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6 Ways to Manipulate Time in Fiction

Today’s guest post is by Martin Cavannagh.

One of the least analyzed literary devices in literature is time.

Time works differently in books. It ceases to be the tyrannical presence that we know in real life and instead becomes a simple tool that the writer manipulates to tell her story. Every great story puts time to work for it on some level—many times, in a way that’s deft and creative.

Okay, so what’s the literary equivalent of Notting Hill’s famous “Walk through the Seasons” sequence in Notting Hill, you might ask? Well, authors have their own tricks up their sleeves when it comes to controlling time. Let’s take a look at them now.

Here are six ways that writers work around the clock to tame time in their stories. Continue Reading…

Using the Ten Key Scene Structure to Frame Up Your Novel

You’ve spent days, maybe weeks or months, brainstorming the terrific novel you’re about to write. You’re sure you have a killer concept that’s original and compelling.

You’ve studied your genre and torn apart best sellers in order to ensure you know just how to write a novel that has the potential to sell big. Your folder is full of great scene ideas, and maybe you’ve put your scenes on index cards and you’re ready to lay out your plot from start to finish.

BUT . . . now what do you do? How do you determine which scenes go where? And how do you know you even have the best scenes for your plot?

Do you have too many nothing or irrelevant scenes? Not enough important ones? You wonder: Is my story sketchy? Do I need a subplot? Will the action sag in the middle? Will readers get bored and throw my book across the room? Continue Reading…

How to Make Your Sentences More Descriptive

Today’s guest post is by Jordan Conrad.

The purpose of writing is to communicate information. This is true for writing of all types—for fiction and nonfiction, for creative and technical, for business and legal.

A work of fiction communicates information by telling a story, while an email to an employee communicates information in a much more direct way.

In either case, the author accomplishes the goal of information sharing by using descriptive language to convey detail.

Here is a passage that isn’t very descriptive:

  • Beth first met her spouse in California.

The sentence is fine grammatically, but it isn’t very interesting. What were they doing in California? How did they meet? Did they fall in love head over heels, or did their relationship grow over time as they got to know one another? Continue Reading…

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