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AllWriteFictionAdvice:January2014

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ALLWRITEFICTIONADVICE
A D V I CEONCR EA TI V EWR I TI NG

SA T UR DA Y, 25 JA NUA R Y 2014

TheArtofLayeringPart2
Inpart1oftheArtofLayeringaddingthose
descriptiveelementsIusedanarrativeexampleto
showhowitworksinordertoprovidethereadermore
thanjustflatstorytelling.Ifthenarrativeistokeepthe
readersinterestandcarrythestorysmomentum,there
hastobemore.Descriptionneedsdepth.
Thedescriptionofkeyscenesalwaysneedsalittle
morethanjuststraightforwardtelling.Andreaderswant
morethanjustacoupleoflinesofdrabdescription.
Theywanttoripbackthewordsandpeerrightintothe
soulofthestory.
Theartoflayeringgivesthemthat.
Writersdonthavetogooverboardwithdescriptiontoo
muchcankillthenarrativesometimes,butitiswhatis
encompassedwithinthedescriptionthatcounts.Give
readersbackgroundandforeground,givethemcolours
andsounds,givethemcharacterisationletthem
connecttoyourcharactersgivethemimmediacyand
emotion.
Buthowmuchistoomuch?Well,thereisnorightor
wrongitismostlydowntocommonsense.Youwill
knowifthereisjusttoomuchgoingoninyour
descriptionbecauseitwillbeobviouswhenyoureadit.
Ifthathappensthenthereaderwontreallyhavea
chancetodigestwhatsgoingonitwouldbelikea
dozenflashlightsgoingonandoffinthedarkthe
eyeswouldntknowwheretofocus.
Thebestwaytogaugeifyouhavetherightbalanceis
http://allwritefictionadvice.blogspot.in/2014_01_01_archive.html

A LL WR IT E FICT ION
A DVICE

IsBackstoryNecessary?
CreatingLastingImages
TrustYourMemories
ReadingYourMSSOutLoud
SortingFactfromFiction

WE LCOME T O A LL WR IT E

Soyou'veembarkedonyour
fictionwritingjourney.
It'soneofthehardestthingsto
docreateawhole,believable
worldforotherpeopletoenjoy,
especiallyifyou'renewto
writing.It'salsooneofthe
loneliestjobs,especiallywhen
thereisnohelporadviceor
support...sorightheretherewill
behandyarticles,examplesand
simplestepbystepguidesto
helpmakethecreativeprocess
thatmucheasier.

FE BR UA R Y FE MME S
FA T A LE S

Thisnewdeliciouslydark
anthologyisoutnow,witha
rangeofstunningfemalewriters
toscareanddelightinequal
measure.Iamprivilegedto
haveeightshortstories/poems
publishedinthisbook,soifyou
likeyourdamesalittledarkand
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AllWriteFictionAdvice:January2014

toaskyourselfifthereisenoughinformationforthe
reader.Isthereenoughbackgroundinformation?Is
thereenoughsoundandcolour?Isthereenough
immediacyorpace?Isthereemotion?Isthereany
atmosphereortension?Isthereanytonetothe
narrative?

dangerous,thisisthebookfor
you.

NOW A VA ILA BLE ON


A MA Z ON

Inotherwords,arethereanylayerstopeelaway?Is
thereanydepth?
Ifthereisnt,thenaddsome.Ifyoualreadyhavesome
ofthisinplace,thenseeifitneedsanymore.
BelowisanexcerptfromEdgarAllanPoesTheFallof
theHouseofUsher(1839):
...Iturnedtoseewhenceagleamsounusualcould
haveissuedforthevasthouseanditsshadowswere
alonebehindme.Theradiancewasthatofthefull,
setting,andbloodredmoon,whichnowshonevividly
throughthatoncebarelydiscerniblefissure,ofwhichI
havebeforespokenasextendingfromtheroofofthe
building,inazigzagdirection,tothebase.WhileI
gazed,thefissurerapidlywidenedtherecamea
fiercebreathofthewhirlwindtheentireorbofthe
satelliteburstatonceuponmysightmybrainreeled
asIsawthemightywallsrushingasundertherewas
alongtumultuousshoutingsoundlikethevoiceofa
thousandwatersandthedeepanddanktarnatmy
feetclosedsullenlyandsilently
Nowimaginethispassagewithouttheradiance,the
bloodredmoonordiscerniblefissures.Takeawaythe
fiercebreathofwhirlwind.Silencethelongtumultuous
shoutingandthemightofrushingwalls.Removethe
deepanddanktarn.
Asareader,youareleftwithlittletoworkwith,or
imagine.Therewouldbenosound,atmosphere,colour
ordepth.ButPoegrabsholdofthesensesbylayering
hisdescriptionwithdifferentelements,thissuffusing
thereadersimaginationandbringingthemrightinto
thescene.

