Don't cheat the reader


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Don't Cheat the Reader - This presentation is designed for writers on how to avoid the most common pitfalls of writing. How to keep your readers from throwing the book across the room and into the trash can.

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Don't cheat the reader

  1. 1. Don’t Cheat the Reader! Writing Books Your Readers Will LoveLarry K. & Lorna Collins
  2. 2. Reader’s Prayer By Sylvia Sikeston, EditorGod grant us the courage to not buy the Fiction we cannot stomach,The serenity to read the Fiction we can,And the wisdom to know the difference.
  3. 3. Why We Hate Books• Badly drawn characters• Spear carriers• Too many characters• Unclear protagonist• Introducing key characters too late in the story• Confusing POV
  4. 4. Why We Hate Books – Part 2• Bad writing• Too wordy• Not enough detail• Poor plotting• Cop-out endings• Unresolved endings• Unresolved plotlines• Impossible situations
  5. 5. Why We Hate Books – Part 3• Facts known only to the author• Historical inaccuracies• Language errors – Historical – Moral• Author intrusion – “Telling” details instead of “showing”• Preaching
  6. 6. What We Love - Basics1. Compelling Characters2. A Good Story3. A Great Hook4. A Strong Voice5. Excellent Writing
  7. 7. Characters• Make them believable and authentic – to you and the reader• Make them distinct and identifiable by their actions and sounds• Give them clear emotions• Complete their arcs• Keep them consistent• Make them memorable• Make them necessary
  8. 8. Characters – Part 2• Give each character an agenda (What do they want? Need?)• Make the protagonist and antagonist clear early• How do they react to stress?• Know whose POV is being expressed• Create fewer, not more
  9. 9. A Good Story• Create believable situation• The larger the event, the more important your characters• Create conflicts between characters• Create internal conflict in characters• Increase conflict throughout the story
  10. 10. A Good Story – Part 2• Interrelate scenes and chapters• Create a primary event to start the story• Use suspense – withhold information• Keep your promises to the reader• Make the reader care about the plot
  11. 11. A Good Story – Part 3• Make it real, make it believable, make it true• Resolve plotlines• Build to a climax• Keep your theme consistent• Write strong ending
  12. 12. Create a Hook• Decide where to start the story: – Before the beginning – At the beginning – In the middle – At the end• Name a character• Give significant plot
  13. 13. Create a Hook – Part 2• Give character an attitude, a secret• Create a question in the reader’s mind• Create a mood• Create a great sentence, paragraph or chapter• Create an intriguing place
  14. 14. Create a Strong Voice• POV – 1st person – 1st shifting – 3rd person – 3rd shifting – Omniscient• Be consistent
  15. 15. Excellent Writing• Give enough detail• Don’t be too wordy• Don’t start the next book as the finish of this one• Make sure the mechanics (spelling, punctuation, etc.) are perfect• Use effective metaphors and similes
  16. 16. Excellent Writing – Part 2• Create “cliffhangers” for chapter endings• Give the story a spiritual or moral dimension• Write descriptions to appeal to all the senses• Use active verbs
  17. 17. Writing Basics• Read, Read, Read• Write, Write, Write• Edit, Edit, Edit• Keep at it!
  18. 18. Final Thoughts“When you speak, your words echo only across the room or down the hall. But when you write, your words echo down the ages.” Bud Gardner – Chicken Soup for the Writer’s Soul