.

3.) The good plot: As a new writer, everything that pops into your head sounds awesome. In all honesty, I would never have the time to write down EVERYTHING that I come up with as plots, even if I wrote constantly. One thing that a writer must learn is how to take a plot and decided whether to a) write it, b) save it for something else (meaning it’s okay but not really that good) or C) discard it completely. This again takes practice because you need to know partly what you can write well and what you really kinda stink at.

4.) Observing: Observe everything. As both an author and an artist, I do that. Observe how people interact. Observe character differences. Observe what makes people tick, motivations,  fears. How things look, smell, feel, sound. Everything. YOu need it for later character development and description.

Besides observing people and things, observe how people write. I’m not saying to copy one author’s particular style (although, in honesty, I can’t see style differences much.). I’m just saying to notice how the author writes what he/she wants to say. How do they describe things? How do they stick in information? How do they reveal characters?

5.) Avoiding the Infodump: Infordumps = Badbadbad. Infodumps are when you explain everything all at once and are very common in fantasy stories actually. You might spend six pages about the war or five pages on the transportation system or two pages on this guy’s past. Avoid these like the plague.

If you must use them, give small, bite size pieces infrequently. Maybe you can explain on page three why she rides a bike everywhere and then on page 13 about why she doesn’t like any of the clothes at Wal*mart and why she wears dresses all the time. Then maybe on page 16 about how she became enlisted in the secret spy agency. Who knows? But small pieces.

And one more bit of advice: edit. I know I said it before but I’m saying it again. Every single other thing you can improve in your story if you edit the story. Everything you write can be undone. But it will not be undone if you do not edit.

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About Abigail

I'm an elementary education major at a college in the Midwest. I might graduate as early as December '13 but more likely May '14. I write when I can. I also knit on occasion, draw, do homework and contradict teachers to make people think. :)

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