FebruaryFemmesFatalesThe
Book

WIS E WOR DS ...

Writingislikebeingmarried
youhavetoworkhardat
maintaininghappinessand
equilibrium,butinvariablyone
alwaysendsupinthedog
house.

A BOUT ME
A J HUM PA GE
UNIT E DK INGDO M

I'vebeenwritingfor
over25yearsand
startedoutinthe
publishingindustry.I've
publishedarticles,studyguides,
poems,flashfiction,short
storiesandanovel.Ialsowork
fulltimesoI'mALWAYS
working.
V IEW MY CO MPL ETE PR O F IL E

BLOOD OF T HE FA T HE R

AnotherexponentofskilfullayeringisNabokov.This
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AllWriteFictionAdvice:January2014

excerptisfromLolita(1955).
Aclusterofstarspalelyglowedaboveus,betweenthe
silhouettesoflongthinleavesthatvibrantskyseemed
asnakedasshewasunderherlightfrock.Isawher
faceinthesky,strangelydistinct,asifitemittedafaint
radianceofitsown.Herlegs,herlovelylivelegs,were
notsoclosetogether,andwhenmyhandlocatedwhat
itsought,adreamyandeerieexpression,half
pleasure,halfpain,cameoverthosechildishfeatures.
ShesatalittlehigherthanI,andwheneverinher
solitaryecstasyshewasledtokissme,herheadwould
bendwithasleepy,softdroopingmovementthatwas
almostwoeful,andherbarekneescaughtand
compressedmywrist,andslackenedagainandher
quiveringmouth,distortedbytheacridityofsome
mysteriouspotion,withasibilantintakeofbreathcame
neartomyface
Noticehowheweavescolour,movement,simile,
sounds,atmosphereandtoneinthisdescription
withoutitcomingacrossasforcedortrite.His
descriptionallowsthereadertoparticipateinthe
scenethesheerrichnessofitgivesthereadermore.It
letsthemimaginethecolourspresentwithinthescene
theycanimaginethesounds,thefeelofit,thus
enablingthemtovisualiseitbetter,tobecomeinvolved.
Hereisanotherpassagefromanotherfamousauthor,
andequallyfamousbook,LordoftheRings,byJRR
Tolkien(1954),butwithoutthelayeringthatmadethe
sceneawhole:

NowavailableonAmazonKindle
UKandUS

BLOOD A ND GUT S
A NT HOLOGY

YOUASCAREDYCAT?Now
availableatAmazon

FE BR UA R Y FE MME S
FA T A LE S S T OR IE S

Deadgrassesandrottingreedsloomedupinthe
mists.Asthedayworeonthelightincreasedalittle,
andthemistslifted.Farabovetherotandvapoursof
theworldtheSunwasridinghigh,butonlyapassing
ghostofhercouldtheyseebelow,givingnocolourand
nowarmth.
Itsasimplescene,yettherearetoofewlayersfora
readertoimaginemuch,however,ifIrestorethe
simile,tone,colourandatmosphereoftheoriginal
narrative,thescenechangessomewhat:
Deadgrassesandrottingreedsloomedupinthemists
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AllWriteFictionAdvice:January2014

likeraggedshadowsoflongforgottensummers.Asthe
dayworeonthelightincreasedalittle,andthemists
lifted,growingthinnerandmoretransparent.Farabove
therotandvapoursoftheworldtheSunwasriding
highandgoldennowinaserenecountrywithfloorsof
dazzlingfoam,butonlyapassingghostofhercould
theyseebelow,bleared,pale,givingnocolourandno
warmth.
Withoutthoseextralayersforthereadertoenjoy,
almosttheentirescenebecomesflat.
Aswriters,wewantthereadertolettheirimaginations
runwild,tobecomeapartofthestory.Givingdepthto
yourdescriptionsisjustonewaytodoit.
Layeringisntdifficult.Itsabouttakingthosesignificant
sceneswithinyourstory,lookingatthemcloselyand
findingoutiftheycanbeimprovedinordertomake
sureyourreaderisfullyengaged.Givethemlayersto
peel,givethemahintatwhatliesbeneaththesurface.
Maketheminterested.Makethemimagine.
Sogivethemmorethanjustwords.Showthem.

