Show Not Tell

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Today’s Tip: Show Not Tell

Details are essential to a good story. It builds the setting, moves the plot forward, and creates tension that makes readers sit at the edge of their seats. If you guys like show and tell, I’m sorry to say that this is show NOT tell.

Who: Showing not Telling

What: details that help move your story along

When: describing something

Where: throughout the novel

Why: to move your story along and make it less dull

How: Avoid simple sentences. “The dog was excited.” Why was it excited? What is its reactions? What are your reactions? Answer these questions and soon enough you’ll have an entire paragraph instead of one sentence. Plus, your paragraph probably seems a lot more enthusiastic and real than the simple sentence. Think of the different details you can add. Sometimes, you might need to break off from describing one thing by describing another. Add a “the wind whistled through the trees” somewhere in there. But be careful not to write too much detail or your reader will start getting bored of all the sentence too.

Activity: Rewrite these “telling” sentences into “showing” paragraphs.

  1. I loved her.
  2. I felt nauseated.
  3. It was painful.
  4. It was dark.
  5. I was scared.
  6. I felt nervous.
  7. My friend was mad.

 

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Writing Tips 16

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Today’s Tip: Groups

If you’re reading this right now, you’re already in one. Some people find this helpful, others prefer independence. However, writing groups can come in handy when you’re writing your story.

Who: Groups

What: group of writers who give each other feedback on their works

When: anytime

Where: wherever you chose to meet

Why: so you can get advice from different readers

How: In simpler terms, all you have to do is get together a group of people who love writing and meet up somewhere. But this can often be tricky. The more people in your group, the harder it is to find the perfect time and place to meet up. However, the smaller your group, the less advice you’ll get from different critiques. Or, you don’t have to meet up at all. With the technology we have now, Google Docs lets you share your story with multiple people and allows you to see the edits they’ve made. You can talk to specific group members in person if you want to, or just chat online. Writing groups are very useful if you want to know what your friends think and what you can improve on. After all, the best writer is still a reader.

Activity: Get together a writing group and write!

Writing Tips 15

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Today’s Tip: Revision

Every author’s gotta go back to revise their story. You can’t expect your novel to be the perfect bestseller on the first try. If it is, OMG TELL ME YOUR SECRET. MUST. HAVE. I know it’s a pain to go through all of that hard work only to go through it again. But trust me, this time it’ll be easier.

Who: Revision

What: going back through your story and making changes if necessary

When: once you’re done writing your story

Where: beginning, middle, end, all of it

Why: to check for any irrelevant details, grammar issues, spelling, etc.

How: Simple. Once you’re finished with your novel, go back and read it again. I find it best if you read your story like you would normally read the work of another author. That way, you’re looking through the reader’s eyes and will know what the reader wants and what the reader finds annoying or repetitive. Feel the reader, be the reader, the reader is within you. Look for anything you can change, like boring long paragraphs, grammar that doesn’t make sense, big vocabulary that no one understands, details that are confusing, or too much repetition of the same thing over and over again, whether it be a certain scene or a certain action. Remember, always keep your reader hooked because once they put your book down, there’s no guarantee they’ll pick it up again.

Activity: Write different versions of you story. You can alter the beginning, middle, end, or all of it. Be careful not to change the main plot of your story.

Writing Tips 14

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Today’s Tip: Writer’s Block Again

I know I’ve talked about this somewhere in my earlier tips. We can never get rid of writer’s block. It just something that comes with. Every writer is afraid of it and often, writers succumb to it. It’s dangerous, it’s discouraging, and it’s a writer’s worst enemy.

Who: Writer’s Block

What: a time when writers run out of ideas or are stuck on one part of a story

When: you lose the essential “sense of direction”

Where: anywhere in the story, often between the beginning and the middle.

