Character Development Exercise
This exercise has been designed to help you see your main characters in a different light, giving you a deeper understanding of who they are, what drives them and how they would react in certain situations.
Author: Sandy Vaile
Previously published on the Writers In The Storm blog, August 2022.
One of the fastest ways to alienate readers is to get your facts wrong, which can feel like an overwhelming responsibility when writing a story. But how far would you go to bring authenticity and interesting elements into your story?
Do You Need to Research for all Fiction Stories?
If you’re writing anything longer than a short story, you are bound to need to do some research.
I’m going to demonstrate how research can benefit all stories, and then we’ll peek over the shoulders of a few authors to discover the lengths they’ve gone to, in the name of fiction research.
Author: Sandy Vaile
Previously published by Romance Writers of Australia, Hearts Talk ezine, August 2022
There is one simple principle that lays the foundation for effortless showing in fiction. A principle from which all the other showing techniques are built and, once put into practice, triggers momentum that carries characters through the story organically.
That principle is: Put characters in motion.
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “show don’t tell”. It’s bandied around writing circles like scones at high tea, and yet it’s the concept that causes new writers the most anguish. Sure, you know what telling is but how do you blend it with showing and where does telling end and showing begin?
It’s nerve-wracking when the consequence of not figuring this out is a bland reader experience and permanently missing the mark with competition judges, agents and publishers.
Well, I believe there’s an easier way to approach this subject: throw out the notion of showing and telling as separate entities and focus on active storytelling. This concept is the basis for my Active Storytelling Method© and I’ve seen how well it works in getting authors to put their characters in motion, which carries readers through the story with them.
Author: Sandy Vaile
This article was first published on the Margie Lawson blog on 31/05/22.
The average attention span of readers is decreasing (just 8 seconds online, according to research by San Jose University), which is why it’s so important for authors to engage them the moment they step onto the page, so as to speak. Point of View (POV) is one of the techniques we can use to immerse readers in our story world, but it is also a frequently misconstrued and misused concept.
It causes all kinds of angst in aspiring authors, who often choose (or accidentally fall into) the omniscient POV, with the misguided belief it will provide more storytelling flexibility. But like every story choice, there are pros and cons. While every type of POV is useful in certain circumstances, I believe mastering a limited POV (particularly when you’re new to fiction writing) will make you a better writer in the long run.
Wow, that’s a bold claim!
I can already hear the cries of indignation from those who love the omniscient POV. I’m not saying one is better than the other, merely singing the educational benefits of mastering a limited POV. Give me a minute to explain.
Every second person I speak to believes they’ve “got a novel in them”. It’s getting it out and onto the page that’s the tricky part!
Only about 3% of people who actually start writing a book, will ever finish it. Fewer still end up with a story that works.
So, how can you be in the minority of fiction authors who end up with a story that hits all the marks publishers and readers are looking for?
In my experience, it doesn’t matter when or how much you like to plan your stories, so long as you nail four critical aspects. It’s all about writing with purpose. Having a fabulous idea, is just the beginning. The hard part is moulding that idea into a living, breathing story that captures the imagination of readers, plucks at their heart strings and lures them towards ‘the end’.
Authors usually come unstuck by
Empowering modern fiction authors to confidently write novels worthy of publication