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SA T UR DA Y, 18 JA NUA R Y 2014

TheArtofLayeringPart1
Whenwethinkofdescription,mostwritersthinkabout
simplydescribingafewelementsforthereaderduring
narration,suchasasoundorwhetheritslightordark,
butifyouthinkofastoryratherlikeanonion,youwill
seethatitrevealsmanylayersbeforeitfinallygets
tothecore.
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2015(8)
2014(46)
December(2)
November(5)
October(2)
September(4)
August(4)
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AllWriteFictionAdvice:January2014

Fictionordescriptionisverysimilarinthewayit
operates.Descriptivewritingentailsanumberof
elementstomakeitstandout,andlayeringisjustone
ofthem.

June(4)

Theideaoflayeringwithindescriptionistoshowthe
readerthereismoretojustthesurfaceofthestory
thatthereismoreinformationtogleanfromit
background,colours,noise,characters,atmosphere
andsoon.

February(4)

Descriptionbringsthenarrativetolifeforthereader.
Theyhavenothingtogoonbutthestrengthofa
writerswordsandthereforethewriterhastoallowthe
readertovisualisethescenesthataretakingplace,to
becomepartofit,andthebestwaytodothatisto
makethenarrativemultilayered.Insimpletermsitisa
wayofshowingkeyelements,ratherthantelling.
Forinstance,peelawaythetoplayerandyouget
backgroundinformation.Peelanotherlayerandyou
willgettensionandatmosphere.Peelanotherandyou
willgetdeepemotion,empathyandimmediacy.
Anotherlayerwillrevealcharacterisationandmore
layerswillrevealpace,actionandsoon.
Theabilityofthewritertolayertheseaspectsoneon
topoftheotheriswhatgivesstoriesandnovelssuch
depth,andwhatenablesthereadertolookbeyond
merewords.Theyareabletoreadbetweenthelines
andbecomeinvolvedwiththestory.

May(5)
April(3)
March(5)

January(4)
TheArtofLayeringPart2
TheArtofLayeringPart1
CommonWriting'Myths'
WritingIsntEasy
2013(49)
2012(48)
2011(50)
2010(32)

T WIT T E R

YoucanfindmeonTwitter:@AJ
Humpage

FOLLOWE R S

Layeringplaysavitalrole,particularlywithimportantor
significantscenes,becauseitallowsthewriterto
expandbeyondthesurfaceandaddmanylevelsfor
thereadertodiscoverandenjoy.Itstopsthewriter
fallingfouloftellingratherthanshowing.
Togiveyouanexample,Iveborrowedanextractfrom
myshortstoryDriftwood(GanglionPress),wherethe
maincharacterStella,andherhusbandDouglas,areat
seaaboardheiryacht,sailingaroundtheGreek
islands.
Thesquallrolledinfromthedistance.Theyachtsailed
headlongintotheapproachingtheatreofdarkness,
http://allwritefictionadvice.blogspot.in/2014_01_01_archive.html

S UBS CR IBE T O

Posts
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AllWriteFictionAdvice:January2014

rolledalittle.