Why: to discourage writers from finishing their future novels

How: How do you overcome it? I actually don’t know. I’ve tried a bunch of different methods. Sometimes, when I meet writer’s block, I stop writing for a few days and then come back to the story. I would’ve collected ideas by then. Other times, I set the story aside and forget about it. That’s the option I fear the most, not being able to finish something I started. Often, it’s because I’ve thought of a new, maybe “better” story to write about and the old one just loses its interest. So how do you keep writing? It depends on what kind of writer you are. If you want to take a break, then take a break, but please please please don’t forget about your story. If you want to continue, then you can try asking yourself multiple questions. What is the character thinking? What are the other characters thinking? Is now the time for the archnemesis to appear? Try your best to keep writing. Just know that you’re not the only one who’s battling writer’s block.

Activity: Jot down a list of every little idea that comes to mind. When you think you’ve got enough, incorporate them into your story. Also, before writing a chapter, take note of which direction the chapter will take your characters and KEEP IT IN MIND. Do not lose track or you will get lost.

Writing Tips 13

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Today’s Tip: Ending

Well, we’ve talked a lot about beginnings. Now let’s explore the endings. Endings are just as important as beginnings, if not more crucial. For a series, the ending of one book determines whether or not the reader will read the next one.

Who: Endings

What: how the story finishes

Where: at the end

When: at the end to sum up the story or leave a cliffhanger

Why: to give your story an end and for the reader to want to read more

How: All the rising actions, falling actions, and the climax are somehow connected to the ending. They’re actually what make the ending the end. Everything that happened in the story builds up to that one moment, then settles into the finish line. For a story to have a good ending, it must have good events. Give a nice twist, but not too much that you leave the reader complaining. Remember, your characters change along with the story, so by the time readers are at the end, the characters shouldn’t be the same as the ones at the beginning. The ending is also a time for resolutions and for some problems to be solved- in a series, not all the truths are revealed and the characters (and readers) still have questions. That’s a cliffhanger.

Activity: Read the first chapter of a book. Then predict how it will end. Skip to the last chapter and read it. Was your prediction correct? Did the characters seem to change? If you want to, write the events that lead to the ending without reading the book.

Writing Tips 12 (it’s been a while…)

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Today’s Tip: Point of View

The three most common POVs in novels are first person, third person, and third person omniscient. First person includes pronouns like “me, myself, and I”. Third person uses “he, she, him, her”. Third person omniscient means “the all knowing”, which is when you know every character’s thoughts and feelings, not just the MC.

Who: POV

What: the perspective the story is being told

When: throughout the story

Where: depends on what POV you’re using

Why: to let the reader know who is telling the story

How: First person POV is a common point of view used in books like The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins or Divergent by Veronica Roth. It uses pronouns like “I” and “me” and is told from the main character’s perspective. First person POV is usually the one that most readers can connect to because it feels as if everything is happening to you, not just the character. You feel what the main character feels.

Third person POV is another common point of view used in books such as Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling or Dark Artifices by Cassandra Clare. It uses pronouns like “he” and “she” and can sometimes be told by the main character’s perspective. Like first person, third person can also be relatable based on the character’s thoughts and actions. The reader feels like they are in the main character’s world, watching the main character’s every move.

Third person omniscient is, of course, the “all seeing” and “all knowing”. Books like Seekers by Erin Hunter are written in multiple perspectives with not one main character but several. Though it isn’t as commonly used as first or third person POV, third person omniscient is still quite effective as you sympathize and understand multiple characters’ thoughts, feelings, and actions, toward the world and maybe towards each other.

Activity: Write an excerpt from whatever novel you are working on or plan on working on in one POV. Then switch to another POV. Then switch to the remaining POV. Get a feel for each one and see which suits you most.

Writing Activity!

Read half of a book- exactly half! You can either cut the number of chapters in half or cut the number of pages in half. If it’s the number of pages, you can finish the chapter.

After reading half of the book, set it aside and write what you think will happen next. Write like you are continuing the story- you can write like the author does but you don’t have to.

This is an activity to test your imagination and how well you know the characters.

Have fun!