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257 Posts tagged with the craft tag
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

 

Books/Publishing

 

 

Building a Literary Community: Why and How - The Creative Penn

How connecting with other authors can lead to finding more readers.            

                                       

How to Harness the Power of Viral Marketing - The Future of Ink

When you get a mention online or offline, be ready to pounce on the marketing opportunity.     

 

Film

                                                        

Filmmaking Tips from SXSW: Some of Indie Film's Biggest Movers & Shakers Sound Off - No Film School

A collection of insights from indie stalwarts participating in various panel events at this year's SXSW. 

 

 

How Feature Filmmaking without a Crew Is Possible - Filmmaking Stuff

Gathering an all-volunteer crew can sometimes create more problems than it's worth.                                      

Music

 

 

Checklist: What to Do before You Book the Gig - Bob Baker's The BuzzFactor.com

A little planning is prudent before you start booking gigs.

 

 

Discover How Chords Are Used in the Songs You Love - Hooktheory.com

An amazing and addictive tool that lets you see the similar chord structures of popular songs, and it even predicts what will be the next big thing in chord structure.   

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

 

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Weekly News Roundup- April 4, 2014

Weekly News Roundup- March 28, 2014

1,688 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, music, filmmaking, indie, movies, community, shows, promotions, songs, craft, filmmakers, indie_film, filming, playing, viral_marketing
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I've written about the long-standing "show it, don't say it" rule in fiction on this blog before. It's one of those writing guidelines that's hard to explain to beginning writers and sometimes even more to experienced writers. Often, there is an inclination to write everything you're thinking in relation to a scene or include unnecessary details and long passages of exposition in your story. Neither is good for storytelling.

 

I came across a meme on Facebook the other day that struck me as the perfect definition for this crucial rule of fiction. It was a comment about the role of a teacher, but it's relevant to writers as well. The quote, attributed as anonymous, read as follows:

 

"We can show them where to look, but we can't tell them what to see."

 

To me, that's the essence of storytelling in a nutshell. Not literally, of course. We still have to paint a picture with words. I get that. But showing the reader where to look is describing the location and characters using brief details. You may include out-of-place or striking elements, but do so cautiously. Don't point it out with great fanfare using over-the-top modifiers; simply show it to the reader.

 

For example, you can write a scene in which you draw the reader&'s attention to the crooked smile of a homeless man soliciting for food. There is no need to explain why the man is smiling. Allow readers to arrive at the reason for that smile on their own. The more readers participate in a story by filling in those details you leave out, the more they become part of the experience. 

 

When it comes down to it, we writers have to learn to trust readers to see the details we leave out. That's how you show your readers where to look without telling them what to see. 

 

 

-Richard

 

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Keep Them Guessing to Keep Them Reading

Too Much Exposition

2,812 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, writers, writing, description, drafts, craft, show_vs_tell, writin_process
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I'm going to sum this blog post up in one word, but I'm going to save that word until the end. This single word is the key to becoming exponentially more productive as a writer. It will set your mind free and allow ideas to flow. It will turn your focus to creative thought and expression.

 

Here's the kicker: You know this word, and it's not going to surprise you just how powerful it truly is. You know its meaning and just how liberating it can be. Every time you interrupt a writing session to see what's happening in the world, this word most likely flashes in your brain. Every time you pop on over to Facebook to see what your friends are up to, this word smacks you in the face. Every time you construct a tweet and set it free on Twitter, this word wraps itself around your gut, telling you to take heed. 

 

Spending a day in the glory of this word, observing its meaning with discipline and dedication can make all the difference to your writing. It can clear your path of distractions and lift your artistic spirits. You will write more if you just listen to this word. In fact, if every time you feel the need to pull up your browser, you say this word to yourself instead, you will find the time and the passion to write. It's inevitable.

 

And just what is this word? It is that six letter gem: UNPLUG. 

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Writing Takes Discipline

When Are You Most Productive?

