When You Should Add Background to Your #Story (and How Much)

Storylines that are confusing can seem as senseless as using a hammer on a screw or a wrench on a nail.  Sure the intention is there, but at the end of the day will the goal be met successfully?

As a writer, we all want our story to be great.  And from our perspective it is.  But if our readers (or watchers in this case) can’t follow along, they will lose interest and we may not get them back when we put out our next great thing.

A Writer's Path

by Christopher Slater

Just the other day I was watching a movie with my wife. I thought that the movie had potential, but I kept getting really confused during a good portion of it. Terminology, technology, concepts, and relationships that I didn’t understand or had never heard of kept popping up. I was getting lost in trying to figure out some of the minutiae instead of enjoying the storyline of the film.

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#Character Development: Do Clothes Make The Character

Until I read this post, I did not consider clothing in the grand scheme of character development. My thoughts focused on personality, dialect, family background, and the like for breathing life into the character.  If you really think about it, all of those things could paint a picture for the reader when there is action.  But what if the character hasn’t said a word yet?  How else would another character pick up on these things?

That’s where clothing can play a role.  Sure we shouldn’t judge people by the way they dress.  That is true.  But in a realistic way, we assess people by how they present themselves.  For instance, if a character donned a ballet bun, colorful sports bra, tennis shoes, and knee-length leggings, we’d assume the character liked to exercise.

Or consider the photo for this post.  The women are dressed in clothing from the 1920s.  Could the storyline be a modern Gatsby party?  Or could it be a peek into the sophisticated lives of people from that era?  It’s hard to tell.  But the clothing does tell a story all on its own.

All in all, this is an excellent post.  And I truly appreciate the insights that help me and others become better writers.

Global Mysteries

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Clothes can play an important role in depicting mystery novel characters. Clothing descriptions can build impressions and reveal social standing and character personality or values. Clothes are a way to describe class, taste. body image, mental health and even intent. Clothes can make your characters.

But, clothing description must have a purpose. Only describe a character’s clothing if it is important to the story.  Here are some ways writers can use clothing descriptions to enhance their novel characters:

  • In a mystery novel clothes may act as clues. This strategy has endless uses—witness descriptions, shoe prints, fibers, clothing markers.
  • Use clothing to contrast characters’ personalities—a sexy babe’s short, thigh-high skirt would contrast with her colleague’s conservative at-the-knee  hemline.
  • Use clothing to create authentic settings and scenes. Clothing will differ in foreign countries, historical settings, sciFi.
  • Clothing can enable a writer to show rather than tell basic character traits. Do his clothes show…

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The Art of Negative Space: Leaving Some Things to a #Reader’s Imagination

I totally agree with the sentiment of this post.  Writers (me included) attempt to fill every gap so the reader does not misinterpret a thing.  We want the world to see the story thru the same eyes and imagination.  But why?

When I was a member of a book club many moons ago, one of the most fascinating aspects was discussing the different viewpoints of the story.  There were perspectives I didn’t consider or bonded with others who shared similar insight.  I believe that the reader’s imagination adds an extra spice that can enhance a story.

 

Kate Flournoy, Author

Hold onto your hats. We’re going to get theoretical.
In the past I’ve had a great deal of fun mystifying you with statements such as this:

Honestly, a good fifty percent (probably more) of any story is written entirely in the reader’s head. You don’t need to vomit the entire universe and all of humanity onto the page; you’re already writing it on an infinite human soul that will recognize it at a glance and fill in all the gaps.
Your job is simply to guide the emotions of the reader in the direction you want.

Well guess what. I’m going to mystify you further by expounding on how exactly one accomplishes that.
I call it ‘The Negative Space Phenomenon’. The more practical term for it is ‘reader engagement’. (My terms are so much cooler.)

So first of all, what is negative space?

Negative space, in art, is the space…

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#Writers Guide to Creating Realistic Characters

I’m always amazed at the wonderful tips, tricks, and insights I find thru Pinterest.  And today’s infographic adds to these exceptional tips.

Below is a chart based on the 5 P’s to developing a character – physical, psychological, personal, personality, and practices.  What’s creative and helpful about this chart is that it’s quick, easy to comprehend, and has enough facets to build a substantial character.  By the time, the writer is done, it should feel as if he/she’s known this character for a long time.

 

 

#Journaling for Peace of Mind and #Writing Success

There are moments in my life when I have so much clutter in my brain that it’s hard to think straight. Then there are other times a recent event reminds me of a fond memory, and I want to capture it. That’s when the mighty paper and pen come in handy.

