5 Ways To Avoid Info-Dumping – Written By K. M. Allan

K. M. Allan writes a phenomenal post about authors and info-dumping. Read about it on her blog. Thanks a lot for your advice, K. M. Allan.


When you become a writer, one of the “rules” you’re advised to learn is to avoid info-dumping.

If you haven’t heard of it before, it’s when the writer bombards the reader with everything they think they should know—all at once.

While you might think there’s no way you do that, info-dumping is an easy trap to fall into. It’s one of those writer-blind spots where we can easily see it in other’s work, but don’t notice it in our own.

It can worm its way in like typo gremlins, but here are some likely places you’ll find info-dumping so you can work out ways to avoid it.

5 Ways To Avoid Info-Dumping

Check The Starts

Info-dumping likes to live at the start of things, such as the first chapter, the first introduction of a character, or the first instance of world-building. It sets up home there because the writer makes it the perfect place to build.

Think about what happens when you’re penning the first draft. You’re discovering the story, telling it to yourself, and getting it all on the page. Once it’s there, we forget to examine it in later drafts for info-dumping.

As an example, let’s say it’s the first time your MC has visited the place your story is set. Trying to work out where you’re going with it, your writer-brain brought in another character with a lengthy explanation of the town’s history and why no one goes near the creepy abandoned two-story house on Cliché Crescent.

You needed to know those things to move onto your next chapter, but it’s likely the reader doesn’t need to know it all on their first read.

CONTINUE READING HERE

 

6 Rules for Retelling Classic Stories – Written By Bethany Henry

Bethany Henry published a post about six important rules for retelling classic stories. Thanks for your advice, Bethany!


on Fiction University:

I love retellings of fairy tales and classic stories. They can be filled with adventure, love, and magic that is both familiar and fun. When done well, these retellings can resonate with us deeply and be wildly entertaining—the base of the original story providing extra background that enriches the experience.

However, not all retellings are created equal.

There is a tricky balance in recreating a classic story in a new way. Readers have expectations and high standards for stories they may already love. Too many changes to the story and the reader will feel tricked or confused. Too few changes and the reader is bored.

And of course the story we tell needs to be good.

No pressure.

Whether you’re inspired by Shakespeare, Jane Austin, or Grimm’s fairy tales, here are some simple rules to guide us in writing great retellings.

Continue reading HERE

Is There a Point in Character Bios? – Written By Charles Yallowitz

On the ‘Legends of Windemere’ blog, Charles Yallowitz published an interesting view on character bios. Thanks a lot for this post, Charles!


I can already hear at least once pantser preparing to explain why they don’t do this.  If it helps, person with fingers at the ready, you’re right.  Character biographies don’t work for everyone.  They aren’t even universal because everyone has their own way of doing them because every author has different needs.  Some even change from story to story or as our own skills grow.  I know that I’ve been all over the map as you’re about to see.

Character bios are where I started since tabletop games were my first inspiration alongside fantasy books.  This resulted in my originals being more about numbers stats and basics instead of depth.  I had hair, eyes, height, weight, skin, and physical attributes with very little variety.  I couldn’t tell you what the real difference between a 4 and 5 in strength really was.  A 1-5 ranking was probably a dumb choice.

CONTINUE READING HERE

Inspiration – Fellow Writers, Where Do You Find Yours? – Written By Don Massenzio

On Don Massenzio’s blog, I found an extended and very interesting post about inspiration. I’m generally fascinated to hear where experienced writers like Don Massenzio, author of the Frank Rozzani-series, got their inspiration from. In this article, Don informs us about different ways inspiration came to him. Thank you very much, Don!


It is a great day to start something big – motivational handwriting on a napkin with a cup of coffee

 

2020 – The Year Without Writing Inspiration

2021 is a year full of possibilities. I keep telling myself this over and over.

The pandemic caused me to pause my creative writing for a number of months. The reasons for the lull in my literary creativity are many, but I’d like to believe that most of them are under control or behind me at this point.

As I look for inspiration to jumpstart my writing and to ignite the fire to finish my next book, I decided to go back to those things that inspired me in the past.

I thought I would share these inspirational elements with you to help you find inspiration and invite you to share those things that inspire you to write when you have a lull in your creativity.

