10 Important Things Writers Often Omit from Their Scenes

author and editor CS LakinIn my work as a professional freelance copyeditor and critiquer for publishers, literary agents, and authors in six continents, I wade through something like two hundred manuscripts a year. It probably won’t surprise you to hear that I come across certain flaws repeatedly in many — if not most — of the manuscripts I examine. These issues are especially endemic to first novels, and when pointed out to the authors, they seem so obvious. They say, “Why didn’t I notice these problems?”

Because of lack of adequate writing experience, helpful critical feedback, and sufficient skill development and training, writers don’t realize they aren’t showing enough — and especially in a scene’s opening paragraphs — to help readers picture where a character is and when the scene is taking place in the story.

The challenge for writers is in determining how and how much to convey to readers what the writer is seeing in her own mind. Continue reading “10 Important Things Writers Often Omit from Their Scenes”

Telegraphing Versus Foreshadowing

MorseschreiberFirst, as an editor, it makes me a little squirmy to write blog posts about “how” to write. Beyond basic grammar and clarity, the rules of writing, especially in fiction, are a kind of flexible armature and differ according to the author, the genre, and the situation. However, I’ve been seeing something in fiction lately that makes me want to slam my head against the keyboard: telling readers in quite unsubtle terms that the plot is about to take a shocking turn. The device is commonly called telegraphing. Continue reading “Telegraphing Versus Foreshadowing”

Left & Right Brain Techniques for Writing

Sharon TenenbaumGuest Post
by Sharon Tenenbaum

It is a very popular topic these days to talk in terms of Left and Right Brain. The Right Brain being visual, simultaneous and contextual, whereas the Left Brain being linear, logical and textual. But what does this mean? How is it affecting our creative capabilities to create art and even more so, how is it affecting our capability to understand and interpret it?

There are four fundamental differences between the way each hemisphere of our brain works but in this post I will touch one. One of the central differences between the two hemispheres is that the Left specializes in Text whereas the Right hemisphere specializes in Context. Continue reading “Left & Right Brain Techniques for Writing”

Top 10 Ways to Lose a Reader

top-ten-list-top-95717_960_720Or maybe that should be bottom. These are ten of the … what should I call them? Mistakes I commonly see in indie books. Pet peeves. Maybe just the kind of things that will turn me off when reading a book.

I’m no David Letterman, but we’ll try it his way. Continue reading “Top 10 Ways to Lose a Reader”

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