World-Building for Every Genre: A Checklist

“World-Building for Every Genre: A Checklist” by Mia Botha | 13th July, 2016 | Writers Write.

“Last week I discussed the importance of setting and what we can learn from sci-fi and fantasy writers about world-building. By following  their guidelines, we can strengthen our setting and make our worlds more complete.

Here is a checklist to get you started. Below the checklist are questions you might consider for each category. I tried to use examples that are not considered fantasy or sci-fi.Word_Building_For_Every_Genre-1

  1. Genealogy
  2. Work life
  3. Clothing
  4. Food
  5. Hygiene
  6. Rituals and holidays
  7. Technology
  8. History
  9. Religion
  10. Language
  11. Gender roles
  12. Family life and structure
  13. Procreation
  14. Politics
  15. Education
  16. Geography
  17. Water and resources.

I have left a few blank squares for you to add your own ideas. This will vary from story to story, but I hope it will help you shape your story to create a complete world.”

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Comma Splice

CommaSplice“Comma Splice” by Mignon Fogarty | 24th June, 2010 | Grammar Girl.

“I decided to write about comma splices because my friend Scott Sigler has a book coming out this week, Ancestor, published by Crown. Over three years ago, when he was publishing an earlier version of the book with a smaller publisher, he asked me to read it for him and be as brutal as possible with my comments. The biggest problem I found was comma splices.

How to Use Commas
Commas are tricky because there are so many different ways you can use them, but one of the most common ways to use commas is to separate two main clauses that are connected by a coordinating conjunction.”

What Is a Comma Splice?
Comma splices seem to be Scott Sigler’s biggest problem. Here’s an example from page 114 of the original Ancestor book, where one of the characters is talking about a cow named Fonzie:

Sara obviously named that one, she was a sucker for those old “Happy Days” reruns. (wrong)

It’s easy to see in that example why the error is called a comma splice: it’s because the comma is used to splice together two complete sentences when that isn’t the function of a comma.”

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Building Your Brand as an Author

medium_week50“Building Your Brand as an Author” by Anthony Ehlers | 14th December, 2016 | Writers Write.

“Building Your Brand As An Author – Where Do You Start?

Goal setting

  1. Create your author platform and brand.
Breaking it down
I was lucky enough to attend an author evening with the bestselling Australian ghostwriter and novelist, Michael Robotham. His advice to aspiring writers was to treat writing like a ‘passionate hobby’.  Great advice.
I think it keeps you focused on why you’re writing, rather than becoming obsessed with getting published. However, at some point, you have to treat writing as a career or even as a small business. And that means becoming more professional. Marketing yourself. Taking some time to understand what your brand is as an author.
You have to start acting like an author – how else will people take your seriously?
First readers
Finding first or beta readers for your novel is much like testing your product – like a focus group for a new lipstick or beer.  You want to get some feedback from a small group before you launch it to the world.
When looking for beta readers online, it’s important to find the right readers – readers who typically enjoy your genre. It’s no good inviting people who read Young Adult fiction to read your Action Adventure story.  There are quite a few platforms for beta readers online – so it’s worth doing some research before you go this route. Often it’s a good idea to start as a beta reader yourself – this will give you a better understanding of the process.
If this doesn’t strike you as a good idea – or if you’re a bit technophobic – then you can approach your writing group for a critique.  I have a handful of trusted friends who are also writers with whom I’d share my manuscript.
No writing group?  That’s not a problem. You could always show it to one trusted person – it may be your wife, your partner, an old school friend whose literary opinion you trust.  You’ll be in safer hands than a hundred anonymous readers.


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How to Start Showing and Stop Telling in Your Stories

book-1740519_640“How to Start Showing and Stop Telling in Your Stories” by Georgina Roy | 12th November, 2016 | e-Books India.

“Any aspiring writer knows the rule of “show, don’t tell.” In essence, the rule advises writers not to tell in their stories, but to show. What the rule does not dwell upon is how to show instead of tell in a story. The rule does not elaborate on how the writer can know that he has started showing and stopped telling in his story. Below, we have elaborated a bit on the difference between showing and telling, and shown how you can use both in creating a successful story. Telling also has a use in a story, and while the rule states “do not tell,” we should not rush and start showing exclusively at the expense of telling. On the other hand, telling can ruin a story, because it makes the story tedious and does not encourage the reader’s imagination. Hence, below we will analyze what you should show in a story, and what you should tell.

  1. Show in dialogue
  2. Overusing metaphors, similes and comparisons
  3. Sensory inclusion in description
  4. Avoid vague language
  5. Telling in transition scenes.”

Read more via How to Start Showing and Stop Telling in Your Stories

P.S. It’s Time To Remove Those Adverbial Dialogue Tags

medium_dialoguetags“P.S. It’s Time To Remove Those Adverbial Dialogue Tags” by Amanda Patterson | 20th November, 2016 | Writers Write.

“Do you pepper your dialogue tags with adverbs? Do you have to make your character’s tone clear, just in case the reader didn’t get it from the dialogue?

What is a dialogue tag?

Dialogue tags tell us when a character is speaking. They are every ‘he said’ and ‘she asked’ in the books you read and write.

They are important, because they tell us who is speaking. Readers do not like to be confused and you do not want them to lose interest and stop reading.

