Saturday, September 28, 2013
Saturday, September 21, 2013
Right now it feels like I'm spending all my time editing and rewriting. Here's an article I read at http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/showing-vs-telling-in-your-writing. We’ve all heard the dreaded "Show don't Tell" in writing. You can't always see these problems, especially in your own writing. This article will help you recognize the telling in your story and turn it into action.
Showing vs. Telling in Your Writing: The Camera Test
I’ll give you a little tool here that could revolutionize your understanding of showing and telling in fiction. I may not be the first person to talk about it in these terms, but I know I’ve never heard it before I thought it up. So at least I’m its co-inventor.
Maybe you want to rid your fiction of telling but you simply can’t see it—not in other people’s fiction and certainly not in your own. So how can you delete something you can’t even see? There’s a question you can ask of any passage you feel may be telling. You ready? Get the passage in front of you and ask this of it: Can the camera see it?
There are exceptions, but Can the camera see it? is a terrific tool for helping you begin to see the telling in a manuscript. Let’s test it:
Urlandia was a peaceful realm. Peasants and nobles alike lived in harmony despite the occasional bout with famine or invaders from the neighboring kingdom of Dum. There were heroes and cads, pirates and tavern wenches, and in all, their lives were good.
Okay, aside from this being deadly dull, is it showing or telling? Let’s load up the testing gun and fire: Can the camera see it?
Your mind might have conjured up an image of a fantasy countryside with green meadows, vast forests, and castles with pennants flapping in the breeze, but how could you have seen “the occasional bouts with famine”? How could you see that their lives were good? You couldn’t. You weren’t shown any of this—you were simply told. And it probably left you feeling a little sleepy.
It would be quite possible to convert this telling to showing by depicting things before the camera’s lens that suggest each of these elements. But right now it’s unconverted telling. I can’t tell you how many unpublished novels I’ve seen that start like this. And I’ve rejected every single one of them. You don’t want your book rejected, so don’t put telling anywhere in the first fifty pages.
Veronica shifted into park and got out of her VW bug. She shielded her eyes from the afternoon sun and stared at the house. It was smaller than she remembered. And had it always been this run-down, or had it fallen into disrepair only lately? It had once been white, but the siding slats desperately needed a new paint job.
Two giant antennae poked up from the roof like alien tentacles. They were held in place by cables, but the one on the right nevertheless tilted at a diagonal. Maybe it helped with reception. The porch was covered by an awning of flaking wood. Whether the walls beneath the wood were worse off than the rest or they just looked that way because they were shrouded in shadow, Veronica couldn’t tell.
She sighed. If this is where she came from, no wonder she’d turned out as she had.
Okay, load up the testing gun. Can the camera see this? Actually, yes. Aside from a violation of the rule not to start a novel with someone getting out of a car, it’s not terrible prose. It’s description. Some people would be inclined to cut it because nothing seems to be happening: It’s neither action nor dialogue, so it must be telling. But that would be a mistake, since a lack of description can get your book declined. Description isn’t telling because … the camera can see it. Without description, the reader can’t visualize the story—which means that your story can’t go forward without description. Don’t leave it out.
As I mentioned, there are exceptions. The camera can’t see sounds or smells or temperatures or tastes, though a description of those things would not be telling. Also, interior monologue—the viewpoint character’s thoughts and interpretations—can’t be seen by a camera and is therefore not (usually) telling. But on the whole, Can the camera see it? will help you immediately spot and eliminate telling.
-This article was written by author of The First 50 Pages Jeff Gerke.
I think author Jeff Gerke found the perfect way to focus in on the telling. Now it's time to go over my novel with my "showing vs telling" camera.
Bring on the Lights, Camera, Action!
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Monday, September 2, 2013
Congratulations Joyce Dipastena! You win a copy of "Winter Solstice Winter" by E.J. Squires.
(I will give your email address to Author E.J. Squires to coordinate giving you your prize.)
And now Joyce you are allowed to show your pleasure.
For those who didn't win you can still read this fabulous book which is available on kindle for only $3.99 on Amazon. Here is the link to purchase your copy today. http://www.amazon.com/Winter-Solstice-Viking-Blood-ebook/dp/B00EPRM4X0/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378155753&sr=1-2 It's also available in paperback if you would like to have something more tangible to hold.
