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"It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous."
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Who's Telling The Story?

Writing Stories

10 Habits of Frequently Published Writers p1

Tips For Better Writing

Three Simple Ways To Give Your Writing More Oomph

What Makes Fiction Special

Why Should You Edit Your Writing?



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Who's Telling The Story?

The point of view in any story is important because it provides a guide to manage the execution of your story. Most works of fiction use one point of view although a second perspective can be brought into the story for a short period of time.

Third Person Perspective is the most common method of conveying a work of fiction. This method allows the narrator to have at least limited omniscience. The narrator has limited access to the knowledge and feelings of the characters in the story and can take the reader from one character setting to another easily. There is no questioning of how the narrator knows so much about each individual; it is a premise that is simply accepted by most readers.

Unlike first person perspective that conveys the story from the perspective of a cast member, third person perspective narration does not allow the narrator to actually participate in the action. They are simply the mechanism that operates outside the story to bring the various story threads together.

If a writer were to give the narrator full access to all feelings and thoughts of the cast of characters the story would be a little flat because nothing would be left to the imagination.

Third person narratives can be spotted by the predominate us of words such as they, he, she and it. The narrator talks about others - never about himself.

The least common perspective is Second Person Perspective. Very few novels can utilize this approach throughout an entire work.

This type of fiction relies on words like you and you're. The use of this type of perspective either assumes you will connect with the story as if it is written to you or that you will understand you are reading a private story written to and about someone else. It is rare to find a full manuscript that uses this perspective although an Epistolary Novel such the C.S. Lewis' masterpiece "Screwtape Letters" may likely be considered second person perspective in its entirety.

The trouble many writers get into is an unintentional shift in perspective. This can be used effectively under certain circumstances, however the shift in perspective needs a breaking point to allow the reader to gain some understanding that a shift has taken place. Without a break to qualify the shift in point of view the story becomes confusing because the reader has to work hard at discovering who is actually telling the story.

Submitted by:
Scott Lindsay
Scott Lindsay is a web developer and entrepreneur. He is the founder of FaithWriters (http://www.faithwriters.com) and many other web projects. FaithWriters has grown to become one of the largest online destinations for Christian writers. Please visit the website at: http://www.faithwriters.com.


Writing Stories

There's nothing like writing a story. It is a truly satisfying creative process. In order to write a story that people will enjoy. You need to understand the key elements that all good writers use in stories. In this article we will explore these elements.

1. Brainstorming

Ask yourself these questions:

What are you are going to write about? Who will be your audience? How much do you know about what you want to write about? What do I need to find out?

2. Write from a Specific Point of View

First person: "I"

Second person: "You" (rarely used)

Third person: "She/He" (Used the majority of time but in a "limited" way) Limited simply means that the story is told through the eyes of one particular character.

3. Starting Your Story

Your story should begin in such a way that it grabs the readers attention and never lets them go, some ways to begin are: Sound Effects, for example: Splash! Pop! Another way to begin is with dialogue, that is, two or more characters having a conversation. Using action is also another way to start. Whatever you choose, you must do it in a way that draws the reader in from the very beginning, if you fail to do this then no matter how good your story gets down the road it will be pointless as you have already lost your audience.

4. Setting

Place your characters in a setting. This is where you are to use descriptive words that let your readers see, hear and even smell the setting. The setting establishes the time and place in which the story takes place. Give your readers a snapshot view of the environment so that they can see it in their mind's eye and feel as if they are really there. 5. Characters

Characters are part of the life blood of fiction. Here are some of the types of characters you may want to create.

Main Character (Protagonist): All the action revolves around this person.

Villain (Antagonist): This person or persons oppose the main character at every turn. Villains can also become allies of the main character down the road. People change in real life as well as in stories.

Friends (Sidekicks): This person or persons helps the main character.

6. Conflict

Good conflict allows your readers to become even more involved in the plot. Conflict can arise within the characters, with other people or even with nature. The needs of characters are what drives them into action. Conflict is created when obstacles are put in the way of the characters. Here are some types of conflict that can arise in a story:

The main character vs. others

The main character vs. his /her own inner self

The main character vs. situations he/she faces in life

The main character vs. society

7. Dialogue

Finally lets take a look at the purpose and use of dialogue. Dialogue is used in conversation between your characters. The characters may also have dialogue with themselves. Good dialogue tells the reader something about the characters state of mind or personality. Dialogue should be surrounded by action and move the story along. So make every conversation count!

