When I was a brand new writer, a number of well-established authors helped me. They gave me advice about my blurbs, how I structured my stories, my phrasing — essentially everything an early-stage writer needs to get a handle on things. Now, five years later, I won’t claim to be well established myself, but I do have my first million words written, and I do my best to return the favor by helping others who are at the beginning of their writing journey. As I do, I see many of the same mistakes repeated over and over.
Hemingway is famous for his short, straightforward sentences that get rid of unnecessary descriptive words for a more concise, minimalistic style of writing. – August Wainright
In Death in the Afternoon, Hemingway wrote, “If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of the iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water.”
This was a grand departure from the great literature that preceded it, like that of Dickens, Hugo or other romantic novelists. While Hemingway was a pioneer in this more terse, modern style, his opinions are by no means universally accepted. I have done some research and given some thought to the divergence of opinion on the uses and styles of description in modern writing and what brought about the changes. Continue reading “Writing Description: Then and Now”
I read a lot of words. I read submissions from strangers which, in some ways, are the best kind because I’m not pre-disposed to love them simply because I know and love the author. I also read every word every one of our Beans* present to us because that’s our arrangement – they write, I read.
When I was much younger, I played in a community orchestra. I won’t tell you what instrument I played. It is sufficient to say that my greatest contribution to music is that I am an avid fan, however they needed someone to fill that second chair and I could hold the instrument without looking like a fool, so there I was. There was a young woman who, by some cruel jerk of the strings of nepotism, was frequently invited to sing with us. She was quite confident of her operatic vocal skills, though equally proud of her untrained status. In short, she would have been excellent at Coldstone, singing a few bars of some thank-you song when someone left a tip, and not much else. In much shorter, she stank. Continue reading “Words, Wonderful Words”
On Tuesday, we looked at physicalcharacter description. But there is a much more important aspect to character development…our weird, quirky brains and the weird, quirky things they make us do. Now, I admit, I am biased. My fiction is very character-based, and I think depth of character is more important than almost anything. That’s me. You may disagree. That is your right. I must warn you, however, that disagreeing with me will only start you down the path toward a lifetime bereft of joy and full of despair. Because I will find you. Trust me on that.
Now, when you are making a character, you want them to seem real. You also want them to stand out from the other characters. I’ve read a lot of books where the author feels it necessary to outline every single stupid thing a character thinks. Or maybe the author goes too far into trying to tell you what kind of person the character is. But it doesn’t have to be hard. In fact it is quite easy. Continue reading “Character Description – Psychological”