AllComments

Douglasfoughtwiththewheel.
Thesceneisnotthatextraordinary.Itdoesntstandout
anditdoesnthaveanydepth.Thereisntmuchforthe
readertogoonitdoesntyetengage.
ButifIaddanotherlayer,perhapshintatsomecolour,
thenthescenebeginstochange.Ivehighlightedthe
addedtext.
SilverspittlegrazedStellasfaceasthesquallrolledin
fromthedistance.Theyachtsailedheadlongintothe
approachingtheatreofdarkness,churnedalittle,
snatchingrusttaintedreflectionsfromthelowcloud.
Douglasfoughtwiththewheel.
Itlooksbetter,butitsnotyetcomplete.Thecharacters
arepivotaltothescenethereforethesceneneedsto
reflectthiswithsometensionandatmosphere.Again,
Ivehighlightedtheadditions.
Thedarkcreptinquickly,broughtrainwithit.And
fear.
SilverspittlegrazedStellasfaceasthesquallrolledin
fromthedistance.Theyachtsailedheadlongintothe
approachingtheatreofdarkness,churnedalittle,
snatchingrusttaintedreflectionsfromthelowcloud.
Herinsidesshudderedasthestormrushedtoward
them.
Douglasfoughtwiththewheel.

MOS T POPULA R A R T ICLE S

Chapter&NovelLengths
Justhowlongshouldachapterbe?
Whatsthebestlength?And
doesanovelhavetofitintoa
setamountofwords?Theseare
justtwoo...
Flashbacks
Whatisaflashback?Flashbackis
oneofthoseusefultoolsthata
writercanusetoenhancea
story.Itenrichesand,ina
sense,nourish...
Subplots
Imoftenaskedbynewwriters
howsubplotsshouldevolve.
Somewritersfindsubplots
difficulttogettogripswhile
othersareputofftry...

WOR K S OF A J HUMPA GE

http://ajhumpage.blogspot.com
ThrillersChillers'n'Killers

SHA R E IT

Wecanstillturnback,shesaidtohim.Nopoint
inbeingfoolish.
Itsstartingtoshapeupnowthatithassomedepth,
andthatsbecauseIveaddedafewmoreinteresting
layers.NowimaginethesceneifIaddsounds,which
Ivehighlighted.
Thedarkcreptinquickly,broughtrainwithit.Andfear.
SilverspittlegrazedStellasfaceasthesquallrolledin
fromthedistance.Theyachtsailedheadlongintothe
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AllWriteFictionAdvice:January2014

approachingtheatreofdarkness,churnedalittle,
snatchingrusttaintedreflectionsfromthelowcloud.
Somethingacrosstheoceanrumbled.Herinsides
shudderedasthestormrushedtowardthem,rasping
acrossthebow.

T R A NSLA T E

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Theyachtcreaked,rolledalittle.
Douglasfoughtwiththewheel.
Wecanstillturnback,shesaidtohim.Nopointin
beingfoolish.
Byaddingasoundlayer,Iamgivingthereadermore
toworkwith,moreelementsforthemtoimagineand
thereforemorepathwaysintothisfictionalworld.
Butthesceneisstillnotlayeredenough.Itneedsmore
layers.ThistimeIwilladdmorecharacterisation.

STATS

PA GE VIE WS LA S T MONT H

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Thedarkcreptinquickly,broughtrainwithit.Andfear.
SilverspittlegrazedStellasfaceasthesquallrolledin
fromthedistance.Theyachtsailedheadlongintothe
approachingtheatreofdarkness,churnedalittle,
snatchingrusttaintedreflectionsfromthelowcloud.
Herinsidesshudderedasthestormrushedtoward
them.
Douglasfoughtwiththewheel.
Wecanstillturnback,shesaidtohim.Nopointin
beingfoolish.
Foolish?Nopointturningbacknow,wemightas
wellsailthroughitgetoutofitassoonaswecan.
Besides,theyachtisstrongshecanfacea
moderatestorm.
Canshe?Howthehellwouldyouknow?
WiththeseextralayersinplaceIveenabledwhat
wouldhavebeenaparticularlyflatscenetocomealive
andenablethereadertovisualiseit,tobecomepartof
it.Nowthesceneisnotjustmerewords.Itsmorethan
that.
Andtheonethingitdoesntdoistell.
http://allwritefictionadvice.blogspot.in/2014_01_01_archive.html

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AllWriteFictionAdvice:January2014

Inpart2welllookatsomemoreexamplesofthe
layeringtechniquethatwillhelpyouavoidtellingand
insteadgetyoutoshowmoreinyournarrative.
Nextweek:TheArtofLayeringPart2
Driftwood,byAJHumpage2011
PO S TED B Y A J H UMPA G E A T S A TUR D A Y, J A N UA R Y 18, 2014
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SA T UR DA Y, 11 JA NUA R Y 2014

CommonWriting'Myths'
Thereareplentyofmythssurroundingfictionwriting,
thekindthatstickinourmindsandgiveusmanyofour
misconceptions.

