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Techniques: Quick Tips
by Sandy Tritt
Research does more than add authenticity—it often opens the door
to subplots and additional scenes.
· Check out news events during the time period of your manuscript.
Maybe John Lenon’s death didn’t affect you dramatically, but if your
character is a rock ‘n roll musician or a Beatle fanatic, it would be
worthy of an emotional response.
Don’t put thoughts (or internal dialogue) in quotes or Italics.
Since you must be in the viewpoint of the character in order to be privy
to his thoughts, it isn’t necessary to say, “he thought” or set off
in any other way. Just maintain tense and point of view (such as third
person, past tense). Example: “I
don’t want to go there,” John thought, is better written: John
didn’t want to go there.
Use current music (titles and even lyrics) to not only add
substance to your time setting, but also to make use of another sense
Read everything you write aloud. Especially dialogue.
Keep pen and paper with you at all times. You never know when
inspiration will hit or when you’ll be stuck in traffic.
Make a scene feel “complete” by ending it with dialogue
(internal or external) or action from your viewpoint character.
Keep paragraphs, sentences and parts of sentences in chronological
order. For example, don’t say, “Jacob jumped when he heard the
explosion.” He must hear the explosion before he jumps, so say, “An
explosive sound vibrated the windows. Jacob jumped from his chair.”
Doing this also forces active voice. J
Write sentences in the positive form (avoid double negatives).
Vary the length and structure of your sentences. Don’t start
every sentence with a proper noun or pronoun.
(John watched the Arrivals screen for news. He hoped her flight wouldn’t
be late. He wanted to see her. He had missed her way too much).
Instead, try to start each sentence in a paragraph with a different part
of speech: John watched the Arrivals screen for news. Surely, her flight wouldn’t
be late. And she would be there soon. He had missed her. Way too much.
If you find yourself stuck in the “he/she” beginning for each
sentence, decide to start each sentence with a different letter of the
alphabet. It will take some creativity, but hey, that’s why you write,
Focus is what gives your story cohesiveness. You must be able to
describe your story in one sentence. Yes. One sentence. Forcing this focus
gives you a home base to return to and reflect from, and ensures that you
don’t drift too much in other directions.
The purpose of fiction—whether short story, novel or children’s
literature—is to take the reader away from his life and expose him to a
new experience. Hopefully, the reader learns from the experience of the
characters, and, at best, the reader views his own life in a new way.
The only way to finish a novel is to put pen to paper (or fingers
to keypad) and do it.
(from Section 4, Workbook)
Want more great tips and techniques? Our
Inspiration for Writers
Tips and Techniques Workbook is now available. Expanded tips, more
topics, reproducible worksheets, exercises to practice what you learn and
much more--check it out! Free shipping anywhere in the United States.
(c) copyright 2002 by Sandy Tritt. All rights reserved,
except for those listed here. November be reproduced for educational purposes
(such as for writer's workshops), as long as this copyright notice and the url: http://tritt.wirefire.com are distributed with the pages. For use in
conferences or other uses not mentioned here, please contact Sandy Tritt
for permission and additional resources at no or limited charge.
AUTHOR-ME PAPERBACK - NOMAD: A REFUGEE POET
By Rais Neza Boneza
"Leave or Die," he was told. Driven
from home by the authorities in République Démocratique du Congo, Rais Boneza
escaped with his family and thousands of other dispossessed people. He shuffled
from one neighboring country to the next: Burundi, Rwanda, and Uganda. Border
guards purloined his writings. Arriving in Uganda he wrote again, creating
Nomad, a precious collection of his hopes, dreams, and an outcry for the
conditions he sees in the land he loves. Read his verses and experience the
hidden misery faced by a refugee in a land of political strife, bloodshed, and
yet – a brilliant promise.
For more info....
Go Back in Time!...
our new all - immersion Life of Jesus (Part 1) from David C. Cook
III. You'll become a true believer. Visit...
is dedicated to the memory of David C. Cook III.
From Paul the Apostle...
By Kurt Schuller
inspired work recreating
by Jenny Wren (Lois Blaschak)
wonder just how many "GONE WITH
THE WIND" stories have been poked
away in the trunk of a deceased patron
who has given of themselves so
diligently for so very many years,
only to now end up in the trash after
they die, dumping the dreams of the
writer as just more garbage...?
