One of the most popular pieces of advice for writers is to read–and do a lot of it.
Yes, read. Simple as that.
Read bestsellers, read everything in your chosen genre, read anything and everything you can get your hands on.
Reading gives you a critical eye into the craft of writing. It’s very important to study how different authors put their stories together.
Pay attention to things like Point of View (POV), the use of show don’t tell, and the settings. All of these things, when you’re looking for them, are fascinating to discover. Often, a practiced writer will weave those things in without the reader being smacked over the head.
I’ve always been an avid reader. Now I’ve added Audio Books to my enjoyment so I can listen while doing mundane tasks like laundry.
So, reading is a given if you want to write well. But…
One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was: When you’re in a part of your manuscript or story where things are moving really fast. The action is flying and answers are beginning to come to the surface, or more questions are being raised….
Yup, it’s in those moments when our brains race so fast as the picture is in our head and we know exactly what’s happening and our muse is having our fingers fly over the key board, but it’s at this exact spot in the story when you want to slow down and sprinkle a few details around to keep it real.
At this time, when the protagonist is at their mot harried… slow your pace and pay attention. Small details about setting or a character could take your story from good to fantastic.
I like to put myself in the situation and then consider the senses. Don’t get bogged down in the details. I just want you to consider these things to add tension/conflict and not miss things.
What am I seeing? What detail can I bring into the prose to make it more interesting.
What am I hearing? Often as writers’ we forget about sound except for speaking or emphasis. In the climax of action though, consider the sounds. Is there a clock ticking off in the background? Perhaps a dog barking in the other room?
What am I smelling? This can be a difficult one to describe. Close your eyes and imagine the scene. Is there a smell of oil, or the beach? What is it? Does it add to the scene.
What am I tasting? While this may not be one you add in often, it can be effective at times.
What am I feeling? Get into the physical being of the protagonist. Do they have a dry mouth? maybe their hands are shaking?
By slowing yourself down at those pivotal moments in your story telling you can take your writing to the next level.
Go For It.
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