Weveallexperiencedthem,moresoatthebeginning
ofourwritingcareers,becausemanywritersmakethe
mistakeofassumingthatfame,untoldrichesand
successwilllandattheirfeet.Unfortunately,thisrarely
happens,butifwritersputinthehardworkandthey
arewillingtolearn,thensuccessissuretofollow.

So,whatarethemainwritingmyths?

Writersearnmillions

Thisisoneofthebiggestmisconceptions.Thetruthis
thatmostwritersdontearnmillionsandtheyhavean
average9to5jobtoensureareliableincome.

Writing,onthewhole,wontpaytherent.Thefewlucky
onesthathavecaughtaneditorseye(andsaideditor
thinkstheycanmakelotsofmoney)orthefewwriters
thatcatchthezeitgeistandwritesomethingthatis
currentlyflavourorthemonth(i.e.FiftyShades,Da
VinciCodeetal).Thatdoesntnecessarilymeanthese
novelsareactuallyanygood,however.

http://allwritefictionadvice.blogspot.in/2014_01_01_archive.html

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Gettinganovelpublishediseasy

No,itisnt.It'smorelikelythatyourmagnumopuswill
berejectedcountlesstimesbeforeitcatchesan
editorseye,ifatall.
Becomingpublishedisnotaseasyasitsounds.Its
onlyeasyifyouselfpublish,throughthelikesof
Amazon.Mainstreampublicationissomewhatdifferent,
however.Itsdifficultbecauseitscompetitive,and
anyonewhosaysitisntcompetitiveismisleading
potentialwriters.Itiscompetitive,andthatissimply
becauseoftheamountofmanuscriptsthatagentsand
publishersreceiveeachweek.Theyhavetosift
throughhundredsandhundredsofsubmissions,and
maybeoneortwomightbespecialenoughcatchtheir
interest.
Inessence,yoursubmissionmustcompetewith
thousandsofothers,therefore,whatyousubmitreally
doeshavetomakethemsitupandtakenotice.

Grammarisntimportant.Editorswilldoitforyou

Apoorlywrittensubmissionwillnotimpressan
editor.Theycanhelpwithcertainthings,theycan
highlightareasforimprovementandhelpguideawriter
toimproveamanuscript,buttheywillnotcorrectitfor
you.Poorsubmissionstelltheeditoralltheyneedto
knowaboutthewriter,anditwillendinrejection.
Grammarisimportant.Ifyoucantgetthebasicsright,
noeditorwillwanttopublishyou.

Oncepublished,youllneverberejectedagain

Dontbankonit.Beingpublishedisntagoldenticketto
allprospectivepublicationsandisntaguaranteethat
youwilleverberejectedagain,becauseyoucanstill
berejected,evenifyouarealreadypublished.
Eachpieceofworkyousubmitforpublicationis
assessedonitsownmerits.Thatmeansitmaybe
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acceptedoritmayberejected.Thatsjusttheway
publishingworks.

Writinganoveliseasy.Anyonecandoit

Writingisnevereasy.Andnoteveryonecandoit.
Anyonecanwrite,butnoteveryoneisawriter.That
meansmostofwhattheywriteissubstandardandnot
worthyofmainstreampublication.Thesewriters
wouldntgetasecondglancefromagents.

Writingishardworkandtakestimeandalotofeffort.
Nothingisinstant.

Itonlytakesacoupleofmonthstowriteanovel

Sometimestheyrequicktowritesometimestheytake
longerthanexpected.Butthatsonlythefirstdraft.Its
thesecond,third,fourthandfifthdraftsthattakeupthe
time.

Anyonewhocanchurnoutaperfectlyedited,polished
novelwithinthespaceofafewmonthsisaliterary
genius.Troubleis,literarygeniiareextremelyrare.
Dontrushyourwriting.Takeyourtimetopolishyour
noveltoperfection.Editorsacceptnothingless.

