Fiction Advice

Using Point-of-View

Are your novel’s characters not resonating as real? Have editors remarked that they don’t jump off the page, or aren’t clearly rendered? Before you go back to the drawing board, consider if whether you need to polish your lens. I’m not talking about photography—I mean point-of-view (POV). Understanding how to exploit your characters’ POVs to best serve the story is key to pulling readers in to the story and get invested with the characters. Effectively harnessing POV not only helps clarify a character’s background, worldview, motives and emotions, but makes readers care deeply about what happens to them. Therein lies the gateway to a gripping story. Note: This post expands upon my post, Choosing the Right Point of View for Your Novel. Review this list… Read More

3 Mistakes when Writing Flashbacks

When writing flashbacks, a well-crafted, vivid one can have powerful impact on a story. In Cheryl Strayed’s memoir Wild, her flashbacks offer poignant windows into her internal struggle. They explain why she embarks on a journey to begin with. In the film Slumdog Millionaire, flashbacks of the protagonist’s impoverished past inform and ramp up the tension of the game show at present. In The Godfather: Part II, the juxtaposition between the early 1900s and the 1950s creates a fascinating, dramatic parallel between the mirroring ascents of father and son. When used wisely, a flashback can bring a lot to your novel: boost emotional resonance, infuse richness, and add essential depth. However, flashbacks are so tricky to get right that I know some editors or writing… Read More

Character Development Paint a Portrait

I’ve heard from well established authors and novices alike that creating living, breathing characters is one of the most challenging aspects of writing a novel. Whether critical to the plot or to add life into the scenery, my roundup below will help you master character development.   1. Method Writing Write to Sell author Khalid Talib shares his advice on getting into the mind of your characters in this article about method writing.   2. How-To Guide on Creating Character This article will arm you with the three basics on creating characters by focusing on their appearance, backstory and motivations   3. Choose a Brilliant Name One of the most exciting and yet stressful tasks of a writer is to name their characters. Read this article for… Read More