Journaling has a variety of benefits:

  • Helps clear the mind
  • Serves as a visual reminder of things accomplished/lessons learned
  • Strengthens the brain
  • Keepsake for family members after we’re long gone

In Ruth Folit’s article Why Good Writers Keep Journals, journaling helps writers find their voice.  It opens a world through introspection and insight to people and things around them.  This peek into life can be beneficial for creating realistic characters and storylines.

The piece below from Writer’s Relief expounds on the above concepts in more detail, and provides a guide for effective journaling.

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Many of us keep journals to reduce stress or to record life’s events for posterity, and writers especially should make use of this creative outlet. Journaling can be a great tool for writers—the journal becomes a repository for fresh ideas and a safe place to write. Whether it’s a spiral notebook or a leather-bound book with a beautiful cover, a writer’s journal should be a source of inspiration.

There is an endless variety of journals to choose from. Select something that inspires you, that makes you eager to crack your journal open and turn to a fresh page. A beautiful diary with fun pockets or an elegant cover will make writing a pleasure. Invest in a fun or really fancy pen to use just for your journaling. Then, you are always ready to write!

Keep your journal handy for jotting down those whimsical ideas or brilliant first sentences that pop into your head at the oddest moments. If your journal is large or bulky, keep a spiral-bound pocket-sized notebook around. You can then transfer your ideas to the larger journal.

Write regularly and on a schedule. Get into the habit of writing each day, and you’ll be perfecting your craft at the same time.

A journal is meant for no one’s eyes but your own, so let those ideas flow unfettered. A little stream of consciousness is good for the soul, and no one will be looking over your shoulder, judging you on punctuation issues or your choice of simile. Sometimes when we let ourselves go and just write, we gain priceless personal insights—and these insights can help us to be better writers.

Later on, you can use your journal entries to write a memoir of your life before you became a famous writer!

If the ideas aren’t flowing, try some writing prompts and power your way through writer’s block. Sometimes the very act of writing will clear the path for new ideas and recharge your sagging muse. A Poet’s Companion by Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux includes writing prompts applicable to either prose or poetry at the end of many chapters.

Some writers add newspaper clippings, sketches, or magazine articles to their journals—anything that inspires them. Others keep pictures or make lists. That’s the beauty of a journal—there are no rules, and this freedom is the catalyst that can unleash your creativity.

We can also go paper-free and buy journaling software, keeping a record of our thoughts and ideas on our personal computers. These programs have the standard word-processing capabilities, and most allow the user to add graphics, sound bites, and charts. If you’re thinking of buying, try the 30-day free trial period available with most of the software. If a trial period is not available, make the most of user-review sites like www.epinions.com. A few to check out:

Alpha Journal (www.alpharealms.com/journal/index.htm)

Digital Diary (www.ajebe.com)

The Journal (www.davidrm.com)

This article has been reprinted with the permission of Writer’s Relief, a highly recommended author’s submission service. We assist writers with preparing their submissions and researching the best markets. We have a service for every budget, as well as a free e-publication for writers, Submit Write Now! Visit our site today to learn more.</span?

6 Tips for Making a Workspace Conducive to Writing From the Pen of Jade Anderson

I didn’t realize how important it was to delegate a space or the use of natural light for writing until a few years ago. Both make a very important difference in how well the creativity flows.

For example, there’s a park I like around the corner from my house. Being outdoors and in the space that’s comfortable gave me such inspiration. It’s where I wrote Comfortable in My Own Skin which is still one of my top reviewed posts.

Nicholas C. Rossis

Jade Anderson | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's bookThis is a guest post by Jade Anderson is an experienced In-house Editor at Upskilled. With a background in online marketing, Jade runs some successful websites of her own. Her passion for the education industry and content is displayed through the quality of work she offers.

6 Tips for Making a Workspace Conducive to Writing

Workspace | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's book Image: Pixabay

No matter what type of content you’re writing, whether it’s fiction, investigative journalism, feature pieces or academic articles, the environment that you write in has a big impact on how well you put that piece together. Writing takes skill, for sure, but where you write can affect how you write because if there are distractions in your workplace, your writing is likely to reflect that. As a writer, your workspace should be inspiring and comfortable in equal measure. It should be somewhere you can focus and reflect. Here are five tips for creating…

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Don Draper’s Guide to Fantastic Writing

When it comes to successful creativity and slogans that might-have-been, look no further than AMC’s Mad Men.  During it’s original run from 2007-2015, I missed out on the thought-provoking, artisty, dry wit, and shenanigans of the fictional advertising staff of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.  But I’m lucky!  I’m able to catch the reruns.

It’s interesting to watch Don’s take on an idea, sometimes stumbling upon a great ad campaign along the way.  For example SnoBall.  He took the concept of “a snowball’s chance in hell” and turned it into something consumers would find humorous and memorable.  Now that’s good writing!