Bold Statement: This is the best opening to a children’s book and to any book.
“Where’s Papa going with that ax?” said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.
“Out to the hoghouse,” replied Mrs. Arable. “Some pigs were born last night.”
“I don’t see why he needs an ax,” continued Fern, who was only eight.
“Well,” said her mother, “one of the pigs is a runt. It’s very small and weak and it will never amount to anything. So you father has decided to do away with it.”
“Do away with it?” shrieked Fern. You mean kill it? Just because it’s smaller than the others?”
Analyze this in what you know about openings:
Posted in Character, Hero's Journey, Setting, Writing
Tagged Action, Beginnings, Character, Charlotte’s Web, Conflict, Hero's Journey, Inner Struggle, Openings, Plot, Show, Storytelling, Writing
Edit yourself (simplified) based on William Zinsser in On Writing Well
- Clutter – get the weeds out of your writing. “tall skyscraper,” “very angry, (angry by itself is stronger,) clichés of any kind.
- Simplicity. Stop. How many stories are you trying to tell? How many points are you trying to make? Clear thinking leads to clear writing
- Use ‘I’ When you can, use “I.” — It has been decided…(who decided?)
- Unity of theme, of pronoun, of tense, of mood, of attitude, of point of view. Before you start, answer all these questions.
There are many more things to consider when you edit yourself, but this is a start.
Write down your rule for editing yourself.
Posted in Writing, Writing Rules
Tagged Art, Character, Dialogue, Grammar, Passive Sentences, Punctuation, Revision, Sentence Structure, Style, Writing
Any writer worth their salt has beta readers, a knowledgeable writer who will give an honest critique. Here’s what mine said.
“I like it, Ed. I really got into the heads of some of these criminals, but who’s this Delaney?”
“What?” I replied. “He’s the hero of the novel.”
“Look,” the reader said, “you start with the day the prison opens and then you jump right into the stories of your criminals. I liked those stories, one after the other, but I never got to know Delaney.”
I was upset. I had a clear picture of Delaney in my head, the guy who pulled this new prison idea off. Why couldn’t my reader see it?
But as I calmed down, I thought about his comment. I did begin with what is now chapter five, Opening Day. Right away I portrayed the criminals one after the other, but there really was no explanation of Delaney.
So I started over. How did Delaney come up with this idea? What was the key event that put him on the path of making a change? How did people take to his idea?
I wrote the first four chapters and then added a lot more about Delaney as the story went on.
I believe with Delaney that there are a lot better ideas for prison than what we have now.
The E-book version of Delaney’s Hope is available for $2.99 at B00GFGEBMG/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1384110394&sr=8-3&keywords=Delaney%27s+Hope
Do you have a Beta Reader?
Posted in Character, Marketing and Publication, Rewrite, Writing
Tagged Action, Character, Dialogue, Hero's Journey, Inner Struggle, Obstacles, Openings, Prison, Storytelling, Writing
We make a character come alive by five things:
- Reaction(what does the character do when someone hurts him or her)
Ask yourself which way is the strongest way to make character come alive and which is the weakest?
Which are you good at and which are you weak at?
Some say that poetry is a trash compactor – it takes all the unnecessary words out of the writing. I’m not sure that’s a full definition of poetry, but it’s interesting.
Why not try it? Write a paragraph about a dramatic moment in your life, the birth of a child, meeting your partner, the death of a family member, etc. etc. Then trash compact it. Take out all the non-essential words. Or maybe take out a lot of the verbs. Try it.