3,461 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, drafts, writing_process, craft, writer's_block, author_tips
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I don't have the best memory, so when I'm working on a book, I've learned to use my phone to keep me from forgetting a good idea if I'm not at my desk. My first preference is to use sticky notes, but I don't always have them (not to mention a pen) with me. I almost always have my phone, however. Here are three tricks you can use:

 

  1. Voice recorder: My smartphone comes with a "voice recorder" app built right in. How cool is that? I just open it, push the button and leave myself a message. Sometimes they're super short (Make protagonist a redhead! Name the brother Rick!), but the beauty of a voice recording is that I can also ramble a bit when I want to. I'm the only one who's going to listen to the messages, so they don't have to be remotely polished.
  2. Evernote: I keep hearing how great Evernote is. With the Evernote app, you can keep all types of content related to your book - including photos you might snap that inspire you - all in one place.
  3. Email/text messages: I text and email myself little reminder notes all the time. They are short and sweet and riddled with typos, but they are filled with useful information I wouldn't otherwise remember. I'm chuckling as I write this because it sounds a bit ridiculous, but it works!

 

 

When it comes to writing a book, you never know when inspiration will strike. You're not in front of your computer 24/7, so neither is your imagination. My memory isn't smart enough to keep track of everything on its own, so it's a good thing my phone is.

 

-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, and Chocolate for Two. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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Six-Second Branding with Apps

More Tips for Completing Your Manuscript

3,774 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, craft, evernote
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There is a belief among a large number of people that artists only create worthwhile material out of tragedy, that hardship is the engine that drives the creative process. As a youngster finding my way as a writer, I even latched on to this particular philosophy and forced myself into states of contrived depression in order to find my creative force. I wanted to fit the part, after all.

 

But as I've grown as a writer, I've come to realize that the tragedy doesn't have to be my tragedy. In fact, I've never been able to successfully express my feelings about my own personal struggles in a book. However, I can explore the tragedies that befall my characters. It's surprisingly easy for me to deconstruct and lay out on the page.

 

I reject the notion that the only worthwhile artist is the starving artist. I think we all have something to say. Happy, depressed, angry, sleepy, etc., everyone has something to say. That something doesn't necessarily have to belong to us. It can belong to our characters. I would even go so far as to suggest that it should belong to our characters. The writer should be as removed from the process as possible.

 

As you're writing, don't focus on yourself and your emotional state. Try to reach a point where you're nothing but an observer. Don't write what you feel. Write what you see. Give your characters room to be themselves. Your tragedy or triumphs shouldn't be apparent in the stories you write.

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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What Do Your Characters Want?

Feeling Emotion for Characters

2,441 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, author, writers, writing, craft
1

I have a book I've been writing for a number of years now. It's not my primary focus, and I only work on it when I've cleared other projects off my plate. This book is a passion project for me because it was something I started during the final year of my mother's life. She wasn't well, and she required care that my sister heroically provided. Mom always asked me what book I was working on ? even at her sickest. On one occasion, I told her about a gem of an idea I had at the time. She liked the idea so much I decided to start writing it. I sent her the pages as I did. My sister ended up having to read them to her because her eyesight was failing. She loved the book, so I kept writing. I wrote without a plan; I just wrote to entertain my mother. Unfortunately, she passed before I got 100 pages into the story, and I still haven't finished the book. 

 

 

It's well over 100,000 words at this point and far from complete. Beyond knowing the book will be broken up into three parts, I have no plan for the story. There are no notes to organize my thoughts. I don't know how the characters will fare or when it will even end. It's the most unorganized writing I have ever done and I probably shouldn't admit this, but I like it. It's fun writing without a really clear path and just discovering these characters as they face situations I have no idea they will face until I am at the keyboard tapping away.

 

 

So here's my question to you, my fellow indie authors: how do you approach a story? Do you know where you're going, or does your day of writing end in utter surprise? 

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Keep a Private Journal

You Aren't Your Characters

1,529 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, author, writing, drafts, development, writing_process, craft, writing_ideas
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On Being Original

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jan 15, 2014

Today's post is a question to ponder as you explore and develop your creative writing chops. We all strive to write something different. Whether it's a new spin on an old concept or a character never before seen in a protagonist or antagonist role, we writers want to offer something not seen or imagined before. The question is: Can you be too original? 

