A couple of years ago, I read Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy. You know, the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. Well, truthfully, I didn’t exactly read the trilogy. I read the first two books and ditched the third after about fifty pages. In this post, let’s talk about what that third book got so wrong.
Every character and every world in every story has history. It’s part of the richness that makes your characters come alive. But how do you write backstory without overloading your reader?
Have you ever been so afraid to do something writing-wise that you felt physically ill?
Nausea strangles your throat and swirls through your gut. You feel shaky and unsure of yourself. Maybe you’re afraid to start writing that novel, to send out query letters once your manuscript is compete, or to meet that awesome editor at a conference.
When you stretch yourself creatively, fear…
Have you ever been afraid to start writing because you couldn’t come up with an original thought?
What if I told you that being original isn’t the problem?
We recently talked about how long your blog posts should be. Today, let’s talk about how to write a blog post that helps you accomplish your writing goals.
I was at a meetup with a group of bloggers recently when someone turned to me and asked, “What do you think is the perfect length for a blog post? How long should my blog posts be?”
Most of us push through our writing projects alone. But have we got it all wrong? Should be we be writing with someone else?
When I wrote my last manuscript, I let inspiration carry me away. I had the introductory scene all laid out in my head, and my POV character’s voice was whispering to me in my head. I dove in head first, hard-core pantsing my way through the plot as I went.
At first it was great. But about two-thirds of the way through, I’d dug myself into a plot hole I couldn’t get out from, my worldbuilding was haphazard and unclear, my character’s motivations were fuzzy, and I had no idea where to go next.
Are you the kind of author who doesn’t give a damn about what your readers think, jealously avoiding all input and interference while you craft your magnum opus? Or the kind who endlessly revises, fretting over how people will react, integrating every form of feedback from everyone who’s ever read half a sentence in your book? Or are you perfectly confused about when to take in a constructive comment from a fellow writer or reader, and when to ignore it?
Fear not! You are one of a well-populated club. Bottom line, however: always, always listen to your readers.
I have always had a thirst for knowledge and understanding. I read encyclopedias for fun in the 4th grade, and I dominate at trivia to this day. This doesn’t always work well in the writing world. Have you ever seen Lost? I’m about halfway through season three. When I first started watching the show, a friend of mine told me to expect to have a lot of my questions to be unanswered. That advice has made the viewing experience much more enjoyable because I’m not spending half of the episode trying to figure out and reason through what’s going on.
John Keats understood this artistic choice to live in the tension of mystery, and in a letter to his brothers, he gave it a name: negative capability.