Tag Archive - shoot your novel

Do You Really Know How to “Show, Don’t Tell”?

Part of fast-tracking to success lies in writing novels that readers can quickly sink their teeth into. That usually means getting quickly into story and characters in a visual, active way.

In other words, starting scenes with pages of explanation and narrative are a kiss of death for novels these days. Our society is entrenched in movies, TV shows, video games, and dynamic apps for all our devices. All this has influenced (contaminated?) the reader experience.

Readers today expect our novels to read like movies. They want to get right into a character’s POV, right into action, become immersed in worlds without delay.

If you’ve been writing novels for any length of time, you’ve probably heard the golden rule: Show, don’t tell. I have numerous blog posts on this topic, to help writers get what this is all about.

Here are some of the posts. If you have any question about what it means to show instead of tell, it would be well worth your while to read (or reread) these. Way too many aspiring novelists commit this fatal flaw, and as a result, their novels suffer. Continue Reading…

Writing Fiction with a Filmmaker’s Eye

On Throwback Thursdays, we’re looking at excerpts from past posts on Live Write Thrive. Today’s post comes from How Novelists Can Use a Filmmaker’s Eye. Film technique is overlooked by most fiction writers. But it can be so powerful, and readers, used to cinematic storytelling, respond and resonate with such technique.

We’re now going to spend quite a few weeks looking at the purview of filmmakers. Why? Because there is so much more to “shooting” a story than the choice of camera shot.

Filmmakers are also concerned with the design of shots. They are artists with a creative sense of composition, and their aim is to arrange their compositions in ways that will evoke emotional reactions from the viewer. The movie screen is their palette with which they paint visual pictures, and the “colors” on their palette are the various camera shots they choose from to create just the effect they hope to achieve in each segment they shoot. Continue Reading…

Why Cinematic Technique Is Essential for Novelists

This week I’ve released my new writing craft book Shoot Your Novel, which I feel offers writing tools that are not taught by any other writing instructors. Those of you who have been following my blog for a while may have gone through the whole course last year, post by post, and if you have, I hope you have learned some very new approaches to writing fiction.

Why should writers learn new approaches? Aren’t the “old” approaches time-tested? Don’t they work?

They do. However, times have changed in some very significant ways. The primary way has to do with the type and deliverance of media in our modern world. Sol Stein in his highly regarded book Stein on Writing said, “Twentieth-century readers, transformed by film and TV, are used to seeing stories. The reading experience for a twentieth-century reader is increasingly visual. The story is happening in front of his eyes.” This is even more true in the twenty-first century. As literary agent and author Donald Maass says in Writing 21st Century Fiction: “Make characters do something that readers can visualize.” Continue Reading…

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