Friday, February 22, 2019

Interior Monologue Pros and Cons--How Do You Integrate Thoughts, Feelings, and Talking to Yourself?

Here's a great definition of interior monologue:  "a conversation a character is having with themselves, internally."  Read more here.  Some writers call it internal dialogue.  Or thought tags.  But whatever you call it, it's happening inside.  

As an editor, I have strong opinions about interior monologue. 

Friday, February 15, 2019

Warning: Writer's Message Ahead! The Dangers of Platforms in Fiction and Memoir

One of my students is writing his first novel, a work of historical fiction that he has researched carefully.  He became interested in the real subject of this story many years ago and has been on a fast track ever since, learning how to create a strong and engaging tale while staying as true as possible to the facts behind it. 

When he attended my writing retreat last February in Tucson, we discussed ways to integrate the facts of the era and politics into his story.  So much good material, so many great bits to bring in, but how much is right for the story--and what's just for him, in his own fascination with it? 

Monday, February 4, 2019

How to End Your Book--What Not to Wrap Up

As a journalist for several decades, I was taught well by my editors how to wrap up an article, interview, or column.  Leave the reader with resolution but come to a definite conclusion. 

When I began writing books, I learned a different approach, which is especially common in memoir and fiction these days:  create an ending that hovers.  

In other words, the basic plot is wrapped up satisfactorily, but the inner story, or character's trajectory, is left with unanswered questions.  You may feel this is bad for your reader, but here's an article that might change your mind.  It's our writing exercise this week:  to read, consider, and examine your own endings to see if they reflect this idea.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Avoiding the Midbook Slump: Three Techniques to Keep Readers Reading

Marie, a blog reader, has been working on her storyboard and organizing her chapters, using the three act system that is so helpful for sorting out what belongs and what doesn't in early drafts and revisions.   She's concerned about the middle of her book, though.  
"Act I is comprised of chapters with progressive complications for my protagonist," she writes.  But in the beginning of Act II, Marie's protagonist begins recovering from her problems.  "These chapters are turning out to be much more tied up in a bow but I want to keep the reader interested until my protagonist gets smacked with a big problem at the climax of Act II.  How do I let my protagonist recover from problems at the beginning of Act II yet keep the reader wondering/questioning/guessing?"