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Archive for May 10th, 2010
1. Never open a book with weather
2. Avoid Prologues
3. Never use a verb other than ”said” to carry dialogue.
4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb ”said” . . .
5. Keep your exclamation points under control.
6. Never use the words ”suddenly” or ”all hell broke loose.”
7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
9. Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.
10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.
and finally, and best of all:
If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.
Start at “C”, so I don’t get so many “A”s
This week you will write a written piece to go along with one of the photographs above.
Five hundred words maximum! No longer than that. Since we’ll be publishing some of these on the web, they need to be a length that’s easiest to read on the web.
Step One: Look at the photos above, for each one, where is the entry point into the world of fiction? Is it the way the day looks, is it the background, is it the facial expression? There is an expression, in Latin called en medias res which means in the middle of things, or in the middle of the action as far as our scene is concerned. Which means that you should start your scene right in the middle of the action, anything else is throat clearing, or a conversation where all someone does is cough, and that would be boring right?
It is a general rule in writing fiction that when you are first starting out, and by starting out I mean those that have yet to write and publish a novel, that you start writing in the first person.
Remember folks, the picture is only a prompt, at some point you might veer off into uncharted territory, that is okay. This time around there are no required items, nothing but one of the pictures to write about, the lighting and space around it, and the limits of your own imagination.
A helpful hint is to keep a running inventory of your objects, and as you write, stay with the force of your story, keep asking yourself, where is this person going, what are they doing, what are they holding on to. Doing this helps keeps the momentum flowing, and momentum is what you need in your story to make it compelling.
Step Two: In five hundred words, no more, write a scene involving a character and the space around them. You can use other characters, but not more than two, due to space restrictions. Do not try to cram a full novel into a scene, slow the pacing down, and focus on one decision made or not made, maybe it is the first time a student realizes the amazing creative power that they have to create an image. Maybe a girlfriend learns something she’d rather not about the boyfriend, maybe a teenage male finds out he is gay, it is in little moments like this, during the turning points in our lives, that we reveal the stuff of life. .
Don’t rush through this assignment, and the same conventions go for this assignment as the last, make it sound spoken, don’t make it sound like a romance novel, or a vampire novel, this is your voice, your issues, let’s rip into them and have some fun!
Due into my drop box on or before, May 18th, 2010.
Elmore Leonard’s Ten Rules for Writing Fiction is here. And let me tell you, from one Fiction writer to another, these rules work.
Just who is Elmore Leonard anyway?
Aside from the short stories already noted, a number of Leonard’s novels have been adapted as films, including Out of Sight in 1998, Get Shorty in 1995, and Rum Punch (as the 1997 film Jackie Brown). He has also written several screenplays based on his novels, plus original ones such as Joe Kidd.
A few of his rules I live by and write by:
“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.” & “Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.”
oh and, “Never use a verb other than ”said” to carry dialogue.” and finally, “Never use an adverb to modify the verb ”said”.”
Use these and right away, you are PRO!