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Kernels

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"Show, don't tell." "Omit needless words." "Voice, voice, voice."

Little kernels of wisdom like these, whether from gurus like Strunk and White ("Omit needless words") or an anonymous source, have a tenacious hold, stating as they do first principles of writing.

I made up this one for my own fiction: "Every line must be charged. If it doesn't have badditude (conflict), it should at least have attitude."

Clunky and simplistic, I know, but it helps me focus.

Does anyone have a kernel of their own they'd like to share?

Thanks,
Gatz
#1 - June 23, 2015, 10:54 AM
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I know I have a lot of problems I need to watch out for in my own writing, but I'll comment on something I've seen recently in manuscripts I've critiqued. Several YA and MG novels include a flashback in the very first chapter. Most of the readers in the room end up confused. Going backwards too soon makes it difficult to see who the main character is and what the problem is going to be. The only situations where I remember seeing this work is when the story is a sequel and the reader is familiar with the protagonist.

Yes, I've also seen this technique used by experienced authors. My concern is when someone tries to do this on their first attempt at a novel. I've yet to see this done well by a newbie. It's something I'm going to try to avoid.   :)
#2 - June 23, 2015, 11:48 AM
« Last Edit: June 24, 2015, 01:38 PM by Melody (Anne with an E) »
ROYALLY ENTITLED (inspirational/historical YA) and OOPS-A-DAISY (humorous MG) out now.  http://www.melodydelgado.com/

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Nouns and verbs. This is the bedrock of good writing.
V.
#3 - June 23, 2015, 12:57 PM
Max & Dagny, Why in the World, Tongue-Tied, Bound, Ten Easter Eggs & 100+ bks/mags
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On details: Does the reader need to know this? Do they need to know it now? If no, cut or move to where you say yes.

Make every word matter.
#4 - June 29, 2015, 08:02 AM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

Good stuff.

I guess Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird could be considered a big treasure chest full of writing aphorisms.

I also keep this quote by Cicero at hand:

"Only the man who can relax is able to create, and ideas strike his mind like lightning."
(Of course, I would substitute "person" for man, but that was another time.)

Gatz


#5 - June 29, 2015, 08:44 AM
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My job is to tell a story.
#6 - July 06, 2015, 08:33 PM
www.Facebook.com/MythRiderBook
- 4RV Publishing, April 2015
NO MORE MR. DAWDLE (Caramel Tree, April 2015)
UNGLUED (Caramel Tree, June 2015)

I'm working on getting my characters to stop saying "I think", "this may", and all those weak words. I need to become more assertive to allow my characters to be more assertive!

~L.P.
#7 - July 06, 2015, 10:12 PM
Twitter: @writer_lp
www.lrpinto.com

I came across this, from a letter to the young W. B. Yeats from his father:

"A man of genius should be like a young boy who is never. . and never will be a grown up. He must have a new style." --W. B. Yeats' father
#8 - July 07, 2015, 09:27 PM
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I made up "Cherries sanctify" inspired by Stephen King's "Plums deify", part of one of his amazing advices from "On writing". It's meant to remind us to use mainly nouns and (active!) verbs, instead of abusing of adverbs and adjectives. I'm always struggling to apply it, because I'm a complete sucker for adjectives (the sweeter the better!)...
#9 - August 14, 2015, 06:58 AM

This made me chuckle, Mercedes. I have to go over every sentence looking for deadweight adjectives (and many other things).
#10 - August 14, 2015, 09:11 AM
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Glad to hear that, Glatz!   :)
Revision can be a bit bitter, so remember to sweeten the task with a jar full of Maraschino cherries!  :cupcake
#11 - August 15, 2015, 05:34 AM

In the Paris Review 1983 interview with Italo Calvino, the great author says this:

"Every morning I tell myself, Today has to be productive—and then something happens that prevents me from writing. Today . . . what is there that I have to do today? I am afraid my novel will not move one single step forward. Something always happens. Each morning I already know I will be able to waste the whole day."


He goes on to chronicle a typical wasted day, which includes distractions like being interviewed.

Well, now I know I'm in good company.

Gatz
#12 - August 30, 2015, 12:48 PM
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Now I want a chocolate covered cherry. :cupcake

Gatz, I loved that quote from Calvino. Looks like we keep great company.

Vijaya
#14 - August 31, 2015, 01:46 PM
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Welcome to my world, Vijaya! Yummylicious! :)
#15 - August 31, 2015, 02:11 PM

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