Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bows, ruffles & lace + 6 ways to write better fiction

These outfits are so dreamy, they're making me yearn for something feminine and frilly. As a writer working from home these days,
I've been wearing yoga pants, jeans and sweats...a little too often.

Story Writing Help – 6 Ways to Write Better Fiction


1. Picture your stories as “full circles.” A story can be circular, with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Some stories even end up in the same place they started — and the best ones have hints and quiet references to the beginning throughout the whole story. I also like to think of it as leaving a trail of breadcrumbs throughout your story: your readers pick up one crumb at a time, nibble throughout your story, and end up satisfied.

2. Give your characters motivation. If you want to create believable characters, you need to share why they do what they do. What do they hope to gain? What about their past makes this so important? Why did they chose this action over another? To write better fiction, remember that things don’t just happen and there are no coincidences. Know why your characters act the way they do — and share those reasons with your readers. This story writing help can be tricky, because you don’t want to over-explain.

3. Learn who your readers are. This writing tip applies to both fiction and nonfiction. If you’re writing a story for children, for instance, understand everything you can about their age, demographics, habits, etc. To learn more about kids, perhaps you could observe a class for a week in a public school. Watch teens at a movie theater, bowling alley, video arcade, or fast food restaurant. Notice what books they’re reading — get into their physical, spiritual, emotional and mental psyche. The more you know about your readers, the better you’ll connect with them.

4. Write freehand – take a break from the computer. If you’re stuck or are wrestling with the dreaded “writer’s block”, try writing with a pen and pad of paper. Some writers find that their ideas flow easier and faster when they write freehand, versus using the keyboard/computer. This may not just help with story writing — it’ll help you edit and revise your work (because eventually you’ll have to transcribe it to a computer!).

5. Practice the most important story writing tip of all. Here’s one of my favorite story writing tips (and quips) from Anton Chekhov: “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” To write better fiction, provide enough details so readers can visualize your words. But don’t go overboard — make sure you leave some room for the imagination.

6. Make your story make sense. Do your homework so your setting is consistent and believable! Here’s what librarian and writer Trudy Schuett says: “Lately I’ve seen writers put a huge Western-style ranch in an Eastern state, describe a modern Indian reservation in 1880s terms, and refer to nonexistent airplane routes. Most readers can overlook small mistakes, but big mistakes can be jarring.

(Images via Style in the City, Vogue Japan, Les mads, The Cherry Blossom Girl and style.com, tips via Write It Sideways)


duchess_bijuleni said...

I love your blog!!do you know who is the designer of the first dress?It's so romantic and elegant.

Isabelle Lafleche said...

Thanks Eleni, I believe it is from Miu Miu.

The Buzz said...

I've been "nibbling" my way through book and the morsels are delicieux! Such great advice for those of us who ever want to attempt what you do so beautifully...

reub-envision said...

3rd pic is my fave
she always looks great
but I am really feeling this number!

Sandy at Ooh La Frou Frou said...

The ruffles are fabulous, and so are your writing tips! I felt as if I wanted to scribble them on my hand lest I forget. Love your blog!