Archive for category How To

Word Counts and Why They Don’t Matter

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It happens quite often. I’ll come upon a post on Facebook or Twitter of an author referencing word counts in some way.

How many words are too many words?

What’s the correct word count for ?

How many words should there be per chapter?

Should I split my book into two to keep the word counts down?

I have to add/shave ‘x’ amount of words to reach my target number.

This ominous pressure to land the perfect word count for a book or genre for the sheer purpose of writing the “perfect” book really ruffles my feathers. There tends to be a big misnomer out there that if a book in a certain genre is too long, no one will read it, or if a book is too short, readers will think they’re getting jipped. Now, I’m sure there are plenty of readers out there who hate books that are longer than a certain number of pages, or won’t fork out $0.99 for a short story, but the majority of readers, I’m sure, care more about reading a good, strong, compelling story as opposed to how long it may or may not be. And though many a teacher may agree and profess that word counts are the end all, be all of writing, I’m from the school that word counts do not matter one iota. And I’ll tell you why. Read Full Article

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Where Writing Faulters

No protagonist can rise to become a hero by avoidance. Any plot that simply involves a character trying to stay away from something is only partway there.

via Three Ways To Add the Sizzle to Fiction That’s Fizzled — Kristen Lamb’s Blog

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Editing Nightmares: How To Stay Error Free Without An Editor

The first draft of almost any type of writing, whether it’s a poem, an essay or a novel, is going to be awful. That’s just a given. In my experience, it takes at the very minimum three drafts to find a voice, to craft just the right sentences and make sure the story flows without leaving plot holes it its wake. One major issue with writing draft after draft after draft is the inevitable blindness we all face. Mistakes, whether in plot, character, grammar or spelling, are inevitable while completing each new draft, which is why it’s highly recommended (and why even the most successful authors) have an editor by their side to review and correct their masterpieces. They’re able to look upon your work with fresh eyes and catch things you’ve become blind to because of your familiarity to the work and what your brain thinks it actually says. But in a self-publishing world, there are a lot of us who can’t afford an editor… or at least a good one, which means we have to rely on ourselves to find the problem areas before the reader does. How do you do that? Well, aside from reading your manuscript upside down (to slow your brain down), reading it aloud and being extremely hard on yourself with every line and word you read, there are a couple of things you can do to help keep your manuscript consistent and free of minor and obvious errors. Read on for Tips & Tricks

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Sci-Fi Toybox – Time Travel

The arsenal for science fiction is incredibly expansive. From spaceships and futuristic weapons to scientific breakthroughs and genetic engineering, sci-fi writers have plenty to play with when it comes to tapping away at a story that will blow readers minds.

One of my favorite sci-fi tropes is time travel. It’s a fun way to look at the what-ifs of life (and tapping into the universal ideas of second chances and changing for the better), and I love how it challenges you to think, not only about the consequences of how altering even the smallest thing can have far-reaching effects, but in the complexity of what’s needed to make traveling through time make sense. I’ve used time travel in both novel and screenplay formats, and have been in the development stages of a young adult series that will utilize time travel as its core narrative device.

Why has it taken so long? Because time travel isn’t one of those devices you can just use and at any time you like. Misuse of time travel can lead to disastrous results, including plot holes, paradoxes, confusion, headaches and disbelief. Find Out More About Time Travel

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Improv To Improve: How to Fix Saturday Night Live

Last night’s Saturday Night Live episode with host Donald Trump was the nail in the coffin of an NBC staple. For an episode that was clearly being used as nothing more than a grab for ratings, it did a piss-poor job of attempting to secure those fresh, new eyeballs for future episodes. The show as a whole was stale, boring and insipid — even the pre-taped bits felt labored and uninspired. When the only genuine laughs of the night come from Drunk Uncle, there’s clearly something wrong. And I’m not blaming Trump for this fiasco either; the show has been on life-support for several years now, without showing any signs of returning to what made it great in the first place.

But there’s hope. If Lorne Michaels truly wants to bring people back to Saturday Night Live without looking like some corporate shill who’s lost touch with anything that doesn’t highlight the dollar signs in his eyes, he needs to throw the political correctness rulebook out the window and follow these three simple steps that will go a long way in fixing the show’s current problems. Fix SNL!

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Creating Your Writing Ritual – How To Get Your Creative Juices Flowing

Life is full of rituals. It can be a simple morning routine — a shower, a cup of coffee and a half hour of exercise — to get you going after you wake up, or a very specific act that has to happen before you can accomplishing something, like double-checking all the doors are locked before going to bed at night. Whatever it is, you can’t help it; it’s ingrained in your subconscious to help you feel happier, healthier or more secure. I’m sure, as writers, we all have certain rituals we must adhere to in order to find that creative groove and churn out that next great American novel. It doesn’t matter what that ritual might be; everyone has a different personality, so no one ritual will ever be the same. However, if you’re finding it hard to find the time to write, or when you do, you just don’t have the energy to put any words to paper (which most would call writer’s block), here are some things you might add to your current rituals to help get the juices flowing before sitting down to write. Create Your Ritual

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