OncepublishedIwillbeahugesuccess

Yetanothermythbasedonpreconception.Thesad
truthisthataround75%ofallnewnovelsfailtobreak
even,letalonemakeaniceprofitforthepublisher.
Often,itisthesecondorthirdbookthatseesaprofit
andsellstheauthorsname.
Itisawellknownfactthatnewandunknownauthors
needtimetoestablishthemselveswiththebookbuying
public.Iftheyhavebeenonthewritingcircuitforafew
years,establishingthemselves,thentheprogressionof
successismadeeasier.

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Thisisanotherreasonwhywritingisneveraneasy,
instantprocess.

Idontneedrulesandconventions.Illdoitmy
way.Editorswilllovemystuff.

Goodluckwiththat.

Imafabulous,talentedwriter.Mynovelisso
brilliant,agentswillfightoverit.

Fabulous,talentedwritersarerare,andthosewho
shoutloudaboutbeingfabulousandtalentedare
nothingofthesort.Atmost,theyaremediocre.The
onlythingtheyarefabulousatisbeingarrogant.And
editorsdonotlikearrogantwriters.

Youareonlyafabulous,talentedwriterwhenyouve
gotsomethingpublishedandyouvereceivedthe
praisetobackitup.Andnovelsareonlybrilliantifyour
editorthinkssoandgivesyouapublishingcontract.

Writingwillmakemerichandfamous

Unlessyouareoneofthoserareauthorswhojust
happentowritesomethingthatcanmakeapublishers
headspinwithdollarsigns,thesadfactisthatthe
majorityofwritersdontmakethatmuchmoneyatall,
andmosthavefulltimejobsinadditiontotheirwriting.

Manypeoplewritesimplytobecomerichandfamous,
buttherealitysoonhitshome.

Thebestadviceistogetridofanyexpectationswhere
writingisconcernedandpurgeanypreconceptions.
Thatwayyouwontbethatdisappointedwhenyou
dontgetthatmegabuckspublishingdeal,butequally
youmaybepleasantlysurprisedandifyoudid.

Nextweek:TheArtofLayering
PO S TED B Y A J H UMPA G E A T S A TUR D A Y, J A N UA R Y 11, 2014
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SA T UR DA Y, 4 JA NUA R Y 2014

WritingIsntEasy
Itsanewyearanditmarksafresh,enthusiasticstart
towriting,especiallyfornewwriters.Butforthose
beginnerswhothinkwritinganoveliseasy,thenitis
besttofindoutnowratherthanlaterthatitisntaseasy
asitsounds.
Firstly,letsdispelafewmythssothateverynewwriter
isfundamentallyawareofwhatliesahead.Writing
certainlyisnteasyalmostallwriterswillagreeand
anyonewhosaysdifferentcantbeatruewriter.Every
writerhasadifferentskilllevel,sonoteveryonecan
writethatwellandnoteveryonehasrawtalenttodo
so.
Fact:writingisaverylonely,hardandfrustrating
business.Itoftenmeanshours,days,weeksandyears
concentratingonanovelthatmayneverbepublished.
Awritermightspendweekswritingashortstorythat
mayneverfindahome.Noteverythingwewrite
makesitintoprint.Thatsthenatureofwriting.
Disappointmentisoftenastapledietofanywriter
understandfromtheoutsetthatnoteverythingyou
writewillbeamazingandnoteverythingwillbetoa
publishablestandard,butitsworthrememberingthat
themorewewrite,thebetterwebecome.
Writingtothatpublishablestandard,however,doesnt
comeinstantly.Thefactisthatpeopledontjustwake
uponedayandsuddenlybecomenovelists.Icanpluck
afewstringsonaguitarandIcanplayanoteortwoon
thepiano,butitdoesntmakemeamusician.
Inotherwords,itmeansyearsofdedicationand
learningthecraftoffictionwriting,sometimeswith
minimalreward.
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Italsomeanswouldbewritersneedtodevelopatough
skinandapositiveoutlookinordertorideoutthe
disappointmentsthatwillinevitablycomethedreaded
rejectionsbeforeanypositivesstarttoemerge.
SomewritersspendalifetimetryingtobethenextJK
RowlingorStephenKing,buttheyneversucceed
simplybecausetheyaretryingtoemulatethosewriters
inthehopethattheybecomerichandfamous,too,
ratherthanlettingtheirownwritingvoiceandstyledo
thework.Oftentheirwritingisntverygoodandthey
haventtakenthetimetolearnaboutcraft.Youcantbe
awriterovernight.
So,whyisntwritingeasy?
Well,itsnotjustaboutstringingwordstogetherto
makeastory.Itisntjustaboutbeingcreativeeitherit
hasmanytechnicalcomponentstoo.Itsabout
developing,andstructuringsomethingthatentertains,
thrillsandsatisfiesareader,sotherehastobea
fundamentalappreciationofhowwordsworkandwhat
theymean.Thatmeanslearningaboutand
understandingthemanydifferentwaysthatnarrative
works,sowritersneedtobeawareofthetechnicalities
suchasdialogueanddescription,correctPOV,correct
tenses,passive/activeverbs,understandingsentence
structure,theuseofmodifiers,andintensifiers,
knowingthedifferencebetweenadjectives,adverbs,
nounsandverbsandaboveall,thecorrectuseof
grammarandsyntax.
Itsalsoaboutunderstandingtheideaofresearch,
plotting,subplottingandstrategy.Itsaboutapplying
themestoastoryandhowtheyallrelatetothemain
character,thenmakingalltheseelementscometo
togetherseamlesslybytheendofthestory.
Itsaboutknowinghowtocharacteriseusingcharacter
history,actions,responsesandthoughts.Itsabout
creatingtherightsettingandbackground.Itsabout
creatingunitybetweentime,placeandaction(Greek
unities).Itsaboutkeepingcontinuity,knowinghowto
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2/23/2015