Here are the things that have worked for me:

CONTINUE READING HERE

How To Use Author Central And Your Amazon Author Page – Written By Derek Haines

Derek Haines provides us once again with excellent information on how to use our Author Central and our Amazon Author Page. Thank you very much, Derek!


on Just Publishing Advice:

Amazon Author Central is an essential tool for authors who are publishing on Amazon.

From Author Central, you can improve your Amazon Author Page and your book sales page. If you are not using it, you are missing out on a huge bookselling opportunity.

When you first publish your paperback or Kindle ebook on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), you only get the chance to enter the essential but basic details of your book.

Your Amazon book page or sales page will include your cover and book description. But it will be unformatted and very plain.

In This Article

Amazon Author Central has so many tools to help you sell more books

Follow the author button
Use Author Central to make your Amazon book sales page stand out
Add your editorial book reviews
So much more you can do with Author Central
Add more information about your book
Check your improved book sales page
When you publish with Amazon, you are an international author
Summary

Continue reading HERE

Using a Character Bible – Is it worth it? – Written By Don Massenzio

Don Massenzio, the author of the Frank Rozzani-series, has published a fascinating post about using a character bible. I’m always enthusiastic when I can share an article that shows us an experienced author’s recommendation. Thank you for sharing yours, Don!


As I embark on my next writing venture after a 2020 hiatus, I realized something. The equation of my age plus the stress of 2020 and the length of time since I’ve written a Frank Rozzani book has added up to me forgetting the details of many of my familiar characters. I remember reading a while back about having a character bible, a book of character profiles. The article I read talked about how this is especially important if you write a multiple-book series with the same characters.

At the time, I said to myself, “I’ll never forget these characters. They’re part of me.” Well, as I get older, I’m pretty sure there are actual parts of me that I’ve forgotten.

As I try to write for my tried and true characters, I find myself searching my previous books for things like dates, names, hair and eye color and other things that would be great to have at my fingertips. As a result, I’m revisiting the idea of the character bible. I thought that one useful resource would be to go to the blogging community of authors, editors and readers and ask for your opinions and experience.

I thought I would begin, however, by telling you what I’ve learned about this tool for those of you that haven’t heard of it or have been using elements of it without realizing it had a name.

What is a Character Bible?

There is no single definition or series of components that make up a character bible. From the research I’ve done, it’s basically a collection of character profiles each of which tell you about the character’s:

  • Name – This might seem obvious, but a character’s name is important. Think of Alex Cross and the numerous James Patterson books bearing his surname in the title. To a much, much lesser degree, of course, there are my Frank Rozzani detective novels that all have ‘Frank’ in some form in the title Frankly Speaking, Let Me Be Frank, Frank Incensed (my personal favorite), Frankly My Dear and Frank Immersed.
  • Physical Appearance/Mannerisms – The characters height, body type, hair color, eye color, physical anomalies and disabilities and other information about how the character looks.
  • History – Information about the character’s backstory, cultural, educational and socio-economic situation and any other relevant information that is material to the plot.
  • Personality – What psychological quirks, conditions or flaws does the character have? What motivates him/her? What are his/her desires? What’s missing from his/her life?

Now, the worst thing you can do is dump all of this information about the character into your story in one fell swoop. You can dribble out the information as needed in small doses. The other thing to avoid, however, is your character developing some ability or piece of knowledge from his background out of convenience to get you past a snag in the story without foreshadowing it first.

CONTINUE READING HERE

How to write a memoir about difficult times – Written By Roz Morris

Roz Morris provides us with an excellent article on how to write a memoir about difficult times. Thank you very much for this great post, Roz!

 


I’ve had this question from Julia.

I would like to write a nonfictional account of my experience as a caregiver of my 80-year-old mum during lockdown. I’ve never done any creative writing. Where do I start? A diary, a memoir? I’ve been through a lot of struggle and want to put that on paper. Maybe someday I will publish it to share my experience with people facing the same difficulties.

First, Julia, capture the raw material. Start with a diary. Write it as often as possible, before you make any decisions about what to do with it.

How to write the diary

You might be self-conscious to begin with. You might worry about who will read it and what they’ll get from it. Forget that for now.

You won’t publish this diary. It’s notes that you will eventually use to create a book. So for now, it’s you and your thoughts, talking privately to a page or a recording app – whatever is comfortable.

