Word counts that work

This week I’m going to talk about word counts and what they could mean to you as a reader and as a writer.

What word count can mean to a reader:
How long is this story? Do I really want to read such a short/long story? Some like it long – they feel cheated by shorts and novellas; others want to get through a book in one night, or on the train ride home, so they shudder at epic word counts.

For authors, though, word counts can mean two things:

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Semicolons, Em-dashes, and Ellipses

This week I’m going to talk about some interesting punctuation marks that you should certainly try in your writing.

First, I’m going to define what a clause is, because we’ll be talking about it a lot in the following section.

A clause is a group of words – it forms part of a sentence AND contains a subject and a verb.

For example: Tanay stepped into the en-suite bathroom and began to look for a shaving kit.

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Point of View in story-telling

When it refers to real life, a Point of View is the “position from which something is viewed”. In story-telling, it translates into “who is telling the story?”Whose viewpoint is it? How much of it is biased because it is only one point of view? How much can a reader believe if it is coming from one ‘position’ only?Let me try and answer these questions.

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Midpoints that impel the story onwards

This week I’m going to talk about how to write a midpoint that keeps the reader turning the pages.As the word suggests, the midpoint of a story comes right at the center of it.How should it be written?Why should we care?Regardless of what genre we write, the first quarter of the story is invariably where the characters are introduced to the reader and where the events that complicate the main characters’ lives take place.This part is the set-up to the second quarter of the story which highlights how the characters react to the life-altering events (job offer, job loss, tragedy, natural disaster, unexpected inheritance) that beset them.Their reactions drive the story forward – if they don’t react, there will be no story.

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Writing Love Scenes

When there’s a romance brewing between two characters in a story, even in genres other than romantic fiction, readers will want the characters to, at the very least, kiss.

When I’m reading, I know that I always want that to happen – and I feel let down when a story with a promising slow-sizzle ends without a physically sensual moment. I’m sure the protagonists feel cheated too.

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Flashback in Fiction

What is a flashback?
It is a scene narrated in the present timeline but it pertains to something that happened in the past – something that took place before the current story starts.
A flashback refers to an event so compelling and powerful that it sits in the character’s memory – and it has contributed to make the character who she is.
How can you tell if your story needs a flashback?

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He said, she said: Dialogue Tags

This week, I’m going to talk about Dialogue Tags.

If my book characters say something, how will readers know who spoke?
How will they know who said what when they can’t physically see or hear the characters?

Through dialogue tags, that’s how. Dialogue tags are phrases or sentences that tie or tag a character to a particular dialogue.

Consider this conversation (Example A):
‘What on earth are you doing?’
‘How is it any of your bloody business what I do?’
‘It is my bloody business because this is my bloody house!’

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Is your writing clichéd to the hilt?

A cliché is a phrase that is symbolic or figurative rather than literal; for example: I am over the moon. Really? Clearly not, unless you are in a space ship, in which case it is a literal situation and therefore not a cliché.

A cliché can be an idiom, as in the example above; a metaphor [it was the final straw]; a simile [she sank like a stone]; or a proverb [knowledge is power].

At one time, eons ago, it was considered natty to use such phrases in speech and in writing. The concept was still new and they sounded clever.

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B is for Burnout

This week, the letter is B, and I’m going to talk about Writer’s Block and Burnout.

Let’s first distinguish Writer Burnout from Writer’s Block.
I read an interesting take on the topic at Litreactor.com:
When the voices in your head refuse to speak to you, it is Writer’s Block, but when they’re shouting at you to put pen to paper, and you simply cannot, that’s Burnout.

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