May 4, 2012 by Kiersi
In today’s podcast the exceptional Jon Yang and I discuss:
-How carelessness with adverbs can take the punch out of good writing
–Some tried-and-true methods of improving descriptions with pacing and vocabulary
-Why “style” has to be earned
Learn how to avoid some common pitfalls, add realism to your writing, and of course, have a good laugh at my expense!
Prolific Novelista - Don't Touch That Adverb
Category How-to, Podcasts | Tags: adjectives,adverbs,descriptions,podcast,the art of writing | 4 Comments
February 28, 2012 by Kiersi
How many times have you told someone something they didn’t really need to be told? “You look like shit today,” for example, when your friend is obviously under the weather. Or worse, “When are you due?” Only to find out she’s not expecting anything.
Learning how to omit the obvious, or even the not-so-obvious, is a hard task for those of us tasked with creating a reader’s world. I’ve briefly covered the topic of killing your darlings before; I illustrated cutting text to imply meaning, where the reader’s imagination does the work. The results can sometimes be more thrilling or terrifying than laying out the action on a moment-by-moment basis.
Today I want to cover how, instead of cutting out information, you can use negative space to eliminate the bore factor and make your story more exciting. (more…)
Category How-to | Tags: descriptions,prose,setting the scene,the art of writing | 3 Comments
February 23, 2012 by Kiersi
We writers are intimately familiar with the senses. Most of our metaphors involve some form of touch (“the sun felt like a thousand tiny kisses on my skin”), and nine out of ten descriptions involve sight (“he looked distraught”). Hearing is almost always involved in action (“he gasped as my fist sunk into his diaphragm”), and characterization of dialogue could barely happen without it.
Today I want to talk about the lesser-used senses of smell and taste. Taste is usually reserved for two types of descriptions: kissing, and food. (Maybe more if you’re writing erotica or cookbooks. Or an erotic cookbook? That’s kind of a good idea, actually.) I find that smell is rarely used, unless the situation specifically warrants it, such as a room full of dead bodies, or, as has become more popular, when a YA female character is describing the scent of a male love interest. This seems to always involve a natural smell, like pine/grass/sunshine (seriously, I read a character describe her crush as smelling like sunshine), and in paranormal books, some kind of supernatural smell (such as vampires carrying around the smell of blood). (more…)
Category How-to | Tags: characterization,descriptions,prose,senses,setting the scene | No Comments