One of the many pitfalls novice novellists fall into is the up-front info dump. That’s where the character arc gets interrupted by a blast of back-story, world-description, character biographies and so forth. It brings the story to a screeching halt, and it was death to pace even in the old days of print. These days,… More Avoiding the writers’ up-front info dump
When it comes to writing fiction, the ‘point of view’ an author chooses counts for a great deal. Differing points of view have differing strengths for differing purposes. Today I’m looking at the locked third person. This is almost the same as first person singular, in that the entire story is told from the narrative… More Points of view for writers – third person locked
One of the first things an author has to do when setting up a story or novel is figure out the point of view. There are all sorts – first person singular, third person locked (which is essentially the same thing, sort of), third person multi, and ‘eye of god’. Selection needs a good deal… More Points of view for writers – first person singular
I’ve been reading Between Planets, one of Robert A Heinlein’s first ‘juveniles’ – the dozen YA novels he wrote from the late 1940s. It’s one of the few I didn’t catch up with as a kid. The thing is that, as a writer, Heinlein was up there with any other general American author of his… More Pondering on the stuff Robert A Heinlein invented
One of the common pitfalls for novice novellists is ‘head hopping’, when the point of view changes from character to character within the same paragraph or sentence. Many ‘how to write’ lessons offered to novice writers involve stomping, quite hard, on the practise – and for good reason. It’s often confusing to the reader, and… More Cool ways for writers to control head-hopping…
One of the themes of my writing is the way ordinary people find the strength in themselves to do extraordinary things. It’s a real human thing – it’s how New Zealand’s ‘citizen armies’ achieved so much in both World Wars of the twentieth century. Everyday people – shopkeepers, labourers, clerks, drivers, teachers and so forth… More Whatever happened to the heroes in science fiction?
One of the recent trends in publishing has involved using ‘track changes’ to let proof-editors and authors exchange notes about work going through the publishing process. In some ways it’s a good idea. In others, it isn’t. Actually, it sucks royally. And here’s why. Microsoft’s ‘track changes’ protocol isn’t exactly that of anybody else. Even… More Why I think ‘track changes’ sucks as an editing tool