AllWriteFictionAdvice:January2014

transitionsmoothlybetweenscenesandhowto
correctlyuseflashback.Itsaboutunderstandingand
applyingsymbolismandforeshadowingtocreatea
deeper,layerednarrativetoprovidehiddenmeanings
forthereadertodiscover.
Anddontforgettherightuseofmetaphorandsimile,
tone,assonanceimmediacythelistisendless.
Lastly,andmostimportantly,thereistheabilitytoedit,
tospotandcorrectyourownmistakes.Editingis
probablythehardestpartofthewritingprocess.
Writingisallthesethingsandmore.So,iswriting
reallyeasy?
AnyonecanwriteanovelandselfpublishonAmazon
etc.,however,alargegamutofworkonthereis
substandardandwouldntgetpastaneditor.
Writersmustunderstandjusthowharditistobecome
mainstreampublished.Inotherwords,writersshould
beatastandardthatknocksthesocksoffagentsand
publishers,sothattheywillwanttopublishyourwork.
Yourjobasawriteristomakethemsitupandsay
Wow!
Butgettingthatreactionisnoteasy.Everywriter
startingonthisjourneyshouldbeawarethattheroad
aheadisntstraight,smoothorlinedwithgold.Farfrom
it.Itsaconstant,uphillstruggletogetyourwork
noticedandappreciated,andevenhardertobe
published.
Butthewaytodothatistoforgetaboutinstant
successandconcentrateonthecraftandmechanics
offictionwriting,tostartatthebottomandworkyour
wayup.Writingisaconstantlearningcurve,andthere
ismuchtolearn,becausenooneisbornwithinstant
knowledge.Theonlythingagoodwriterisbornwithis
rawtalenttostarttheprocess.
Thewritingprocessallowsyoutolearnasyouwrite,to
keepwritingandimprove.Ittakesyearsof
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AllWriteFictionAdvice:January2014

apprenticeshipandpractice.Itsnotinstant.Andthe
greatestlearningdeviceforanywriterisrejection,
becausethatshowwecorrectourmistakesandlearn
aboutediting.Thatshowwelearntobecomebetter
writers.
So,doyoustillwanttowrite?Evenifitisnteasy?
Thenbepreparedforfailurerejectionand
disappointmentwillbecomeapartofyourwriting
journey,butultimatelyfailurewillhelpyouasawriter.
Putinthehardwork,bepreparedtolearn,andyouwill
eventuallysucceed.
Andremember,writingisnevereasy.
Nextweek:WritingMyths

PO S TED B Y A J H UMPA G E A T S A TUR D A Y, J A N UA R Y 04, 2014


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