Another set of writing tips…
Do you ever feel like you’re swimming in circles? The water never changes temperature, there is never a current speeding the flow around you. You’re constantly fed the same ol’ boring tasteless crap to eat, yet it’s still the excitement of your day? A certain Pink Floyd song states, “we’re just two lost souls swimming in a fishbowl.” If as a writer you can relate, then trust me, you’re not alone.
Sometimes it can feel as though writing is the easy part, you just let it all out onto a page. The hardest is the editing, checking and perfecting stage. Every writer wants to be sure their plot is on point. This is often what can let a story down, a brilliant idea but poor delivery, and gaps. As a reader, plot gaps are no fun. There’s nothing worse than being captured by a great book blurb and cover, only to read a novel full of plot or character gaps and unanswered questions. The problem is writers often have the plot “in their head” and that’s where it stays. Or they “understand the plot” themselves, forgetting that readers need and deserve well developed stories and especially characters. Aspects of a story ideally should not really be brushed over, as this will leave a reader confused, and most importantly they will spot the dreaded gaps, where the writing has not been developed enough. This will lead to a bland story that will not do justice to your great blurb or idea. Here are some tips on how to ensure there are no gaps in your plot, even if you’re not a “plotter” as a writer and regardless of your genre.
I’ve recently finished writing the sequel to my last YA supernatural novel, Oath Breaker, and hope to release book two (Oath Keeper) next spring.
With any follow-on book the hard work of naming your characters has been covered when you outlined your idea for book one. However, like any good story, it’s nice to add a few new faces to keep the storyline fresh and the characters on their toes.
The writing technique – Show Don’t Tell – helps us bring our stories to life. We do this by seeing the world through the eyes of our characters. We experience the world through their senses, and we let them speak for themselves. Their actions and reactions move the story forward and their body language reveals their emotions.
We are always told to use body language in our writing. Sometimes, it’s easier said than written. I created these cheat sheets to help you show a character’s state of mind through his or her body language.
Obviously, a character may exhibit a number of these behaviours. For example, he or she may be shocked and angry, or shocked and happy. Use these combinations as needed.
I had stopped using this page as a reference (but it is still useful). Instead, I use a book that I found called The Emotion Thesaurus. I think it is a good starting point in terms of incorporating emotion/body language.
Not everyone in the world speaks one language, so sometimes your characters shouldn’t either.
More books that I read these days mix languages into their stories. They don’t have descriptions of scenery in another language or so, because I might end up throwing the book across the room as I try to decipher letters mixed in strange ways. But they do speak small, common phrases or pet names in other languages.