09 29 2020
Welcome to Ron’s Lit Tip. Every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I will share a tip with you.
If you’ve been following me for very long you’ve read my advice to identify with your primary character and, to some extent, with all the characters. This is important and I don’t mind restating the idea. But there is more.
Just as a painter doesn’t paint his primary characters in colorful clothes and place them in a drab setting, so the writer must also not forget the overall picture. Every part of a painting garners the painter’s attention. The same is true with the written word.
When I edit my books, I not only look for misspelled words and poor grammar, I look at the flow of the story. It is also called ‘pace’. Pace can be affected by the tense of the words, the length of sentences and paragraphs, and more.
But there is more than spelling, grammar, and pace. There is the ‘coming alive’ factor. I love it when a reader says I brought the story alive!
How is that done?
There are many technical tools available to achieve this, but I think one of the most useful tools is your involvement in the story. Or, to put it another way, are you immersed in the story?
Just as you got immersed in your character(s), you need to be immersed in your story or plot. The plot could be described as the most important part of a story. If you have a character that is great but the plot flops, you have a flop. However, you might be able to overcome bad characters with a good plot. It is difficult, but not impossible.
By immersed I am saying that you are into the plot. You can picture it unfolding even as you are writing it or later reading it. Anticipation develops and carries you forward. But a bad plot does not have that ability.
So, how do I Immerse Myself in the Story?
You let the story take control. Just as you become a character and let the character take on a life of its own, you do the same thing with the plot. You start out with a basic plot and let it build upon itself.
If you are reading your story and it suddenly develops bumps, you might need to stop and smooth it out. For example, you are reading along in the present tense and suddenly the book is in past tense. Easily done, easily fixed. Usually the culprit is one word and only requires changing the tense. Other times it could be a sentence, a paragraph, or the entire scene. Which means you go back and rewrite the offending portion.
Sometimes this requires more than the correct word but changing the wording, even the structure. There are times when you toss the offending scene and either replace it or leave it out.
Tip: Let the plot drive you.
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R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. #Writingservices