Submitted by:
Simone Mary
Simone Mary is a teacher, writer and artist. She is the author of the eBook WRITING A STORY? WHAT EVERY WRITER SHOULD KNOW, for more writing strategies and for a free copy of the eBook GET ON THE HONOR ROLL-TEST AND EXAM TAKING TIPS THAT WORK visit http://www.thereadingandwritingshop.com


10 Habits of Frequently Published Writers p1

Are you ready to sign off on your first project or publish more of what you have already written? Have you been wondering who will publish your work? The publishing industry is changing in the new millennium and doesn't appear ready to stop changing. It is estimated that in the next 10 years, 50 percent of all books will be self-published or published by smaller presses. Even so, it should not exempt us from the pursuit of excellence in our craft through sound writing rules and business etiquette.

With that said the way to more published writing credits is basically the same as Anne Wayman says, "Write well and write often." If you want to get published more by industry respected magazines and even enter into the competition for the attention of traditional book publishers, you may want to examine some of your writing habits. There are some habits those writers who consistently get published share. If you want to join the winner's circle of frequently published writers develop these habits:

Habit #1 Develop and maintain a strong sense of professionalism

Frequently published writers know they are not just creative artists. They know publishing is a business. They realize as a writer they supply a product to the publisher or directly to the customer. The writer that comes to terms with producing their writing as a product develops a professional attitude. He seeks to develop the most excellent product that will satisfy the demands of its consumers. The professional writer follows the basic rules of business etiquette. For example, they use crisp, clean paper for letterhead. They never handwrite letters or manuscripts. They always include a SASE with each query.

Habit #2 Write your best, always.

Unseasoned writers and those who lack professionalism always seem to be saving their best effort for later. Other writers who save their best for the next project often procrastinate themselves out of enough time to do a good job. Some feel the buyer has left them no profit, so they give them what they feel they paid for.

The solution though it may not be quickly is to always do your best. This practice works well with the universal law that says, "What you give comes back around to you." When you continually give your best - the best is always coming to you - the best assignments, the best rewards, and the best credit. So write your best and expect the best.

Habit #3 Tap your passions and spread your joy to the world

Most writers who publish often are passionate people. They make the most of their passions through their writing topics. As many of you do, the author has varied interests. She has had to streamline and focus more than several times over the years. The greater the numbers of things you attempt to focus on the less effective you become.

Two of her passions have burned brightly in her life in the last decade her writing and web development business. So its no surprise her published credits line up in the writing arena and internet/computer category. Identify your passions and you will rake in the publishing credits. Your joy will be contagious with editors contacting you to publish your work.

Habit #4 Write compelling leads and hook your editors and readers

The lead often called the "hook," because it hooks the reader - is the first few sentences or paragraphs of whatever you are writing. The job of the hook is to draw the reader in to read more.

Frequently published authors realize strong leads are not just for good journalism. Strong leads are for plain good writing. Use strong leads with everything you write, from non-fiction articles to good stories, from query letters to book proposals.

Use a compelling lead at the beginning of every chapter in both non-fiction and fiction. If you are writing an article, write a strong hook each time you transition to a new idea. A strong hook for an article may make the difference between selling it to an editor and not selling it.

There are different kinds of leads. Stories that set a scene or mood, startling facts, interesting statistics that spark interest are often components of a strong lead. The question lead entices readers to keep reading to learn the answer.

Habit #5 Develop Sizzling Titles and Headings

Successful writers sizzle their titles and headings. They know the title may well be 90% of the pulling power for their project. An excellent title is short. The best selling titles are benefit driven. Don't forget to heat them up with emotion. Use terms your audience can relate to. Use action words and verbs.

Quantify change with ways and time limits. Use one or two word ideas to tell a story. Pledge change. Spark interest. Instead of How to Write an E-book a client author chose the title Ten Secrets to Write Your E-book Like a Winner. She quantified change, sparked interest and branded her title.

Have a meeting of the minds with friends or associates. Let them help you choose the best title from the list. Find out which will make them want to read your project. Pinpoint the sizzling one and the same title may capture your editor's attention as well.

In the beginning, the acceptances are slow and sporadic for the successful and unsuccessful writer alike. But the difference is the successful writer keeps submitting. On a regular basic they see their work published because of their investment and persistence. Start with 1-3, keep submitting, and be persistent until you are invited into the winner's circle of frequently published writers.

