alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (Mascot)
I don't have Internet right now, so I am swooping in and out as wireless presents itself. But I did see this article on effective settings, and since it mentions something I consider crucial I thought I'd share.

Beginning writers often:

* wait until it’s too late to describe and orient the reader as to place;
*or totally forget that the reader has no idea where the character is in the story, because the location has suddenly moved from a known to a new, unknown location.


If I write, Joe left his home and went to the city, the setting is so vague that it leaves you clueless and frustrated. But if I write, Joe left his beachside cottage and drove into Lake Forest City, a northern suburb of Seattle, the addition of a few specifics gives you enough to inhabit the character’s world while keeping the main focus on what’s happening in the story.


I often tell students and clients that we live in a very visual age. If you don't give enough hints to anchor a reader's vision, they will create their own scene. And then later, when you toss in something very specific, your reader has a problem. It may be very different from what they have already visualized, throwing them out of the book--or they may like their version better. Try not to bring the reader to a halt at that point. Give them a few visuals up front!
alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (Mascot)
Over at Book View Cafe, writer Sherwood Smith talks about participating on a convention panel where everyone wrote up their top three problems/"don't do this" things, and then discussed them. My title is slightly different because some of us have blind spots and old tracks we follow, and we often remove the same things from our first stream-of-consciousness drafts. So these are beginner errors, but things like favorite words or images can creep into any writer's manuscript. Making a pass and just correcting these things will make a huge difference in the quality and readability of your manuscript.

One of my own personal favorites--always try to read the work aloud. Your ear will tell you when something isn't working, or a bad rhythm is developing.

"I think these lists interesting mostly because they reveal writerly process at least as much as they do beginner errors. Some of the best discussion arose out of what some considered no error at all, and others considered advice for revision, not for first draft errors, and what the difference was.

"For pants writers (those who sit down and let the tale spin out through their fingers before going back to see what they have) one set of rules might be helpful and another useless; for plotters and planners, a completely different set."
alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (Default)
I've seen portions of this list, but never this much, and have no idea who wrote it. It's posted at this site:

http://bertc.com/english.htm

I was pleased to find out I got almost all of them (and finally learned how to pronounce those Muses -- we'll see if it sticks) but Islington I've never been positive of, and what is this?

Foeffer

As in close to the buddy of the Grey Mouser? Feffer?

Bev, fun for your kids (but not at first!)
alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (Default)
The professor would be pleased and amused, I think.

You know...if I had been just a bit more Tolkien-obsessed and a little less interested in my own dreams and stories, I might have ended up a PhD linguist writing as a hobby language books for created languages.
alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (Default)
For research or just for fun -- see how baby names track across the last 100 years -- with color graphs!

http://www.babynamewizard.com/namevoyager/lnv0105.html
alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (Default)
Things are always interesting over at http://www.nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/ . Here's a new version of "If there's a gun hanging on the wall in the first act, it had better be fired by the last act."

“The author makes a tacit deal with the reader. You hand them a backpack. You ask them to place certain things in it -- to remember, to keep in mind -- as they make their way up the hill. If you hand them a yellow Volkswagen and they have to haul this to the top of the mountain -— to the end of the story -— and they find that this Volkswagen has nothing whatsoever to do with your story, you’re going to have a very irritated reader on your hands.” —Frank Conroy

February 2017

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