Every other Wednesday I attend a writer’s club. I highly recommend writer’s clubs to all my fellow writers out there. They are both helpful and entertaining. Anyway, we critique one chapter, from three different authors, each time. At the latest meeting my critique for a particular piece drew ooohs and awwws, I guess they thought it was good. Since then my friends have told me I need to post the advice on my blog. So here goes, pretty basic advice that we all need to remind ourselves of every now and again. This is in the context of fantasy, but I believe it can apply across all genres.
"Trust in your world and trust that I will learn about your world as things come to pass. Don’t feel like you have to tell me every single thing about it. Part of the fun of being introduced to a new world is the ownership I (the reader) feel in it as I “discover” things about it on my own. So, pretend as though everything in your world is completely normal then you will resist the urge to explain everything."
Same applies to characters. Don’t tell me who they are, just let them be who they are. It will be obvious that they are stubborn or flirty or quick witted by how they act.
I know you’ve heard it all before, but sometimes hearing it a different way is helpful.
Great advice:) That is something I definitely had to learn, and I learned the hard way by writing a whole book wrong.ReplyDelete
Most of the time I have to go back and slash half of the first chapter because it's me figuring out how things work for myself. The reader doesn't need to know...yet.
That is good advice ; )ReplyDelete
How fun that you have a writers' group you actually get to meet with!
Natalie, I know what you mean. I have to write my first chapter for myself, that way I know the background, but then it gets cut and it's so funny how everything is just fine without it. I recently started my new book (shh, don't tell my readers or they'd be mad that I'm not concentrating all my efforts on book four. Oh, wait, can they read things in parenthesis too?) and did that very thing. It took me a minute to realize I was doing it. Then I set it aside and started my real first chapter.ReplyDelete
Kiersten, I know, it's shocking. Sometimes I actually talk to people and get out of my house too. But, inevitably, I feel high anxiety being separated from my computer for too long. So I don't do it too much. :)
Great advice. Sometimes it feels like the blogging writers is a type of writers' club, doesn't it? And did you remove the ?? from your blog title? If so, much better! Positive thinking!ReplyDelete
We are definitely our own writer's club.ReplyDelete
Yes, I did remove the ?? from my blog title. There is no ?? about it. I am going to get published. :)
Wondeful advice! We sometimes think we have to tell everything and explain everything and that takes away from the reader! Good job--wish you were in my reader's group!ReplyDelete
I like that. You know, I think that learning how to distribute world building and character building is one of the harder things to perfect as a writer. You've got to give just enough, at exactly the right times. It's hard.ReplyDelete
I'm struggling a bit with that in the book I'm writing right now. So, thanks for the good reminder. :)
Hey, that is good advice. I saw your comment on a different blog so just stopped by.ReplyDelete
You have a mac? I've heard a lot of good things about them.
Terri, thanks. And I am sort of part of your reader's group--I read you everyday. :)ReplyDelete
Renee, it's something I'm constantly struggling with, so I am always reminding myself too. Sometimes I think we notice in other's writing that which we are constantly looking out for in our own. I told the guy that I gave this advice to that this was something I had to say to myself a lot "my readers are smart, they'll get it." So often I say something like, "The brown tree stood tall in the forest." And then in my next line I'll be like, "Did you get that, it was a brown tree, because that part was really important." Okay, maybe I don't say it that obviously, but that's basically what I'm doing when I feel the need to reiterate, blatantly, a subtle point that I had already made.
Jessica, thanks for stopping by. I have seen your cute picture around the blog world too. Yes, I have a macbook and love it. Except, I fear, it deals with a lot of abuse. Oft times it sits on the arm of my big comfy rocking chair in my room and I can't tell you how many times I've gotten up to check on my son or answer the phone and it goes flying onto the floor. Also, my F7 key fell off the other day (I never use that key so I don't know what I ever did to offend it). My "e" is fading. I guess it's possibly one of the most used laptops in the world. I'm sure most writer's computers are the same way.ReplyDelete
I like that advice. It's obvious, but its sound advice that we fantasy writers frequently need reminded of. :)ReplyDelete
anette, thanks. And thanks for dropping by.ReplyDelete
Hey, thanks for stopping by my blog! It was cool to see a fresh face. I'll be back to yours :-) Seems like you have tons of helpful posts here.ReplyDelete
I especially appreciated your comment about characters.ReplyDelete
'Don’t tell me who they are, just let them be who they are. It will be obvious that they are stubborn or flirty or quick witted by how they act.'
Yeah, unless you're writing for dullards or very young children, it can be fatal to underestimate the intelligence of your readers.ReplyDelete
Awesome advice indeed!ReplyDelete