Submitted by:
Earma Brown
©Earma Brown, 11 year author and business owner. Helps small business owners and writers who want to deliver their message effectively, build client lists and create additional streams of income. Author of "Write Your Best Book Now", she offers mentorship through her monthly ezine "iScribe" Send any email to iscribe@writetowin.org for free mini-course "Jumpstart Writing Your Best Book Now"


Tips For Better Writing

It is certainly true that we don't get a second chance to make a first impression. As the impression we make on the Internet is almost always with the written word, is it unfortunate that there is so much poor writing bouncing around in cyberspace. The following tips are intended to help you make a better first impression.

Speaking of first impressions, I don't want to present myself as "the Final Authority". Dave Barry readers know that would be "Mr. Language Person". I'm just a guy who's been writing marketing and training materials for a couple of decades and I've picked up a few things. If they are of value to you, I'm glad I could help.

Know your audience. Who are you trying to reach and what is the best approach to accomplish your goal? Should you be informal, strictly business or something else?

Plan what you want to say before you type the first word. Make a few notes. You will stay on message better and present a more readable piece.

No matter how extensive your vocabulary, resist the impulse to dazzle your readers. You may impress some but you'll lose many more. Common, everyday words work just fine - that's how they became common.

Avoid jargon whenever possible. Yes, almost every undertaking has its own language, just write at the level most appropriate for the vast majority of your readers. If in doubt, see 3. above.

Syntax (sentence structure) matters. When I hear something like, "Me 'n' John went to..." it's like fingernails down the chalkboard! People who speak that way probably write the same way, I figure. If your word processor has a grammar checker, use it - the spell checker won't help in this kind of situation.

The other person always comes first, so it is "John and I went to...". The trick for determining whether to use I or me is to drop the other person and say it. I doubt you'd say "Me went to...". Right?

Short sentences are more powerful than long ones. They are easier to read and hold the reader better. It might just be two words: Janet smiled. Depending on what preceded it, those two little words could be very powerful indeed. Think how important this sentence can be: I do.

If you're writing ads and you'd like them to stand out, avoid using the same approach "everyone else" is using. Look at how many ads use some variation of "Make $16 Million Before Lunch!!!!!!!!!" and then do something else for yours. Nobody really buys that stuff anyway, do they? Use your imagination.

Some words simply cannot be modified, so don't. Among these,for example, are unique and pregnant. Nothing can be "very unique" because unique means something of which there is only one. And a woman is either pregnant or she isn't. She cannot be "somewhat pregnant".

Punctuation is critically important. If you don't think so, study the following sentence. It can be punctuated to create opposite meanings: Woman without her man is nothing.

I think the most grossly overused punctuation mark is the exclamation point! There is a school of semi-thought that seems to have concluded that a thing is more important, or exciting, or urgent if multiple exclamation points are used, as in: Buy NOW!!!!!! Actually, it just means the writer doesn't know much about punctuation.

Use comparative suffixes (-er, -ier, -est) rather than "more". The weather is getting cooler, not "more cool". She is happier, not "more happy".

Enjoy your writing, it can be a real adventure!

Submitted by:
Kent E. Butler
Copyright © Kent E. Butler/Butler Marketing GroupKent Butler has been in marketing and sales since just after the discovery of dirt. He has written a great variety of things, from sales letters to screenplays. If this piece was helpful to you, he's happy. You are cordially invited to explore his Internet Resouce Center at http://www.ButlerMarketingGroup.com If you became a customer, of course, he'd be even happier (not more happy).


Three Simple Ways To Give Your Writing More Oomph

As a writing coach, I read dozens of manuscripts each week by aspiring children's writers. Most are very competent but in many cases, the readability of the text and the emotional impact of the story could be cranked up with just a bit of tweaking.

Here are my current top three tips.

TIP 1:

Let the reader experience the character's emotion directly.

Don't just say: Lydia felt embarrassed. That leaves the reader with a bunch of words that convey pretty well... nothing. The reader needs to feel what Lydia is going through to become emotionally involved in the story. Dredge deep into your own personal experiences to find the right words. Genuine descriptions will feel real to the reader.

Okay... what do you do or feel when you're embarrassed? You might feel a warm flush creep up your face. You might stare dumbly at your shoes or discover something important under your fingernail. You might force a laugh or put on a fake-cheerful smile.

