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”

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”

Why Can’t Writers Kill the Little Darlings?

kill your darlingsMany of you have no doubt heard the infamous quote by William Faulker, “In writing, you must kill your darlings.” If you haven’t, or you don’t understand this, it means that in our writing, we authors at times may inject characters, scenes or story elements because WE like them, not because the story demands them. I’ve certainly battled this myself. In a recent book I was writing, I had an idea to stick an Airedale in there. I have an Airedale, love them to pieces, and I thought I could write one in just for kicks. I fully intended to, knowing from the get-go that it had nothing to do with the story and was just a bit of fluff that served no purpose except I liked it. Well, the story unfolded, I wrote the whole book and, guess what? No Airedale. There was no place for it in the story. Oh, sure, I could go back and shoehorn it in; I could jam it in there somewhere. But the story didn’t call for it. The story didn’t demand it. Ergo, no Airedale. Continue reading “Why Can’t Writers Kill the Little Darlings?”