 

New is difficult to appreciate. New is foreign, and as a result it's often misunderstood. Traditional publishers and movie studios rarely embrace material that is original for those very reasons. They are afraid they won't receive their return on investment if they try something never done before. It's impossible to know how the consumer will respond to something they've never experienced.

 

The rise of the indie artist has changed the tide dramatically in recent years. Innovative material is hitting the market like it never has before. A few of these books have gone on to find enormous success while still others have fizzled. The beauty of this DIY, inventory-free publishing model is that the artist can take risks with minimal financial investment. Yes, they invest time, but if nothing else, that investment isn't wasted because it goes toward honing the writer's craft. 

 

So as you move forward, remember you are an indie author. You have total control over the material you publish. Don't be afraid to stretch and take risks with the story. Give the reader something new not because they demand it, but because the world needs something new. The story style and structure is still evolving. The evolution of story relies on revolutionary authors who strive to write something original - even if some might call it too original.

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Should You Capitalize on Writing Trends?

3 Reasons Original Content is King

11,124 Views 2 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, writers, writing, drafts, writing_process, craft, indie_publishing, creative_writing, plot_development
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

Blog Carnival: Marketing Tips for Authors -Marketing Tips for Authors

A collection of links to posts on all-things books and publishing.         

                                                    

Too Much Vertical Space in Your Manuscript? -The Book Deal

Are you including enough writing in your writing?

 

Film

                                                        

Achieving That Film Look - New Channel Media Blog

Tips and tricks on how to give a digital image that film look.

                                          

Why All Film Directors Need To Know How to Act - NoamKroll.com

Having experience as an actor will allow you to communicate better on set. 

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Becoming a Better Singer - MusicianCoaching.com

Renowned vocal coach Linda Septien shares her thoughts on the art of singing.

 

Does Music Make You Smarter? (The Mozart Effect) -Maestro Musicians

Has music given you better spatial temporal reasoning?

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Weekly News Roundup - December 20, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - December 13, 2013

2,451 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, music, filmmaking, indie, movies, writers, writing, films, musicians, craft, filmmakers, branding, social_media
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A character arc is a fancy way of explaining how a character changes throughout the course of a story. The arc can be physical or emotional, and it doesn't have to be major, but you want your main characters, especially your protagonist, to experience some sort of change along the journey that is your novel. If your readers get to the end of your book and think "She didn't learn anything! He's still so selfish! No one matured at all!" you probably didn't tell a very interesting story. You want your readers to think the opposite. "Wow! She finally grew up! He learned that hard work does pay! They got what they deserved!" Character arcs satisfy readers, and satisfied readers come back for future books - and tell their friends.

 

I know from experience that the idea of "crafting an arc"can be daunting. However, it doesn't have to be. Here is a good way to approach it: As you set out to write, think about where your main characters are at the beginning of the story. Ask yourself questions such as:

 

What do they want?

 

What are they missing?

 

What is holding them back from getting what they want or where they need to be?

 

Ask yourself these questions first. The answers can be as broad as "She wants to find love" or as specific as "He wants to get back the ring that was stolen from his office desk." Then, as you go about developing the plot, keep those questions in mind. If the things your characters do and say throughout the story are consistently in pursuit of a goal, however small, an arc will naturally develop. Keeping those questions in mind will also stop you from going off on tangents and writing scenes that don't push the story forward, something I'll address in a future post.

 

-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, and Chocolate for Two. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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The Basic Elements of a Character Arc

What Do Your Characters Want?


4,108 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, writing, craft, character_arc
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

10 Essential Non-Writing Tools to Help Writers Write -PBS

What non-writing tools are in your arsenal?

                                                    

Getting Maximum "Bang" for Your Book Description Buck: an SEO/Author's Perspective -The Creative Penn

Author and book marketing expert Lori Culwell looks at book descriptions as an SEO professional.

 

Film

                                                        

How to Build Rapport with Movie Investors (and Other Hollywood Heavy Hitters) - Filmmaking Stuff

Because sometimes it is about whom you know.

                                          

30 Things about Screenwriting - Filmmaker IQ

The greatest hits list from Scott Myers' blog, Go Into The Story.