Instead of telling the reader that Lydia felt embarrassed show her experiencing the embarrassment:

Lydia's face grew warm. She busied herself with a loose thread on her jacket.

TIP 2:

Make friends with the delete button. Why? Because good writing is tight writing. I've lost track of the number of editors and agents I've heard lately saying: I want a great story written sparely.

What does this mean? It means you should say what you want to say using as few words as possible. This will force you to use only your sharpest images, your most engaging dialogue, your liveliest action.

Here's a trick: Pretend that you have to fax your story to a publisher at $2.00 a word. You'll quickly discover words, phrases, sentences and whole paragraphs that aren't vital to the story. If you find your ms shrunk to half its original size - don't panic, celebrate!! That means it's more tightly written and has a livelier pace.

Here's an example of pruning:

BEFORE:

Andrew noticed that there was a very big spider on his pillow.

AFTER:

An enormous spider sat on Andrew's pillow.

This example reminds us of the impact created when you move the focal part of a sentence 9in this case, the spider) to the beginning.

TIP 3:

Instead of beginning sentences with "He saw" or "She heard", launch directly into the action. Here's what I mean...

BEFORE:

Jemma saw Dad cooking muffins.

AFTER:

Dad was cooking muffins.

If Jemma is your viewpoint character, the reader will instinctively know who is observing Dad. By talking about the main character (Jemma saw DaD...), you remind the reader that a narrator is at work, describing the scene from a distance.

Watch out for:

He/she saw...

He/she watched...

He/she noticed...

He/she looked at...

By avoiding these and describing the action directly, you strengthen the readers' ability to imagine themselves in the role of the viewpoint character.

Happy editing!

Submitted by:
Jill McDougall
Jill McDougall has published over a hundred books for children and is working on her next 100.
You can find more writing tips at Jill's website http://www.jillmcdougall.com.au and download a free preview of her ebook: Become a Children's Writer.


What Makes Fiction Special

I was in a brisk discussion about whether a woman 'would' or 'would not' leave her wayward husband when a man interrupted and said, "But he's not real! It's fiction!" It was time to end the talk before I began my ten minute soliloquy that would have sent everyone in the kitchen for one too many drinks before going home. I knew the difficult husband in The Trading of Ken was not real because he fell out of my head and ended up on paper over a year's time as I had fun punching him, his wife and girlfriend about. That's exactly the point. Fiction has helped me put life in fascinating perspectives that allegedly truthful biographies, gooey memoirs, self-righteous improvement and dry scientific report studies can't touch. Imagine:

It makes judging human nature and gossip acceptable. Sunday school and ethics lessons can be overlooked when we dissect the behavior of Flaubert's Madam Bovary. We can be arrogantly appalled, giving approval to our cherished ideas. Without apology or deference to a human being's frailties we can smack our opinion about like a tennis ball hoping to aim and hurt. Or an author can give us that information on a character that forces our play; makes us look again and reconsider. Madam Bovary 'loves without guile' to gain sympathy and twist our presumptions. Then we can smack our ideas against the wall again because they're not based on 'real' people and we can dissect them like an orange.

Fiction can be embellished and dressed up for drama. Sociology, psychology, philosophy can all be dry as melba toast. Even a well written biography can seem sanitized while memoirs can be diatribes against all enemies. Very often they're engaging stories and an occasional deep tidbit. In her memoir Two or Three Things I Know for Sure, Dorothy Allison states, "Women lose their lives not knowing they can do something different. Men eat themselves up believing they have to be the things they have been made." All very lovely and clear enough to understand. Fiction overrides polite society to talk from the gut. In Bastard Out of Carolina, Allison hands us a whirlwind, "Seven children! Bad enough Alma's got so many, but at least she knows how to keep hers fed and clean. That little Maggie can't even change a diaper without coming on a dizzy spell. Woman has eaten Beau alive. Like some vampire sucking the juice out of him. You cut that girl open and you'd find Beau's blood pumping her heart." I love those lines. Maggie's a woman who takes female caretaking to a new level and helps me see through myself and to my husband.

Fiction makes dry subjects like history, science and anthropology exciting and easier to learn. Readers willingly enter the world of writers eager to learn and enjoy a time in history (or the future) that school routinely fettered with weights. Consider the current popularity of The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini or The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. They are both storylines we've heard before and see alluded to in the news everyday, but fiction gives an inside, human aspect to subjects we otherwise treat coldly and brush off.

