Addressing the Reader: Breaking the Fourth Wall

breaking the fourth wall brickwall-fist3Recently I was beta-reading a book for another author and found an annoying recurrence of what I consider to be a newbie mistake. The book was fiction, telling the story in omniscient third person as if the reader were a fly on the wall watching the drama unfold. Good enough as far as it went, but then suddenly, with a single word, it catapulted me right out of the telling. Continue reading “Addressing the Reader: Breaking the Fourth Wall”

Talking Heads: Dialogue Scenes in Your Book that May Lack Punch

talking heads figures-368751_640I hadn’t heard the expression “talking heads” before, but I just had an editor point it out to me. Suddenly I realized how guilty I am of writing scenes with talking heads. You know, the ones where the characters are chatting away in a blank space with nothing around them to ground the reader and transport them into the scene.

Yes — that is what “talking heads” means. Writing a scene with no anchors. Creating a sequence of dialogue between characters that isn’t placed in a vivid setting or surrounded with the right emotion.

As brilliant as your dialogue and physical beats may be, if they’re not placed in the right setting, they’re going to fall short. So, how do you create these anchor points and add that extra punch needed for a scene? Continue reading “Talking Heads: Dialogue Scenes in Your Book that May Lack Punch”

Promoting Your Shorter Fiction

SellingFictionWe’ve talked about why you might want to add short fiction to your author’s bag of tricks. Your next challenge: promoting short fiction in today’s slightly wobbly and ever-shifting marketplace. While Smashwords’ Mark Coker says that the highest selling novels on his site come in at about 100K, other industry professionals are all over the map about book length. On one hand, they point to recent successes like Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch (775 pages), but then they blame our culturally reduced attention spans for the desire for shorter books. Continue reading “Promoting Your Shorter Fiction”