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Mixing and Producing: Choosing a Mix Engineer - Musician Coaching

An interview with Grammy-winning engineer Jason Goldstein.

 

Social Media to Your Band's Advantage -Musician Makers

Use social media as more than just a gig announcement tool.

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Weekly News Roundup - December 6, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - November 29, 2013

12,225 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, book, music, filmmaking, movies, writers, writing, mixing, investors, musicians, craft, screenwriting, filmmakers, descriptions, social_media, producing, writing_tips
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I self-published my first book in 2005. From the moment I had the trade paperback in my hand, I knew it wasn't going to sell itself. I scoured the Internet for information on how to sell books. The old world of publishing dominated the landscape at that time, so it was difficult parsing all the information to find strategies that fit an indie author. Slowly, I scratched and clawed my way through the gnarly marketing jungle and carved out a small, but growing niche for myself. I became known as an author who writes horror novels for young adults. It was a status that suited me just fine...at the time.

 

But I am an artist, and I like to experiment. I wanted to write something outside of the horror genre for an older audience. I tried doing just that under my name. It worked and it didn't. The book turned out as I envisioned, but most of the reader base I had built just wasn't that enamored with the work. Why should they have been? It was outside of their preferred genre, and it was written for a different demographic. I went back to my bread and butter and, as much as I enjoyed writing the other material, I decided I couldn't waste my creative time on it.

 

Then an idea came to me that I just couldn't shake. It wasn't young adult, and it wasn't horror by any stretch of the imagination. The characters, setting, and story were so clear in my mind that I couldn't help but write it. I decided early on that I would publish it, but not under my name. I would use a pen name.

 

I found it very liberating to write as someone else. If you're considering switching genres and trying something new, you might find it freeing as well. Using a pen name removes the expectations of the audience of readers you've established. Even if you choose to market to that same audience, they'll likely have a clearer understanding of the differences between your titles if you explain your choice of going with a nom de plume. You'll be able to experiment with style and language in a way you probably could not have under your established name.

 

So if you want to stretch your creative chops and untangle your imagination, I highly recommend publishing under another name. You may discover you've unwittingly been holding yourself back in certain areas. Once you exorcise those demons under a different name, you will satisfy the artist in you and become a better writer.    

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Should Authors Ever Reinvent Their Brands?

Brand Audience vs. Book Audience

6,109 Views 4 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, selling, self-publishing, sales, writing, genre, brand, craft, marketing_strategy, brand_identity, demographic
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Beats, which are a description of a character's action, are a great way to exercise show vs. tell. If you aren't familiar with show vs. tell, it's a fundamental rule of good writing. (See my post using the analogy of online dating to explain why it's so important.)

 

Here are some examples of how descriptive beats show the reader what is happening on a physical and emotional level:

 

  • Andrea stomped her foot on the ground and crossed her arms. "It's not fair!"

 

  • Robert threw the glass against the wall and watched it shatter, then turned his gaze on Karen. "I'm only going to ask you once. Tell me where he's hiding."

 

  • Amber twirled the stem of her wine glass between her fingertips and gave him the doe eyes she'd practiced in the restroom mirror. "I never do this, but would you like to join me upstairs for a nightcap?"

 

By using beats intertwined with dialogue, the above sentences paint vivid pictures of what is happening on many levels. It does this by showing the reader, not telling the reader.

 

Here are three variations of the above examples, minus the beats, that tell the reader what is happening.

 

  • "It's not fair!" Andrea declared petulantly.
  • "I'm only going to ask you once. Tell me where he is," Robert demanded.
  • "I never do this, but would you like to join me for a nightcap?" Amber inquired suggestively.

Do you see the difference? Words such as declared, demanded, and inquired have no place in good dialogue. Neither do adverbs such as petulantly or suggestively. Some authors think they're supposed to use every possible word but said to describe dialogue, when in fact they should only use said - or even better, nothing at all. That's what good beats can do for you. If you paint a clear picture of the action and emotion involved, readers can see it for themselves.

 

-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life and Honey on Your Mind. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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Use Adverbs Sparingly, Especially in Dialogue

Learning Dialogue from the Masters

2,373 Views 2 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, craft, action_beats
1

So you've gathered a group of beta-readers, and they've all given you the same feedback: Your characters are a bit one-dimensional. After mending your broken heart (and treating your throbbing headache), you decide you have to attack the problem. But how?

