Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Ten ‘P’s of Writing Creative Fiction

GIVEAWAY offered below, so be sure to go all the way to the end! 

1) PRAYER – Most of my writing starts during prayer. In the afterglow of loving on and talking to God, in those quiet moments, that wonderful part of my brain where my characters live comes alive. I see and hear them move through the next scenes and hear the exchange between them. It comes in flashes sometimes, full blown scenes in others, as though I’ve already experienced them.

2) POT of Coffee – Later, after maybe a half a pot of coffee while I peruse my
social media messages, I move to the computer armoire and get serious.

3) POUNDING out – what  I’d seen and heard earlier. That’s when the real work begins. The first time, it’s all about getting the story from the keyboard to the monitor and saved.

4) PASSIVE, telling verbs need to be refashioned into active, show words. No one gets excited when there’s a was or were, have or had, be or been in every sentence. Readers read to live vicariously through my characters and their actions.

5) rePLACE – echo words. Slamming the words down onto the monitor to get to the end of the scene or chapter, I may use four ‘little’s on a page, but I go back. One is changed to ‘small’, another to ‘tiny’, and one to ‘runt’! Who wants to read the same word four times on a page or three times in a paragraph?

6) PRONOUNS to PROPER name ratio must be checked. Too many authors are so proper name heavy. During this step, I also make sure the pronouns refer back to the correct last proper name mentioned. On rare occasion, such as when position clearly identifies who the pronoun is referring to, I will leave a pronoun without repeating the proper name. Too many proper names—as a reader—annoys me.

7) PARAGRAPH starts need checking, too. Don’t want all of them starting with proper name, pronoun, or dialogue. If you have a compound verb (She turned and gave him a wink), you can change the first to an ‘ing’ (Turning, she gave him a wink) to get rid of a pronoun start. Rearranging the sentence you already have is another way, also.

8) PREPOSITIONAL phrases can be a great tool to mix up those paragraph starts. ‘After this’ or ‘Before that’ offer a springboard to move time along.

9) PUTTING sensory detail in is another great way to change up paragraph starts and enhance your writing at the same time. What does your point of view character see, hear, taste, smell, or feel (touch, not emotion)? Don't name emotions—it’s weak writing—using the word ‘felt’ when there’s actually nothing being touched with skin in order to ‘feel’.  SHOW instead! For instance, she felt nauseous. Ask yourself, can I put my finger on nausea and ‘feel’ it? Of course not, and it’s pure TELL! Consider this: Her stomach churned, acids rising in her throat. Bile stung first then erupted into her mouth and tasted terrible.  Doesn’t that rendition SHOW that she ‘felt’ nausea. Plus, telling your reader that your POVC saw, heard, tasted, smelled, or felt something is blatant author intrusion, shifting point of view. And speaking of…

10) POINT of View – As an editor, this is the most prevalent problem I find with new and old writers alike. It is a tricky tool to learn, but well worth your time to invest in study. For sure and for certain, no writer wants to kill the tension they've built. There’s no quick and easy explanation on POV, but I will point you to STORY & STYLE, The Craft of Writing Creative Fiction that I published in 2015. Written in a conversational format with loads of examples will really help you get a handle on POV, the tool that causes readers to say, “The author put me right down into the story!” Everyone who's reviewed this book has given it a FIVE-STAR rating!

The readers probably won’t know the why of experiencing being 'in' the story and 'knowing' the characters so well, but staying in POV is definitely what does it. Plus, a lack thereof confuses readers. Firmly in you POVC's head, you’ll report what that character (and only that character) saw, heard, tasted, smelled or felt (remember to ask with every ‘feel’, is my character’s sense of touch in play?). You won’t need all the ‘She heard’ or ‘He smelled’ either. Instead of ‘He smelled’ the coffee, let the aroma do something…The aroma of coffee wafted upstairs and tickled him awake. How much better is that than ‘He smelled the coffee’? And...now you’re SHOWING!

Write and rewrite. Remember this: Only God writes in stone. The rest of us rewrite. I pray these 'P' pointers help and are a blessing to you! 


Bio: Caryl is currently writing four series. One historical family saga—Texas Romance, covers three generations over six decades, and the contemporary Red River Romances their Northeast Texas setting in common. The Generations is her Biblical fiction series with four volumes now, Adam through Abraham. And she also writes for mid-grade readers and young adults with her Days of Dread series.
   Simon and Schuster published her first Texas Romance, then she went independent and loves being a hybrid author. Due to God’s great blessings, her marketing efforts succeeded in getting her novels into the hands of over two hundred fifty thousand readers in 2015. Wanting to help other Indy authors, she founded WordWyse Expos ( http://www.wordwyse.com ) with her daughter-in-love, Janis who is a virtual assistant and teacher of social media marketing. 
   Married almost fifty years to her high school sweetheart, Caryl has four children and sixteen grandsugars. She and Ron live back in the woods a few miles south of Clarksville in the Lone Star State where many of her books are set with two grandsons they’ve had for thirteen years, Christian and Benjamen.

GIVEAWAY: I'll offer one print copy of STORY & STYLE, The Craft of Creative Writing as a gift to one of my commenters here! I love hearing what you think! :)

Our next WordWyse Expo is a one day affair in Southlake, Texas on October 22, 2016! Hope you can make it!

19 comments:

  1. Wonderful list of things all writers should be aware of! With such informative guidelines, aspiring authors are bound to write stories that keep readers engaged.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, Mimi! Thanks for dropping by! SO LOVED spending time with you at ACFW!

      Delete
  2. Great information, Caryl. Thanks so much for sharing. I'm looking forward to the WordWise Expo.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mark your calendar for Saturday, October 22! It's gonna be a good one! :) Can't wait to see you there! And thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! :)

      Delete
  3. This is wonderful information, especially for me, because I am beginning to write Christian fiction. Thank you so much! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's awesome, Melissa! Story & Style would really be a good help! Thanks for commenting and BLESSINGS!

      Delete
  4. I enjoyed your post, thank you so much!
    Blessings, Carol :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're so welcome, pretty Carol! Thank you for stopping by; glad you enjoyed! :) Hugs! <3

      Delete
  5. Love this post! Great information! Id love to win a copy of this book. Thanks for the chance to win!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Sally! Blessings and thank you for stopping by! Hugs! :)

      Delete
  6. Love this Caryl!! I would love a copy of your book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are you going to join the ranks? :) I can't imagine when you'd have time to write, Sandy, but I know it'd be a great book! :) Hugs and blessings! :)

      Delete
  7. I want to print this out. Learning the craft and need all the help I can get.
    Thanks Caryl for passing aling your knowledge.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your reply went all the way to the bottom! :)
      Hugs and Blessings! :)

      Delete
  8. Thanks for sharing, Caryl. Very interesting and informative. Love learning what it takes to make a story stronger. Would love to read a copy of your book.

    bookwarp(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Angi! Thank you for coming by and your remarks! Maybe you'll win! :)

      Delete
  9. You are so welcome, Renetta! Glad it helped! I wonder who's going to win the book... Hugs! Thank you for stopping over and for your comments :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. So I just got home today from Nashville where I went to the CFRR and the ACFW! Drove there and back...the whole way! I am so blessed and hughly favored! Let's see who's going to win this book! CAROL KEEN it is! Congratulations, Carol!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Essay writing companies recognize the fact that busy schedules might hinder part-time students from managing assignments and delivering quality work on time.http://ncapublicaddress.org/

    ReplyDelete