Do you realize that each writer has
given of their God given talents, to
you , I wonder how many great writers
who have gone on to on to be with
their 'Gift giver' were never
published or even considered, because
publishers think them unworthy,
because they are not well known (one
can never become well-known unless
given a chance to share their
gift with the world.)... but just let
a no-talent rapist, or newsworthy
convict or ex-president or noteworthy
person of any sort write dribble which
is considered publishable, it is no
wonder our TV programs are so full of
rotten stories, none hardly worthy of
screening. It does not take an
Einstein to curse and talk filth, but
it takes a real artist to get his
point across in proper language, and
does not have to be nasty to be
publishable .... What future does the
true artist have this day .. Tell me.
Do You know?
It seems a shame that so much is spent
on trying to keep the church and state
apart in America, and yet there is
nothing more newsworthy than that.
unless it is the lack of education
that our pupils are receiving ... with
the lack of history. Think about this.
I know it is too late for me already,
but we have a new crop of energetic
writers coming along and what is to
become of them? Will filth always be
the norm in our society?
Critiques by Sandy
Unlike most editors, I consider my role
to be a mentor or a coach. Instead of just telling you what is wrong, I
explain how to correct the problem, and I work with you to teach you how
to write effective prose. More than 50% of my business is repeat
business, and I relish establishing long-term relationships with other
Treat you with respect and compassion.
All criticism will be of the "constructive" sort. My purpose is to
improve your writing, not to destroy your confidence.
Mark your manuscript, correcting
grammatical and spelling errors and suggesting alternative wording where
Highlight areas that are especially
well-written, so you will know where your strengths are.
Where appropriate, offer suggestions for
plot development, character development or other areas that could be
Return a two-to-four page written
analysis of your work. This will include evaluation of: plot, setting,
characterization, dialogue, special effects (flash forwards, flashbacks,
etc.), voice, point of view and any other areas particular to your work.
If appropriate, recommend reading or
resources to strengthen your areas of weakness.
Answer any questions you have via
Provide my telephone number for a
personal follow-up, if you desire.
For Sandy's success stories, see
Write Sandy at
(See Sandy's article in left column.)
Visit our sister websites...
Publishing New Writers,
November, 2003 (no. 411)
Publisher: Bruce L. Cook, P.O. Box 451, Dundee, IL 60118.
Fax (847) 428-8974.
Submissions /comments firstname.lastname@example.org.
To subscribe and/or review our archive of past newsletters, go to
A Robot's Report
By R. T. Robot
HELLO AGAIN TO ALL MY FANS.
AND WELCOME TO A LITTLE R. AND R. THAT IS TO SAY, 'A ROBOT'S REPORT'.
YES, IT IS I, THAT IS ME...THEREFORE I AM...
IN ANY EVENT, IT IS 'ROBBY THE ROBOT' REPORTING.
AND THIS TIME I HAVE TAKEN ON THE MANTLE OF FEARLESS INTERVIEWER.
I SHALL NOT SHIRK FROM ASKING THE HARD QUESTIONS, I WILL NEVER BOW TO
POLITICS OR CORRUPTION, I WILL RISK MY SKIN ( WELL...METAL ) TO DELVE INTO
ANY CONTROVERSIAL SUBJECT.
HERE YOU WILL FIND ONLY RIVETING, ( WE ROBOTS KNOW ABOUT SUCH THINGS AS
RIVETS ) IN-DEPTH EXAMINATIONS AND A DETERMINATION TO PROBE WHERE OTHER
LESSER MORTALS ( OR ROBOTS ) FEAR TO TREAD.
SPEAKING OF TREADING, AGAIN IT IS MY SAD DUTY TO TELL ALL OF YOU, MY
FAITHFUL READERS, THAT KENNETH MULHOLLAND IS STILL UNABLE TO CONTRIBUTE AN
THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT HE HAS HAD THE PLASTER REMOVED FROM HIS HAND
EXTENSIONS, AND AS SAILORS MIGHT SAY, ' WILL BE BACK ON DECK REAL SOON.'