 

The best way to give characters depth is to give them a life outside of your novel. Back in the days before a web of technology connected the world virtually, some authors would create pages and pages of background information on their characters that served as a guideline for the behaviors they displayed in the novel itself. In most cases, this background information was completely independent of the plot of the novel. It was just a way to grow the characters and make their actions more organic.

 

The bonus of doing such a thing today is that you can take the strategy to the social media environment and give your characters a virtual background. Many authors set up accounts on various sites under a character's name and let a character mature in a very public manner. In essence, the character is forced to deal with "real" life and develop depth. As the writer, that extensive knowledge of depth will help you create a multidimensional character within the context of the story, and - BONUS - it will help you create a following and readership for your book or series. 

 

One tip before you implement this strategy: Be upfront about what you're doing. Don't present the character as a living, breathing human being. In your description, announce that this is the persona of a fictional character for your upcoming book. You don't want to mislead people into thinking they're developing a relationship with a real person.

 

Giving your characters virtual depth can give you the access to reach a lot of fans for your upcoming release and help you write a better story.

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Character and Action

What Do Your Characters Want?

1,903 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, author, writers, craft, character_development, character_arc
4

The best lines of dialogue I have ever written are things that I would never, ever say. Hyperbolically speaking, they are things I would never say in a hundred million years. On the flip side, the worst and least memorable lines of dialogue I have ever written are things I would say and have said. I'm an everyday average Joe who leads an exceedingly boring life. The things I say in real life just aren't that compelling.

 

Remember this: You aren't your characters. Love them, hate them, cry for them, and curse them, but don't design them in your own image. Some of you may disagree because you feel like your characters have to reflect your own values and experiences if you are to connect with them. And the truth is, you will share similarities with some or all of your characters just as you do with the strangers you meet in real life. But your characters are separate from you. They make decisions and behave in ways you never would.

 

It's very tempting to say things in your own voice. A novel is a powerful platform to showcase your beliefs and desires, but if you do this too much, you run the risk of writing prose that comes off as invalid or preachy. Your work will be more authentic if you remove yourself and your opinions from the equation and let the characters speak for themselves. If you think about it, readers should never know what a writer would say in a certain situation just by reading his or her books. They may think they know, but that just means you've done your job of creating believable, multidimensional characters.

 

It sounds contradictory, but the greatest compliment you may ever get from a reader is that he or she is angry with you for something "you" said in a book. But you can rest easy knowing that you didn't say it - your characters did - because your fictional universe is different from your reality.

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Finished Your Manuscript? Check Your Dialogue

Learning Dialogue from the Masters

1,820 Views 4 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, craft, dialogue
13

Here's my normal writing ritual: I write to a respectable word count for the day (rarely more than 2,000 words, although I have cranked out as many as 8,000). The next morning, I don't start where I left off. I read what I wrote the day before. Sometimes, I start from the beginning of the story and read. It settles me into the action and gives me a better sense of the characters.

 

What I've discovered is that I start off reading silently, but somewhere along the way, I switch to reading out loud. I don't know why, but there are times I just can't help myself. I've even recorded myself doing these readings. Once I got over the fact that I hate the sound of my own voice, I discovered two things listening to these readings. First, I display embarrassingly bad acting chops as I take on the personalities and voices of the various characters (trust me, Mr. Oscar and I will never be on a first-name basis). 

 

But secondly, and more importantly, reading out loud helps me hear bad writing. There are passages that I have written with great care and particular pride that I tore to shreds once I heard the words coming out of my own mouth. I honestly had no idea what I was thinking. Had I not recorded myself reading the material, there's a chance I would have missed how utterly awful it was.

 

I encourage you to give this exercise a try. Turn on your computer microphone, read your story, and listen. It may be weird, perhaps even a little unsettling at first, but in the end, it will help you become a better writer.   

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Creative Writing Exercises

Catching the Vanishing Idea

6,856 Views 13 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, editing, proofreading, drafts, craft, rewriting
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