I was originally going to talk about marketing, but along the way I ended up with a better idea. Most of us have long heard about the show and tell rule when writing, to the point that even the average reader knows this concept and what it means. It seems simple enough, but is it really that straightforward? I’ve learned recently it’s anything but simple! I wonder how many other authors have discovered the same thing once they begin to employ this powerful crafting concept?
Each of learns in different ways, and what is the light-bulb moment for one person is not going to help someone else in the least. The same applies with this writing technique. I have an incredible editor, and she has patiently worked with me for weeks on end to help me not only understand but to learn to employ new writing skills. In doing so, I’ve read many guides and craft books over the past couple of years, and for this elusive but crucial aspect of how to make a story/novel come to life, I discovered there were three books that were exceedingly helpful. They are:
Show or Tell? A Powerful Lesson on a Crucial Writing Skill
This book is a quick read but is packed with useful information, in a very user friendly presentation.
The Busy Writer's Tips on Writing Romance
This is probably the BEST book I’ve ever read on basic understanding of what makes a romance work come to life and be a compelling story. Highly recommend this one! It’s short but so worth it.
Mastering Showing and Telling in Your Fiction (Busy Writer's Guides)
This is the BEST book I’ve ever read for learning this elusive technique. The author also offers worksheets via her website which are invaluable and printed out enable you to reference them as needed.
We call ourselves storytellers, and once upon a time there were bards and other wonderfully poetic names for writers. I’ve heard Wordsmith, word crafter, etc., and they’re all very cool. But we are mostly word painters, aren’t we? If we do our job correctly, our words paint pictures inside a reader’s mind, bring to life worlds and people who exist through the emotion, surroundings, and reactions of our characters. So, apart from the sense of living in the moment with our characters, we also have to make them accessible and real for readers, too–make them care, or there’s not much point to them reading, and they’ll toss the book aside in favour of the next story that catches their attention and holds it.
I often wonder what means the most to readers? A character that is so well defined and real they feel like a new friend to the reader once the book is over–or is it setting? Circumstance? Some combination of all of these elements? I think we can safely say the days of long descriptive pages of lyrical imagery are pretty much over in popular fiction, we live in a different age, and the pace alone makes readers’ time more valuable to them. In response, they want to get into the heart of a story fast, and live it to the max while they’re there. So, the story has to hook them fast, then hold tight. Like everything else about this business, it’s a never-ending, ever-changing evolution. Sometimes I miss all those lovely words, but I also love the challenge of learning to make a better story, so it’s a fair exchange.
I’ve recently started a wonderful reference page on Facebook for authors, and a lot of readers are enjoying it to as it helps them understand the process of books and publishing a little more. If anyone is interested, it can be found here, and I post to it daily for the most part: http://www.facebook.com/WritersNewsstand
So, what does make a book live and breathe for you, readers? Leave a comment, and you’ll be entered to win an Audio version of my latest, sexy release. Here’s a very quick peek at it:
Short, sexy contemporary with edge!
Available NOW from Eirelander Publishing and Amazon:
In AUDIO at:
When her lover, Martin Fowler is called away to Washington and she can't go with him, Daniella LeBeaux is restless and edgy. Martin's older, worldly, and has a reputation that would make most women think twice about trusting him. Dani loves him, and trust is not what's making her anxious and edgy - lust and loneliness are combining with a little too much to drink. When the phone rings, and it's Martin, delayed again, he teaches her a new way to make love long-distance style.... but who's watching Dani? And is Martin really ready for the revenge his actions incite?
For an exclusive excerpt, visit me here:
Canadian born and bred, and a lifelong dreamer, I began writing at an early age and can’t recall a time when I wasn’t creating in some artistic form. My life has had several on-going love affairs that shape much of what I write, the American West, Victorian England, cowboys, a passion for pirates, Greek Gods, and Ancient Egypt. The other endless love affairs in my life are Romania and Italia, and all their magic, beauty, and dazzling culture. A visit to my website will show the diversity of what is currently available, and the mixing of genres and styles that will be employed in many current, and up-coming projects as well.