You Are Not Tolstoy or Dickens

You Are Not Tolstoy or Dickens Whenever I talk about the guidelines and conventions that are expected in today’s fiction—for example, don’t go overboard with description, or… show, don’t tell—I always get writers pushing back with the classic “classics” argument. They’ll say things like, “But what about Charlotte Bronte? What about F. Scott Fitzgerald? You’d probably reject THEM if they came across your desk, too.” Yep, I just might. This is not 1925 nor is it 1847. This is 2011 and the trends today are different – readers want something different. Neither Bronte nor Fitzgerald were competing with television, video games, the world wide web or BLOGS to get readers’ attention. How is a reader today different than a reader 100 years ago? Let us count the ways. 1. We are more...
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Writing Rules

Writing Rules Guest blogger: Rachel Hauck I’m just going to say it: Writers do need rules. Rules apply to structure – how a story is crafted and told. Voice and style are flexible. But story structure definitely has rules, and they give the author freedom to create. A friend of mine was studying architecture. She loved drafting and creating beautiful buildings. She hated the rules and the math. Her professors would look at her designs and say, “Ruth, it’s gorgeous, but it’s going to fall down. You have to learn the math.” She caved. “Once I learned the math and the rules, I had more options and more freedom to create what I wanted!” The same applies to writing. A good story typically has certain elements: Motivation, conflict and tension Inciting incident A story question...
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