Tips From a Young Writer: The Mid-Goal

Originally Posted On Knitted By God's Plan

Mid-goal? I hear some of you ask. What's that?

Well, it's a plotting device that I noticed somewhere in the writing of The Ankulen and I have used in almost every one of my books. And I searched books of writing advice, but the closest thing I've found anyone else talk about is the pre-climax (or something to that tune) which, though it's similar, has it's differences. A pre-climax is usually an echo of the official climax, the big difference being the fact that the hero fails.

The mid-goal is broader than that. And it's something that I have employed in all three of my published books, and in Infiltration. I've seen it in other books, too, so I know it's not just me. So what is it? Well, in the simplest terms possible, it's a pivotal event or a second goal for your characters to achieve that will completely shift the focus of the novel and on which the ultimate goal and climax of your book relies. Usua…

Tips From a Young Writer: Beginnings

Originally Posted on Knitted By God's Plan.

Once upon a time ... (Any old Fairy Tale)

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times ... (Tale of Two Cities)

There once was a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it ... (The Voyage of the Dawn Treader)

Every good story has to begin somewhere. It needs an opening line that peeks your interest and makes you want to read more. It needs an opening chapter that introduces you to the characters, but leaves you with questions as to why are they like that!!!???

It needs a good beginning.

The question is, however, how do you get a good beginning?

First off, start with the chapter. You can always change the opening sentence later to make it sound more grabbing, but if you write a brilliant first sentence, and then it completely does not fit the book, well, it'll just make you cry. Sure, try to make the sentence as grabbing as you can (for you, if you aren't pulled into what you're writing at the first sentenc…

Tips From a Young Writer: Editing

Originally Posted on Knitted By God's Plan

Did your villain really put on a pair of dirty Rocks? The proposal scene between hero and heroine is completely sappy and/or cheesy. You never did figure out what happened after the villain trapped the hero's younger sister on that island ... in fact, you completely forgot that your hero had had a sister!

Somehow, the words you see on the paper/computer screen is nothing like the words you remember spilling out of your fingers.

So what do you do? Do you crawl into bed, pull the blanket over your head, and decide that you will never write again, if all you can write is this horrid mess? Surely a good author wouldn't have made these horrid mistakes!

Let me let you in on a little secret. Every writer makes mistakes. Every book starts out horrid. Even the greatest books in the world have gone through the horrid stage called first draft. You're not alone. Welcome to the world of editing.

Editing? You ask. Did you just say editing? Y…

Tips From a Young Writer: Changes

Originally Posted on Knitted By God's Plan

So you're writing along, you've got a good story line, your characters are being (mostly) cooperative ... only, you've decided that maybe the story would be better if you gave Sadie a dog instead of a cat ... or if Jack were a Jill instead ... or maybe you have a few too many characters and need to get rid of a few ... or maybe the story would sound better in first person ...

In other words ... you need to make a change or two.

This is a perfectly legal thing to do. Your book is your book, and you can do whatever you want to it. Although, I will warn you, some of your characters may resent some of your changes, especially if you decide to get rid of, say, a close friend, or a close sibling, their love interest ... or them. However, your story is yours to change, and they can't really do a thing about it.

However ... if you do decide to make a change, you'll need to go through and make sure that your story is consistent…

The Rough Giraffe - Allegories with Brie Donning

Tips From a Young Author - Distractions

Originally Posted on Knitted By God's Plan

So you're writing along. You've got a good enough plot, your characters are being at least somewhat cooperative ... thing is ... you're starting to get a tad bit bored. Maybe you're at a slow spot, maybe you're just not quite sure how to get your hero out of the cage so that he can get the heroine off of the dangerous cliff. Whatever the case, suddenly your little brother or sister's Barney video is strangely interesting ...

Or ... wait, your room is messy, you'd better go clean it up. And - Oh! - it's such a beautiful day outside, you've just got to go for a nice walk in the woods. Or maybe, hmmmm..... hey, what's for lunch?

Anyways, you keep getting distracted. No matter how hard you try, or at least pretend to try to keep yourself interested in what you're writing, suddenly, you've got a whole plate of more important things to do.

Well, you're never going to get anything written if yo…

Tips From a Young Writer: Conversation

Originally Posted on Knitted By God's Plan

If you write a work of fiction, it's very likely that you'll have conversation. Some stories use it more than others. It's important to do it right, or it may destroy the story.

First, you have to make sure that conversation sounds natural. It has to be written in such a way that, if read aloud, it sounds like people are actually talking. A good test for that is to actually read it aloud. Also, get someone else to read it aloud. You happen to know exactly how they were supposed to talk, a second reader doesn't.

Here are a few tips that I've found useful for making natural sounding conversation:

Use contractions. Most people like to talk fast. They do not like to slow down to say each word individually. Unless it is a quirk for a particular character to say every word distinctly, use contractions.

Elliptical sentences. When you talk, much is understood. People don't like to be repetitious when they talk. When asked,…
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