Fiction invites imagination and insight. We come to fiction ready to believe and enjoy. Routine defenses and the usual 'deaf ear' are diminished as we let words and the stories of strangers absorb us. Like children taking in data from everywhere we are more vulnerable to the suggestions of a creative deft author. It's one thing for the currently popular judgmental Dr. Know everything to say once more we are clueless about religion's part in our life. It is another thing to read Barbara Kingsolver in The Poisonwood Bible, "I could never work out whether we were to view religion as a life-insurance policy or a life sentence." Regardless of your view this statement is an invitation to define what you think.

Fiction entertains without expectation. Fiction gives grace and space from the workday world. We can and do enjoy a mini-vacation with a pal who doesn't expect us to do anything but sit back and have fun. Readers define fun in many fiction genres from science and fantasy to sweet romance, but that's just the point.

With fiction we're not required to study, learn or even pay close attention. We're invited to take from it what we will and enjoy the ride.

That's what's special about fiction. No final exams from teachers, scientists, historians or social gurus; only invitations.

Submitted by:
Rebecca Guevara
Article copyright Rebecca Guevara 2006. She is a freelance writer whose first novel, The Trading of Ken has just been published and can be seen at www.rebeccaguevara.com or www.barnesandnoble.com Shecan be reached at rebeccaguevara@comcast.net.


Why Should You Edit Your Writing?

So you've finally finished your first draft. Maybe it's a novel. Maybe it's a non-fiction book. Maybe you've written a picture book for children. Perhaps you love what you've written. Perhaps you've read it and decided it wasn't really that good after all. Whatever you've written and however you feel about it, there is something you still need to do. Edit.

There are very few people who can write beautiful prose on their first draft. Most of the writing that we admire and love has gone through at least two drafts. The editing pen has come out, turning okay writing into great writing. Even if you think what you have written is wonderful, it will still be better after it has been edited.

The first step in the editing process is for you to edit your own work. This is important even if you decide you want to hire a professional editor. Manuscripts that contain many errors or a lot of sloppy writing take a long time to edit. If your editor charges by the hour, this will cost you more money. Learning some basic editing skills will not only save your editor's time and save you money, but will also increase the chances that the work you submit to publishers will be error-free, well-written and more likely to be publishable.

While editing your work, you need to keep in mind the stage of writing you are at and what you are hoping to accomplish with your editing. Manuscripts will generally go through a number of different stages of editing. When editing your second draft, you will need to pay attention to how the writing all comes together and more general writing issues. By the time you reach the fifth draft, you will probably only be looking at basic proofreading (such as punctuation and spelling errors).

Every single step in the editing process is essential. The first draft should be a time where your creativity is given free reign. The following drafts help to turn this creativity into something that is well written and easy to read. Think about the types of thoughts that go through your mind. Most of us do not have thoughts that would transfer well to the written page. However, if those thoughts are written down, then editing can change those thoughts into a form that is publishable.

So if you need to do all that editing yourself, is there any point in hiring a professional editor? Yes. There are a number of reasons why an editor is essential, even when you have done a good job of editing your own work.

1. As a writer, you know what you want to say. You may think your writing communicates this message effectively. However, it may be that your message is not getting across.

2. You might look at your work and see what you know should be there, instead of what is actually there.

3. You may not understand all the writing and grammatical rules that should apply.

4. Sometimes writers fall in love with their own work. They cannot see that parts of it are very poorly written.

5. A fresh eye looking over your work is more likely to pick up on points that the writers will miss.

There are different editing and proofreading services that may be provided. You may like to hire an editor to completely go over your manuscript. Or you may consider using a copy-editor or proofreader. If you are confident in your own writing ability and believe that it is very near to publishable stage, then a proofreader may best serve your needs. If, on the other hand, you have never published anything before and are not confident about your writing skills, you may like to hire an editor. Some editors will also provide manuscript assessments.

Next time you are reading a book and feel inadequate because you could never write like that, think again. The writer of the book probably can't write like that on a first draft, either. But I can almost guarantee that the writer has done something that you can do too - he has edited his work.

Submitted by:
Liz Palmer
Liz Palmer is a freelance writer and editor. She provides copywriting, copyediting and proofreading services at very reasonable rates. For more information, contact Liz at palmer19@grapevine.com.au.



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