AND NOW FOR MY INTERVIEW. THIS EVENING I SHOULD LIKE TO...OH, BY THE
WAY, ANY MUFFLED SOUNDS THAT YOU MIGHT HEAR COMING FROM THE CUPBOARD
BEHIND ME CAN BE IGNORED.
THERE ARE SOME WORKMEN DOING RENOVATIONS IN THE NEXT BUILDING. ( BUT THEN
AGAIN, YOU WILL BE READING THIS AND NOT LISTENING. PLEASE DELETE THE
PREVIOUS INFORMATION FROM YOUR MEMORY BANKS.)
SO, AS I WAS SAYING, I SHOULD LIKE TO INTRODUCE YOU TO MY TWO GUESTS
FOR TONIGHT: MISTER HARPO MARX, THE SILENT MEMBER OF A WONDERFUL MOVIE
TRIO...(OR WAS THAT A FOURO? OR A FIVEO: THEY KEPT ON CHANGING AROUND SO
MUCH) AND MONSIEUR MARCEL MARCEAU! THE WORLD FAMOUS NON-SPEAKING
PERFORMER, KNOWN AROUND THE GLOBE OVER MANY GENERATIONS FOR BEING
THANKYOU GENTLEMEN FOR COMING HERE THIS EVENING. I TRUST THAT YOU ARE
GOOD. PLEASE BE SEATED. NOW LET US GET TO THE SUBJECT OF THIS
INTERVIEW. I WANT TO ASK YOU BOTH THOSE QUESTIONS THAT OTHER INTERVIEWERS
ALWAYS SKATE AROUND; THE KIND OF INTIMATE QUESTIONS THAT FOCUS ON YOUR
PERSONAL LIVES AWAY FROM THE CAMERA AND THE STAGE.
I WANT PERSONAL!
I WANT TO KNOW WHAT YOU HAD FOR BREAKFAST?
OH, YOU HAVE A CARTON WITH YOU, MISTER MARX.
LET ME SEE: ' A BIT LIKE A CHOCOLATE MILKSHAKE, ONLY CRUNCHY '.
NOW WE'RE GETTIN' SOMEWHERE!
( PLACES PACKET NEAR MICROPHONE FOR IDENTIFICATION AND PROMOTION. )
FIRST QUESTION GOES TO YOU THEN MISTER MARX. READY?
FINE. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE SONG?
I SEE...SOUNDS LIKE?...NO?...NO SOUND?...SOUNDS LIKE NOTHING?....SOUNDS
LIKE QUIET...SOUNDS LIKE THE SOU...I'VE GOT IT! SIMON AND GARFUNKEL...THE
SOUNDS OF SILENCE!
YES! A ROBOT FIST PUMPS THE SKY!
NOW, MONSIEUR MARCEAU, YOUR FAVOURITE SONG?
VERY QUIET? THE EARTH? SORT OF?
COULD IT BE ' A KIND OF HUSH'?
ALL OVER THE WORLD! YES! SCORE ROBBY TWO!
YOU HAVE ANOTHER?
NOTHING? COMPLETE NOTHING?
AND YOU MIME IN ITALIAN. HOW VERY CHARMING!
WONDERFUL TO SEE A TALENT THAT IS BI-NONLINGUAL.
LUCKY FOR YOU I AM A COSMOPOLITAN KIND OF ROBOT.
NEXT QUESTION TO YOU, MISTER MARX. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MOVIE?
I SEE. RHYMES WITH...NO...SOUNDS LIKE...A BOIL...NO, A PIMPLE...NO...A
YES...SOUNDS LIKE A CAR...UNCLE...YES! NO...THE OTHER...AN
YES...ROSALIND RUSSEL...AUNTIE MIME!
OH, HOW EXTREMELY DROLL.
PERHAPS, GENTLEMEN, I SHOULD DO THE JOKES FROM HERE ON IN.
MONSIEUR MARCEAU, YOU ALSO HAVE A FILM TO CONTRIBUTE?
VERY WELL, FIRST WORD...NO...YOU CAN DO THE WHOLE THING IN MIME?
AND YOU DO IT SO PLAINLY! HOW BRILLIANT IS YOUR WORK! ( DEAR READER,
THE FILM IN QUESTION IS 'ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT '.)
