This week: Turn Up the Heat!Edited by: Cubs Volunteering @Lighthouse
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Hello, everyone! Welcome to this edition of the For Authors newsletter. This week's topic is focused on creating tension, but first off, I'd like to share a few quotes with you. Enjoy!
I try to leave out the parts that people skip.
Drama, instead of telling us the whole of a man's life, must place him in such a situation, tie such a knot, that when it is untied, the whole man is visible.
The greatest rules of dramatic writing are conflict, conflict and conflict.
The story is not in the plot but in the telling.
~Ursula K. LeGuin
The writer who cares more about words than about story – characters, action, setting, atmosphere – is unlikely to create a vivid and continuous dream; he gets in his own way too much; in his poetic drunkenness, he can't tell the cart – and its cargo – from the horse.
Turn Up the Heat!
So you want to write a page turner, right? You want your readers to lose themselves inside your story. But creating a page turner isn't only about telling a story, but how the story is told.
We've all read books that speed our hearts up, make us cringe, and keep us awake at night because we can't put the story down. How can we create tension in our own stories?
Build conflict. People don't walk away from a fight, they stick around to see who wins.
Don't make it easy for your protagonist. If his journey is without problems, your story is predictable.
End each chapter with a cliffhanger.Who can stand to end a chapter that leaves them wanting to know more?
Setting is very important. Which creates more tension here Your protagonist on top of a tall building during a storm, or sitting under a shade tree on a sunny day?
Avoid lengthy description that might put your reader to sleep. Keep the pace alive!
Cut non-tension scenes. If your protagonist is sitting in a parlor drinking tea with friends, make sure there's poison, or some other kind of drug, in at least one person's cup.
Always use body language and weather to help create more tension, Background music does the same thing in movies.
Creating tension turns each page. Build conflict, cut the fat, and make sure your reader connects with the main character. Your protagonist should not be perfect, either. Make him or her seem real, with human traits, thoughts, appearances, and so on.
Only include in your story, that which is signifacant. Now... go out there and stir up some trouble!
Question: What causes your palms to sweat or your heart to race? Send me your response through the feedback window near the bottom of the page.
May you have an inspiring week and an exceptionally inspiring year!
Keep on Writing!
~by WDC Members
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J. Anya Christos
Hi Cubby, What a great topic! Here's my question. Is the following considered a tag? "I don't know what he said, but it sounded urgent." Cassie was looking at me with those dark,expressive eyes.
~ I think of a tag as 'said, explained, shouted' and so on. Cassie looking... is telling the reader what she is doing, not saying. And you don't need a dialogue tag everytime someone says something. Also, you might consider instead of her looking,Cassie stared. Just a thought!
I read many blog posts about how wonderful the SCBWI conferences are. I'm attending my first conference in Nov. (not SCBWI) and I can't wait. In answer to your question, I say if you believe in your book, you should be willing to submit it a hundred times and more. Stories abound of hugely successful novels being rejected over and over, even eighty times and more, before the right agent/publisher came into the equation. I also think that while you're trying to sell book #1, you should be writing book #2. The more we write, the better authors we become. Maybe book #2 will be the first you sell. I've heard of authors selling book #1 once books 2 and 3 were successful sells.
~ Great advice! I totally agree.
I listened to some young people talking about a conversation. They never used the word, "said." It was: She goes, "I can't help it if he likes me." I'm like, "Yeah, but you don't have to flirt so much." So he's, "Gimme your number." I go, "Didja give it to him?" And shes like, "Of course." Think we should ever write like that?
~ If a character is telling another character about a conversation, it would be fine. I've never seen it any other way though. You could try it-- and who knows? It might be catchy!
BIG BAD WOLF Is Sam Vimes
When it comes to writing, sometimes you just have to go with the flow. If that flow takes you to the land of horror, go with it. If you hear someone say "Howdy Partner." say "Hi" back. You might be surprised where you go.
Now I just have one question: Horrorsvile or Western Town? I guess I'll ask this Werewolf in a Cowboy outfit, or is that a Cowboy in a Werewolf outfit? I can't tell the difference.
~ Well said!
You have asked, "How many times do you submit a manuscript out before you give up on it?" My answer is I don't give up. While I'm waiting on an answer from my submission, I write something else. If it comes back, "This is not what we want/it needs changes/etc." then I'll go back over the story until I feel this time, it's right. Then out it goes again. My suggestion? Don't quit. You never know what's over the rainbow unless you look.
~ Great answer!
Umm, I usually don't read these mails when I get them but Jay Asher reminds me of... well, me. I write and draw my own comics and one day I want to be published. But also I want to get better at my writing too. I'm only fifteen years old right now, but I feel my stories go onto a more serious level. I don't know. Maybe I'll be like Jay Asher one day. Maybe I won't. Who's to say.
~ Don't ever let go of your dreams! I have a feeling you are going to make your's come true.
The Dark_Huntress Returns!
I would send a manuscript 10 times before I stopped sending it constantly, then I would start working on something else. Every 6 months I would re-send my previous manuscript to a few select publishers while I finish more work to start sending out, and continue to do it this way until I get published! You should NEVER give up!
~ Never, never, never, never, never give up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Pyper working hard on project
Well, I've been writing on the same story for over 10 years not because of rejection slips but because I am way to harsh on my novel pieces. Though I am harsh, I will keep writing it and never give up when sending it in. Even if I do get rejection slips.
~ It's tough being so hard on yourself. I get that way, too, and then I have to step away for a while and go on to something else. I'm glad to hear you will never give up!
Thanks for the encouraging quotes.
~ Thank you! I enjoy finding ones that fit the topic.
LJPC - the tortoise
Hi Cubby! Another great newsletter from you! When I got over being ridiculously jealous that you got to attend a real live conference , I read Jay's story with great interest. It mirrors many others I've heard of (like Meyer's Twilight was rejected several times). I look forward to reading about our WDC members who've had this experience. I can only say that several times a short story of mine has been rejected only to be picked up somewhere else. The successful author is the one who didn't give up. Great NL! -- Laura
~ That is so true! If you ever get a chance to go to a conference, do it. This one just happened to be 40 minutes away and I asked for it for my birthday present. It might not ever work in my favor again, so I'm thrilled I attended it!
When it comes to rejections, I almost never give up. I can understand the frustration of people who receive their first rejection, but those who give up on the first try are doing themselves a disservice. So are those who give up on their fifth or sixth try. There was a woman blogging awhile back about every single one of her rejection letters. She called herself the "Rejection Queen." She whined and complained about her rejections, even copying and pasting entire rejection letters on the internet for everyone to see. Not once did she say that she went back to revise her novel, or even her query letter, to make it better. She didn't seem to take any action to help herself! If a writer is receiving multiple rejection letters for one work, the best thing he/she can do is to revisit it and ask themselves why. I have a short story which has been rejected five times, but instead of giving up on it, I've decided that I can salvage parts of it and make it into something new instead.
~ Good for you! Some people are 'whiners' and other people are doers. You sound like a doer!
Thank you all for the wonderful feedback!
Have a wonderful week!
AND KEEP ON WRITING!!!
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