They are also useful when you want to:

  1. Break up long pieces of dialogue.
  2. Create or cut tension.
  3. Insert an action or a reaction.
  4. Add body language.
  5. Give us an idea of your character’s rhythm of speech.

Good writers make these tags disappear into the story. They do not litter their writing with detracting synonyms for ‘said’, like ‘urged’, ‘whispered’, ‘uttered’, ‘exclaimed’, and ‘grunted’. (I’m even cringing as I write them.) They do use these, but they do so sparingly.

Just as importantly, they stick to ‘said’ and ‘asked’ without over-indulging in adverbial abuse.”

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4 Remarkably Simple Tips To Help You Write Anywhere

medium_write_anywhere“4 Remarkably Simple Tips To Help You Write Anywhere” by Mia Botha | 5th October, 2016 | Writers Write.

“You know that scene in Love Actually where Jamie, Colin Firth’s character, goes on holiday and sits on an old jetty, under a wood gazebo and Aurelia, the beautiful housekeeper serves tea and sandwiches as he types away on an old typewriter filling page after page with words? That, I can tell you, is what writing is not. At least, not in the beginning.

If you’ve read Stephen King’s memoir, On Writing, you will remember that he wrote with a typewriter on his knees when he lived in a trailer. That is a more accurate account of writing.

Now, I’m not saying move to a trailer, but we tend to think the circumstances have to be ideal to be able to write. Well, they are rarely going to be ideal. We think we have to wait for the muse to infuse our hearts, minds, and fingers before we can write. We think we can only start once we have an idea. We couldn’t put a word to paper if it hasn’t been perfectly plotted and planned. And, as Louis L’Amour said, ‘The water doesn’t flow if the faucet isn’t turned on.’

We need to learn to write ‘on demand’. Anyone who has been paid to write will snigger now. When someone is waiting for an article you get it out. You don’t know how, but you make it work. You need to do the same with your writing.”

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Writing Dual POVs

dualpov“Writing Dual POVs” by Kat Brzozowski (Swoon Reads) | 25th August, 2016 | Mignon Fogarty, Grammar Girl.

“One of the most important decisions authors make when they embark on a new manuscript is which point of view, or POV,  to use to best tell the story. Once you’ve decided between the first person and the third person, it may feel like your job is done. It’s not.

What if you’ve chosen the first person POV, but you want to include another first person POV from a different character instead of sticking to just one? How will you differentiate between the two POVs, and what benefits and risks can come with using more than one POV?

Why You Would Use Dual POV

Most stories are told from just one POV. If you’re writing a novel about Judy and her journey to become an astronaut, you may choose to write her story in the first person POV. However, since the first person POV restricts the reader to seeing only through Judy’s eyes, using one POV can limit the sort of story you’re able to tell. It may be necessary to include another POV so we can get the first-person perspective of another character whose knowledge and experience will deepen your manuscript. If Judy is on Earth training for her mission and we need to know what’s happening on the space station, you might include the first person perspective of Bill, who’s up in space. By including Bill’s POV, you’re able to add elements to the story that are impossible to get from Judy’s POV back on Earth.”

Read more via Writing Dual POVs

5 Traits All Great Writers Have

5“5 Traits All Great Writers Have” by Kavitha | 30th Apr 30, 2015 | e-books India.

“You often wonder what makes a writer great. Some achieve fame overnight, while others get it posthumously. Some writers approach the purely whimsical, while others deal with burning social issues of the time. There have been great writers in every age all over the world, and the one thing that binds them together is that they have produced masterpieces that are still talked about and read today. There are no simple rules to be a great writer, but all great writers share a few simple traits that help them to achieve greatness. Read on to learn what these are.

  1. Attention to detail
  2. Vivid imagination
  3. Commitment to writing
  4. Storytelling skills
  5. Research skills.”

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How to Let Your Characters Tell Their Story

dialogue“How to Let Your Characters Tell Their Story” by Anthony Ehlers | 26th September, 2013 | Writers Write.

Dialogue (dy- ã- log) noun: words spoken by characters in a novel, play or screenplay. Dialogue is what story people say. Though it must sound as natural as people talking in real life, every word must be filtered to suit a character, the plot and other elements of your story.

One of the main functions of dialogue is to show conflict between two characters.

It should also be used to show a character’s emotions.

It is also a great tool for rounding out a character, making him more vivid and believable in the reader’s mind. Through the idiosyncrasies of his speech, we learn more about his true character.

Read more via How to Let Your Characters Tell Their Story


How Reading Can Help Your Writing

read“How Reading Can Help Your Writing” by CS Rajan | 26th February, 2014 | E-books India.

“Developing a good reading habit is essential for a writer. Reading a lot can benefit writers in various ways. It is a sure fact that extensive reading can make better and more successful writers. Some of the best-selling authors claim that when they are not writing, they are reading.

If you are not already a regular reader of books, it might be time to start now. With such an amazing selection of books of every possible genre, type and style available at your fingertips these days, you are sure to find something that you will enjoy reading on a regular basis.

The following looks at how reading can help your writing:

  1. Build your Vocabulary
  2. Make your Writing Flow Better
  3. Help Develop your Own Writing Style
  4. Expand your Knowledge
  5. Get Inspired.”

Read more via How Reading Can Help Your Writing