Keep it simple. Just write what you did today. Then write whether that was usual or unusual, and how. If it’s usual, for how long has it been usual? Write how that made you feel, what was difficult and what was a pleasure, and why. Write what you think tomorrow will be like. Or next week. Write your hopes and pleasures and fears.

Do this every day, or as often as you can.

CONTINUE READING HERE

 

 

Do the research before you do the murder #amwriting – Written By Connie J. Jasperson

This is an excellent post with recommendations about writing crime. Thank you so much for your article, Connie.


I recently began reading a murder mystery where the author used a mushroom to kill the first victim. That’s where this book fell apart—the idea was good, but the facts and execution weren’t.

Using a mushroom stroganoff to poison him was a poor choice because fungi is an undependable weapon unless you are an expert. Also, individually, one mushroom may be more or less poisonous than another of the same kind, rather like people are. Judging how many one would need to kill a three-hundred-pound man takes more thought than I am capable of plotting out.

Also, it was stroganoff, which is basically beef and mushrooms in a sour cream sauce. This author danced over the fact that serving the food at this dinner party would have been a tactical nightmare. It would have been nearly impossible to ensure the intended victim got the poison mushrooms and no one else did, which is how this murder was written.

Agatha Christie knew that and regularly poisoned entire dinner parties, literarily speaking. Her murderers made everyone at the table sick but only the intended victim actually died.

This particular mystery was set in Scotland, and I don’t know how poisonous their mushrooms are, but I think that logic would hold true there as well as it does here in the Pacific Northwest.

If I hadn’t been on several nature walks with Ellen King Rice, a wildlife biologist and amateur mycologist who writes well-plotted mushroom thrillers, I would have accepted the slightly contrived fatal dinner as written and focused on the other failings of this novel.

This experience reinforced my belief that readers are often more knowledgeable than we authors are. E-readers can do the research just by highlighting the word and hitting search.

CONTINUE READING HERE

5 Questions to Turn a Character from Flat to Fabulous – Written By Janice Hardy

Thank you very much, Janice Hardy, for your recommendations on our characters. We really appreciate it!


 

on Fiction University:

Sometimes we just need a little help to create a memorable character.
.
Some writers develop incredibly detailed characters before they ever start a story.
I am not one of those writers.

I do the bare minimum necessary to create a character, then I throw them into my story and see what they do. By the time I’ve written the first draft, I know who they are and can revise accordingly.

Although I’ve written this way for decades, I’m not sure I’d recommend it. It’s an interesting tactic, but it has left me with a lot of revising I wouldn’t have needed if I’d done a bit more character work before I started writing.

Lately, I’ve wondered if I should change my process, or at the very least, add another layer of character creation at the start. Because I’ve always said that characters drive the plot, and I’m a plot-driven writer, so my process is missing a critical aspect when I think about it from that perspective.

Continue reading HERE

The Real Witches – Written By Nicholas Rossis

I found a phenomenal article written by Nicholas Rossis, where he writes about witches, in a very unique and still sensitive way, combining myth and history, as he usually does. Thank you for a fascinating post, Nicholas.


I kick off the new year with a matter close to anyone who’s ever flirted with fantasy writing: witches. I mean, what’s fantasy without witchcraft? Probably a rather boring Medieval existence, that’s what.

Of course, there’s a big difference between fantasy and reality. Witchcraft has been a topic for discussion since forever and witches have been surrounded by countless myths through the centuries.

This guest post by John Dickinson, a writer from SuperiorPapers, discusses the myth and reality of witches.

The Real Witches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Witches were traditionally pictured as ugly hags with warts on their faces, a pointy hat with a wide brim, stirring a huge cauldron with a green liquid or cackling through the sky. However, modern pop culture has portrayed them as a kind, nose-twitching suburban housewife; an awkward teenager learning to control her powers, and a trio of charmed sisters battling the forces of evil.

A similar confusion seems to surround their punishment. We believe that witches were burnt for their sin of practicing witchcraft. But this, along with other myths, was an unusual punishment that probably became popular because of Jean d’Arc.

Here are some more interesting facts about witches I hope you will find at least as interesting as I did!

CONTINUE READING HERE