Monday, September 5, 2016

writing tips.

Kathryn Grace Photography
Greetings! Today I would like to share a post that I wrote for Aaliyah's blog a while back. I hope these writing tips will help you in some way! :)

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I’m a writer. I don't claim to be a fantastic one, or frankly, even a good one. But I'm a writer.

I love creating my own worlds. My own people. My very own little people that I can love, mold, mother... And then put them through the worst agony possible without killing them (well, most of the time), only to have them emerge stronger than before.

Being a writer is having power. You see it in your head: the epic scene in which your character defeats the antagonist, or is reunited with her lover, or suffers a horrible accident, one that will change her life forever...

But then it happens. You start typing. It looks like a 5th grader wrote it (with those spelling errors and run-ons), the characters feel about as warm and fuzzy as a robot and the dialogue sounds like it's from a B movie. What on earth happened to that scene in your head?

If this has happened to you, don't worry. It happens to every writer. It's called... Never mind, I don't know what it's called. But we all know what it's like. So I'm going to humbly attempt to give a few Dos and Don'ts on how to make your scene turn out more like the one that was in your head.

 1. Don’t be too anxious to get to your climax 

I know, I know. You’re dying to get to that part where the good guy kills the bad guy and the day is saved. But it means so much more if you slowly build up to it. Make your reader sit on the edge of his couch in anxiety.

Don’t: I headed down the dark alley, holding tight to my gun. Suddenly, a loud crash sounded and I jumped around the corner, meeting Hal Barkley, the murderer, face to face. In an instant I pulled the trigger, and the man fell to the ground, dead.

Do: My hand rubbed against the rough brick of Jenny’s Bakery as I crept down the dim alley. In my right hand I gripped my ever-faithful partner, my .38. She had gotten me out of countless jams. The smell of rotten garbage and sewer overtook me and I had to pause to breathe into my handkerchief. If Officer O’Hara ever teased me again about working the easy beats, I was going to brain him. It was when I was using the same handkerchief to wipe the sweat off my brow that a loud, crashing sound echoed through the alley. Trash cans. Someone was here; it was either a maid emptying her sweeper or it was my Hal Barkley. I wasn’t sure, but I had a feeling I was going to find out soon.

2. Avoid awkward and cheesy dialogue 

Don't: "This is it, Hal. Your days of murdering are over."
"That's what you think."

Do: "Move a muscle and welcome hot lead to your mangy carcass."
"You, the rookie cop? Get off your high pedestal. You're more scared than I am."

3. Show, don't tell 

Don't: Dirt and garbage were all over the ground. Laundry hung from the windows. A rat scurried past.

Do: I stepped closer to the muderer, my shoes crunching broken glass. Barkley backed up. With my right hand I held fast to my revolver, and with the other I pushed away a floral dress out to dry. A whiff of soap floated past me, a welcome smell. Rotten food was sickening.

4. Vary your sentence lengths 

Don't: Hal's eyes bulged. His lips were cracked. Sweat was on his palms. What would he do? He was trapped.

Do: It was the only way out of the cavernous alley. Hal breathed deeply, a combination of bad odors filling his lungs. He fingered the knife in his pocket. He would do it. He had to.

5. Avoid unecessary words or conversations 

Some formalities are necessary, but don't bore your reader.

Don't: "Hey Parker, how are you?" Officer O'Hara greeted.
"Great, thanks. How are you?"
"Just fine, just fine."

Do: "Parker!" Officer O'Hara greeted. He slapped me on the back and laughed. "Heard you had a little trouble on your beat today."

These are just five small ways that you can improve your scenes. As writers, we should always be on the lookout for ways to become even better writers. We should never stop learning. :) I hope this helped or inspired you in some way!

Hugs, Kathryn

2 chatty people:

Aaliyah Marie said...

I still love this post SO MUCH. Awesome tips and I'm so happy to see you back in the blogging world!

Kathryn said...

Aaliyah, you're a dear. ;) Thanks so much!

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