Check out my interview with E.J. Squires, especially see who the authors picks are for possible movie options and find out why she choose the self-publishing route. Here is the interview below:
Julie: Thank you E. J. for taking time out of your busy writing schedule for this interview.
E. J. : Thank you Julie, for having taken the time to read my novel, and for writing such a positive review. I really appreciate you including me in an interview on your website.
Julie: What made you want to write a viking folklore fantasy book?
E. J. : There were many factors that played a role in me writing this Viking folklore fantasy book. I was born and raised for a significant part of my life in Norway. Both my parents are Norwegian, and I still have family living there. Before I started writing the novel, I owned a ballet studio, and I was in the process of setting up a ballet production that I had choreographed called "In Search of the Christmas Star." It was based on a Norwegian folktale (plus I added some things to make it a better adaptation for ballet.) When I wrote the synopsis for the ballet, which was to go in the program for the show, my husband suggested that I write a book about the story. I wrote the book, which was very simple and sold a few copies. While writing that book, I started doing some research on the Vikings, and was so inspired and intrigued by their culture (and my crazy ancestors) that I wanted to write something more substantial that tied in all aspects of their culture, from their mythology to their lifestyle to the beautiful dramatic nature that is in the Scandinavian countries. Before the ballet was finished, (crazy me, putting on a ballet, preparing for Christmas and raising three kids under the age of eight), I started writing the story, and it evolved to become "Winter Solstice Winter."
Julie: What is your favorite book or website to research for your book?
E. J. : I used many websites, but the two I used the most
Julie: Do you outline or do you write out-of-order?
E. J. : Well, during my first book, I just started writing without an outline at all. My first draft was over 500 pages long (123 K words!), and had a very long intro, which included more of Queen Maud and King Olav's relationship. I cut out like 100 pages, and then added more about Ailia, the leading character. In my second book in this series, called Summer Solstice Summer, I did an outline, but I keep everything very flexible. If the characters want to go somewhere else, I re-write the outline. I think writing from an outline is much easier.
Julie: What inspired you to independently publish?
E. J. : I had sent quite a few query letters out, but no agent wanted to represent my book. One agent would say the intro is too long, and then I'd cut some. And then I'd get another agent who said that I needed more of an intro, so I decided to do what I wanted and thought fit the story best. Later I read an article on Amanda Hawking, and did some research on authors who had self-published, and I was pleasantly surprised that many well-know authors started out self-publishing. I am the type of person who likes to be in charge of my own career, so the decision to self-publish was an easy one. I will continue to query some agents with some of my other novels, but just because I get rejected by them, doesn't mean I'm going to sit and wait on my laurels!
Julie: What made you want to become a writer?
E. J. : I enjoy expressing myself, and am a little more of an introvert. It gives me the freedom to say what I want, to develop a story the way I want and to hopefully, touch people's lives in a positive way. I love reading, and have always admired great writers who can take these simple words and create an experience for others.So with that in mind, I set out on my own writing journey.
Julie: If you could cast your book into an epic movie and have, let’s say, Peter Jackson produce and direct it; who would you want to cast for Soren? Lucia? Ailia? There are so many great parts we could go on and on.
E. J. : This is a great question, because one of the first things I did was cast this for a movie! So, here are the nominees:
I also had King Olav cast, Queen Maud, Unni... well, pretty much everyone. I think it would make an awesome movie one day.
Julie: Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what was on your play list to get you in the writing mood? Or is music to distracting?
E. J. : I haven't so far, but that's a great suggestion. I'll have to try it some time. (I think if I did listen to it while writing Winter Solstice winter it would be the Braveheart soundtrack or The Gladiator soundtrack.)
Julie: What’s your next book you are working on?
E. J. : I have one more chapter left of my next novel "The 13th Huldra." It is also based in Norse Folklore, but is a contemporary Paranormal Romance in the YA genre (Edgier and lighter than Winter Solstice Winter)
I am also working on a memoir called "Thunderthigh Ballerina" and on "Summer Solstice Summer", the next book after Winter Solstice Winter.
(No multi-tasking going on here...)
Stay connected with E. J. via Facebook and Twitter: