The Timeless Power of Universal Themes in Fiction

As avid readers and writers of fiction, we often find ourselves drawn to stories that leave an indelible mark on our hearts and minds. Have you ever wondered what makes certain stories stand the test of time, resonating with audiences across the globe, regardless of cultural or geographical differences?

The answer lies in the artful incorporation of universal themes—the bedrock upon which the most enduring and impactful stories are built.

What Are Universal Themes?

Universal themes are timeless, fundamental ideas that are shared by humans collectively and individually. They are the threads that connect the human experience, delving into emotions, beliefs, and values that resonate with people from all walks of life. Continue Reading…

How to Show Meaningful Character Action in Dialogue Scenes

This is such an important aspect to writing dialogue, I want to share this post with you that I wrote many years ago. Too many writers fail to show what their characters are doing while conversing, and coming up with a great THAD is the key to success!

Back when I wrote the book (with four other authors) 5 Editors Tackle the 12 Fatal Flaws of Fiction Writing, I spent a month going over one of the fatal flaws in fiction writing: Flawed Dialogue Construction. I touched on the subject of “talking heads,” which is a problem in a lot of manuscripts. What this means is scenes with dialogue are not well grounded in setting and do not show clearly the actions the characters are engaged in while talking.

But even if writers drop in some lines here and there to show where their characters are when engaged in conversation and some body language or background activity, often these characters are still basically “talking heads.”

A lot of writers fail to take the time to bring a richer environment to the scene because they are so focused on writing the dialogue and making sure the information being revealed is done well. But so much more is needed to make a heavy-dialogue scene effective.

 Writers might get their dialogue mechanics down pat, appropriately using speech and narrative tags effectively, and avoiding that “on the nose” dialogue that just doesn’t come across as believable. But all the great dialogue in the world will still be problematic if it’s floating in space, coming out of talking heads that don’t seem to have bodies attached to them. Continue Reading…

8 Qualities of a Great Book Editor

Today’s guest post is by Andrea Moran.

You’ve likely heard that it’s imperative to hire an editor once you’ve completed a draft of your manuscript. While it’s true that no one knows your work like you do, getting an outsider’s opinion will help you catch things you may have missed after being so close to the manuscript for so long.

But what makes a good editor? Here are some of the qualities you should seek out when hiring someone to help make your book the best it can be.

  1. They remain objective.

This point is the main reason you should avoid enlisting a family member or friend to edit your work. As objective as they claim to be, it’s extremely difficult to separate you as a person and you as an author—and it’s largely the objectivity that will help strengthen your writing in the long run.

To improve as an author, you need feedback from someone whose job it is to look at the manuscript from a random reader’s point of view. This also applies to the subject matter within your book—whether it’s a novel or nonfiction guidebook or anything in between, the editor’s personal views on the subject matter should never influence the changes they suggest. Continue Reading…

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