Make Your Writing Invisible

DARK-AND-STORMYWhat if you produced an eBook, and one word on almost every page, chosen at random, pulsated gently. What if you produced a paperback, and one random word in every thousand was a different colour.

I can just hear you now. “What a stupid thing to do!” “Why would anybody in their right mind do that?” and, “Why are you throwing distractions at the readers?”

And my answer is, “You’re doing it all the time.”

Huh? Continue reading “Make Your Writing Invisible”

Why Scientists Shouldn’t Write Science Fiction

scientists writing science fiction LAB BOOKAnd why detectives need to be careful writing Detective Fiction, etcetera. Experts tend to fill their novels with esoteric information that gets in the way of the story, so choose your atmospheric/tech descriptions wisely.

Okay, Isaac Asimov had a PhD in Biochemistry. He was a genius. But I think it is safe to assume that you’re not. And if you are, you shouldn’t be listening to me anyway. Go away and create a brave new genre, and leave us plods in the dust trying to explain why you are so successful.

Asimov’s genius was in using his scientific background to make his Sci-Fi believable, but not letting it become the be-all and end-all of his work.

That is the bane of science fiction writers. So many of them think that they can create all sorts of verisimilitude by having wonderfully accurate science in their stories. And they are wrong. Because what the vast majority of people want is good stories. They couldn’t care less about the science. Readers want realistic characters, not realistic science.

Let me give you an example. Continue reading “Why Scientists Shouldn’t Write Science Fiction”

Novel Point of View is NOT Camera Angle

POV mixups for authorsI think the reason we have so much trouble nowadays with slippery POV (Point of View) in novels is that so many new writers were brought up on film and TV. And many of these people mix up POV with camera angle. They think that because the film camera jumps all over and shows us the action from different angles, the writer can jump all over and show the action from the point of view of different characters. But these two concepts are not the same, even in film. When you move to a novel, it’s a different technique altogether. Because POV is not about what anyone sees. It’s about feeling what the character feels.

Most camera shots, in literary terms, are omniscient. Fly on the wall. The director chooses the shot to be from the best position to reveal what the director wants us to see. There is no pretense that the viewer is actually in that position. Continue reading “Novel Point of View is NOT Camera Angle”

Writing Tip: Trim Your Language

TRIM LANGUAGEThis should be called “Mistakes I Made That You Shouldn’t” series. Once more, you lucky people are going to will get the benefit of my lengthy writing experience. As in, lengthy writing is the problem. In other words, I’m editing a novel I wrote several years ago and cutting out all the junk I have since learned not to put in. If some of you are now where I was then, these examples could be of use in tuning help tighten up your own language. Let’s see how many words we can save if we are firm with ourselves. Continue reading “Writing Tip: Trim Your Language”