Write like you’re in love

Don’t you just love this advice? Having problems with your writing? Do whatever it takes to fall back in love with your story. Put your heart and soul into it. There’s nothing like it.

That’s why it’s so hard to cut into the story you love so much. It truly is like killing your darlings as William Faulkner advised. Editing requires a different mindset. Rather than your heart, your head and your intellect must be in charge.

To show or to tell

There is a time for showing and a time for telling in writing. This is the best explanation for the effect on the reader of each of these methods of conveying information to your reader.

Consider what effect you wish to create in your reader when making the decision whether you ought to show or tell.

It is noble

Had you thought of writing, as a noble occupation? I know that when I read I find that escape, those moments of delight and forgetfulness. I appreciate the plotting, planning, writing, rewriting, editing and all the other hours of work that go into publishing a book. So thanks to all the hardworking, underpaid writers and authors out there for your nobility.

How can we as readers show our appreciation for the hard work of our favourite authors?

  • Purchase books through proper channels rather than from dodgy sites. Ensure your favourite authors are paid for their hard work.
  • Spread the word when you enjoy a book by any means you can. Talk about it. Word of mouth goes a long way toward increasing sales.
  • Buy books as gifts for people who might enjoy them.
  • If nothing else, give your favourite books five stars or write a book review where you purchase them, on Goodreads, your blog…
  • Share your delight on your favourite social media platforms; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest…
  • Teach your children the joy of reading and an appreciation for this nobility.

In the gray areas

Issues are rarely black and white. It’s been said that there are always at least two or three versions of any incident: your version, my version, and the truth. Yes, maybe that’s not always the case but it illustrates the fact that we don’t always look at issues from all sides.

One of my alltime favourite books about an important issue is Richard North Patterson’s “Balance of Power” which explores the US gun control issue from just about every side of the issue: the shooters, the family of the victim, the sellers, the buyers, the politicians…

Understanding our fellow humans and their viewpoints is important, whether we agree with them or not. There, in the gray area, is where we often find our best story.

Fictional daydreams

We have all woken in the middle of a dream for some reason and snuggle back, trying to return to your dream. It’s very rare that you are able to return to the dream, well, at least for me.

This is exactly what your editor means when they warn that you can ‘drop your reader out of the story’. In the worst case scenario, your reader may be an acquiring editor who never reads any further. Or it may be a reader who purchased your book who may give it up and never buy another of yours.

What can drop a reader out of your story? Your words may be repetitive,
awkward or klunky, there may be an error of grammar, a plot hole or any of a multitude of other things, some of which may be entirely subjective in the mind of the reader.

What can you do about it? Consider your editor’s comments, polish it to the best of your ability and let it go. Write the best story you can and trust that your reader descends into that fictional daydream.