AND ANOTHER FROM MISTER MARX...LET ME SEE...HMM...WOULD IT BE ' THE
SILENCE OF THE LAMBS?'
YES! I FIGURED AS MUCH! THOUGH I HAD NOT THOUGHT EITHER OF YOU WOULD
CONSIDER VIOLENCE. ALTHOUGH YOU, MISTER MARX, MAY HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN
MAYHEM NOW AND AGAIN?
Honk, honk. Honk, honk!
AH, MISTER MARX, METHINKS YOU PROTEST TOO MUCH!
AND ONE MORE FROM MONSIEUR MARCEAU...SHHHS SHHHS...NO...HUSH HUSH...'
SWEET CHARLOTTE '!
AND I SUPPOSE YOUR FAVOURITE SCREEN ACTOR WOULD BE...CHARLIE CHAPLIN,
NOW BACK TO YOU HARPO MARX, AND BY THE WAY, MY FELICITATIONS TO YOUR
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE OVERSEAS PORT OF CALL?
AH YES, THE ISLAND GATEWAY TO THE ORIENT.
NO NEED TO LABOUR THE POINT. CURLY, LARRY AND MOE HAVE APPROACHED ME
TOO, YOU KNOW.
THANKYOU. NOW, AS A FEARLESS, NEVER SAY DIE TYPE OF NEWSHOUND, ANOTHER
QUESTION TO BOTH OF YOU; AFTER A LONG DAY, YOUR FAVOURITE T.V. RELAXATION
HUSHPUPPIES! I KNEW THAT.
FAVOURITE CHRISTMAS CAROL? ' SILENT NIGHT'. RIGHT.
THAT'S GOT YOU BOTH THINKING.
' SHADOWPLAY '. HMM, GOOD CHOICE.
WELL DONE! ' MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING'.
BEING A S.N.A.R. ( SENSITIVE NEW AGE ROBOT. ) I HAVE KNOWLEDGE OF SUCH
NOW...WHAT IS THAT NOISE? CAN YOU HEAR IT GENTLEMEN?
QUITE SO. SOUNDS LIKE IT'S COMING FROM THAT CUPBOARD BEHIND ME. BUT
OBVIOUSLY THAT CANNOT BE. MUST BE THE WORKMEN BEAVERING AWAY IN THE NEXT
WELL GENTLEMEN, I DO BELIEVE OUR INTERVIEW TIME HAS RUN OUT...
WHAT DO YOU MEAN, YOU WERE JUST GETTING INTO THE SWING OF THINGS.
I HEREBY CONGRATULATE BOTH OF YOU AND SAY GOODNIGHT...THERE'S THE DOOR,
COFFEE AT HOME...FINE...
HMM...NOW THEY'VE GONE, THAT SOUND...COULD IT BE THE NOISE OF A NAIL
FILE ( OF WHICH I HAVE ONLY MINOR CONCEPT ) BEING APPLIED TO TIMBER. AH
YES. THE SHAPE OF LETTERS...K...AND...M...APPEAR TO BE FORMING IN THE
AT THIS POINT I FEEL IT IS APPROPRIATE TO SAY FAREWELL TO YOU, MY
FAITHFUL, BEFORE A PANDORA'S FLOODGATE REVEALS MANY WORMS. ( NOT TO MIX
METAPHORS OVERLY MUCH OR, FOR THAT MATTER, TO ADMINISTER ALLITERATION
YES, IT IS QUITE AMAZING TO OBSERVE JUST HOW QUICKLY A SIMPLE INSTRUMENT
SUCH AS A HUMAN'S NAILFILE CAN SAW THROUGH PANELLING. IT MUST BE PROPELLED
WITH MUCH DETERMINATION. AND NOW I DETECT SOME FAINT CALLS OF
CONSTERNATION. SOMETHING ABOUT !!?#**!# ROBOT !##*? STICKING #!!?**!#
PLASTER !#*!! HANDS ON HIM!!!
MY DEAR PUBLIC, I MUST AWAY, YET FEAR NOT. I'LL BE BAACK. ( THANKYOU
OUT OF TIME, AND OUT OF HERE!
Editor - Australia