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Welcome to the Virtual Classroom This presentation covers useful writing tips. I think you will find them simple, effective, and a great way to improve.

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Presentation on theme: "Welcome to the Virtual Classroom This presentation covers useful writing tips. I think you will find them simple, effective, and a great way to improve."— Presentation transcript:

1 Welcome to the Virtual Classroom This presentation covers useful writing tips. I think you will find them simple, effective, and a great way to improve your craft Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

2 Fiction Writers develop their craft by writing. Although writing is an art, there are skills, tools, and techniques that can be learned in order to develop talent. Constructive criticism and feedback can help this process. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

3 Fiction readers EXPECT the work to completely authentic. Readers DO NOT want to struggle with the conflict created by characters who don’t fit into the setting the author creates. Readers WANT TO BELIEVE the story, albeit, briefly. So it’s your job to make sure the story IS REALISTIC. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

4 TIP Write about what you know, or things you have personal knowledge of, and can research thoroughly. MUST To write well, you MUST be convincing. MUST Whatever you say MUST sound believable. NEED If you’re describing a process, to write convincingly about it, you NEED to really understand what the process is. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

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6 The narrative should read as if the writer really knows what he or she is writing about. That is why research is essential. Always check the facts. Don’t presume to know. Find out! Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

7 To be a good writer you need to read a lot, listen and carefully observe everything that goes on around you, and write a often. Writing requires discipline, because it’s hard work; but extremely satisfying. Establishing a writing routine is important. It is very easy to become distracted and find other things to do. A compulsion to write is extremely useful. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

8 Fiction writers must have a good grasp of the English language, but most of all they must be great storytellers. A really good story can compensate for less-than-brilliant writing, but brilliant writing will not save a bad story. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

9 Major Components of Stories Plot: the organization of events that will take place in the story. Characters: the people or animals who will be in the story. Setting: the physical time and place in which the story takes place. Dialogue: the words spoken by the characters in the story. Point of view: relative identification of the narrator with the characters. Theme: the main idea or meaning behind a story. Style: the writer's use of the language. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

10 PLOT Plot (and of course the characters) carries the other elements of the story. The plot must be believable, plausible, and interesting. It is a sequence of events connected in a cause-and-effect manner. Generally the plot consists of a series of increasingly more intense conflicts, a climax (the most intense part of the story), and a final resolution. The plot must be advanced as the story unfolds. Usually the closer to the end of the story the climax is placed the better. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

11 Long works, like novels, can have many subplots and secondary climaxes and resolutions. Avoid using subplots in order to have cliché characters. Avoid too many coincidences. Flashbacks have been overused. A story is stronger when it runs chronologically Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

12 Characters The reader should be able to identify with, and care about, the characters in the sense that the characters seem real to the reader. The characters must do something, and what they do must seem reasonable for them to have done it. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

13 Characters should be introduced early in the story. The more often a character is mentioned, or appears, the more significance the reader will attach to the person. Also, the main character should be introduced before setting, so that the setting can be introduced from the point of view of the character. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

14 The nature of characters can be brought out through minimal description and through the actions, thoughts, and character’s dialogue. The writer should allow the reader to make judgments about the characters; the writer should avoid making the judgments for the reader. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

15 The feelings of the character should be demonstrated by actions, rather than told by the narrator. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

16 However, there are some very good stories in which much of the narration is about a character's feelings and thoughts, or in which, the narration goes into great detail and analysis of a character's feelings and thoughts at some point. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

17 The ONE true rule about writing is that there are no rules. Well not really anyway. If it works, IT WORKS. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

18 There are TRUE guidelines. Learn from the experience of others. Many great writers show us what works and what doesn’t. Learn from them. Why waste time making mistakes if you can avoid them. Bad writing does harm your reputation. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

19 Readers remember the names of good authors. If they enjoy the book, they will remember the writer’s name. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

20 If a reader does not enjoy the book, they rarely remember the author’s name. And if they do, it will be because they didn’t enjoy the work. They will just remember the author writes badly. Readers rarely go back to see if the author has improved over time. The author stays on the BAD AUTHOR list. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

21 SETTING Setting includes the place and time in which the story takes place. The setting should be described in specifics to make the story seem real, to set the atmosphere and mood of the story, to place limitations on the characters, or to help establish the basic conflict of the story. Weather can be an important part of setting. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

22 The setting can be used for contrast, such as having something taking place in an unexpected place. Also, the more unfamiliar the reader is with the setting, the more interesting the setting. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

23 DIALOGUE Dialogue makes fiction seem real. However, dialogue that copies reality, may actually slow down a story. Avoid unnecessary or repetitive dialogue. Dialect in dialogue can be difficult to read. A small amount of it can be used to establish the nature of a character, but overuse will intrude on the story. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

24 DIALOGUE The level of use of language by the characters, i.e. pronunciation, diction, grammar, etc.- is often used to characterise people in a story. Most often the main characters use the best English. Profanity and vulgarisms can be used where they seem appropriate. Overuse amounts to author intrusion and can interrupt the reader's belief in the story. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

25 Too much exposition through dialogue can slow a story down. Characters should not repeat in dialogue, events that have already happened in the story. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

26 Also, one character should not tell another character what the second character should already know, just so the writer can convey information to the reader. The conversation will sound implausible: author intrusion. The information can be conveyed in simple narration or by having a knowledgeable character explain something to another character who reasonably should not know the information already. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

27 The form of dialogue should be varied to keep the reader interested. However, don't try to find too many different ways to say said. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

28 Interior dialogue is what a character is thinking. Dramatic dialogue is a character thinking out loud, without response from other characters. Indirect dialogue is the narrator telling what a character said. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

29 Dialogue should be used to develop character or to advance the story. It should not be used just to hear characters talk Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

30 Point of View First person point of view has the main character telling the story or a secondary character telling the main character's story. Everything that happens in the story must be seen or experienced by the character doing the narration. The reader's judgment of other characters in the story will be heavily influenced by the narrator. This can be very limiting. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

31 Also, a story written in first person usually means that the main character won't die in the story. First person point of view gives a sense of intimacy to the story. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

32 Third person point of view can be objective or omniscient. An objective narrator describes actions but not the inner thoughts or feelings of the characters. An omniscient narrator can describe all the actions of all of the characters, but also all of their inner thoughts and feelings as well. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

33 Theme The theme of a story is often abstract and not addressed directly in the narrative. It is imparted to the story by the concrete events occurring in the story. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

34 Style Style is the way the writer uses language. The longer the work the less important language becomes. Above all, the writer's work must tell a story. The writer should not be more concerned with the words used than with the story the writer is trying to tell. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

35 Don't be a fanatic about words. The language is less important than character and plot. However, a combination of a good story and good English will be a delight to read. Mistakes in English amount to author intrusion and detract greatly from the story being told. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

36 The most effective writing uses the active voice. Shorter, concrete words tend to be stronger. Long words tend to be abstract. Avoid wordiness. Write in a concise, precise, concrete, and specific manner. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

37 However, recognize that English has an enormous number of words in it, and the words can have very precise meanings. Sometimes no other word will do. And be specific. Don't mention just a tree. Tell the reader what kind of tree it was. The choice of words can help set the tone of the story. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

38 New writers are often defensive, and touchy, about their style. When offered constructive (or maybe destructive) criticism about their style, new writers may tend to say something like, "Well, that's just my style." Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

39 The implication being that the reader must like whatever style the writer decides to use. But that is backwards. It is up to the writer to please the reader, not the other way around. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

40 Other Tips - In no particular order. Be specific in your writing. The more specific the detail, the more real the story will seem to the reader. The best fiction can come from the preposterous imaginations of writers who are good storytellers. Becoming a skilled typist (on a word processor) is extremely useful to a writer. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

41 Very few people make a living from writing fiction. Revision is important. A writer can always do one more revision. At some point the writer has to stop revising and get the work published. Show, don't tell. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

42 Avoid starting a story with dialogue. Don't use clichés. The more detail in the story, the more interesting the story. Revise, revise, revise, revise,... Avoid author intrusion. Write what you like to read. Don't use exclamation points. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

43 Use surprise and irony. The shorter the story, the more important each word becomes. Descriptions and technical details must be authentic. When the reader suddenly realizes that the writer has made a mistake, the reader is jarred out his or her temporary acceptance of the story as reality, i.e., author intrusion. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

44 Avoid overused words. Success breeds success. The more published you are, the easier it is to get published again. Don't tell what happened; recreate what happened. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

45 The beginning of a story must be interesting. Readers can be lost on page one. Scorning the work of a writer does not make that writer a better writer. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

46 A Final Observation Whatever rules or tips you read about writing, you will be able to find some published work that violates them. Sometimes the violation is glaring and amounts to author intrusion. Other times the violation may actually help the story. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

47 Violation may actually help the story. This usually the occurs when the writer is an excellent wordsmith who deliberately, and with specific purpose, violates some rule or tip. Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters

48 Well that’s all for now. See you again in the Virtual Classroom soon. Cheers, Suzanne Suzanne Fleming … Writing Matters


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