The Surreal Killer

The Surreal Killer
Machu Picchu. Peru

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A Few Tips on Writing

     Paula Shene contributes a guest blog with some useful advice for aspiring and established writers.  Paula writes children's stories, including the series The Chronicles of The K-9 Boys and Girls on Locus Street, with a slant toward teaching our young the importance of animal care.  She also writes short stories on BookRix [some on Amazon] and articles for the online magazine Angie's Diary.  Paula and Paul have been married for 47 years and raised a good-sized family, so she obviously has some impressive time management skills.

     Giving tips on writing is extremely subjective.  I was going to say except for grammar or spelling, but in American English, at least, these areas also are open to interpretation.  Our English language is an oleo of other languages and regularly we accept words into our dictionary as fair game through daily usage.
     As to grammar rules, it depends if you are writing in a formal manner or in a creative manner.  There truly are no hard and fast rules but knowing those rules is imperative in having an understandable story unfold where the reader is along for the ride, not stumbling after the story line because it’s been woven together with fractured English, misusage, or the favorite of today, texting or Madison Avenue advertising spelling.
     Saying all that, I will say, foremost, creativity is the key to an enjoyable story and will garner readership.  Know your limitations in the technical areas and have readers before publishing that are able to tell you of the places that need correction or deleting or further embellishment.  And have an editor, a breathing editor, who may employ using a program as I do, but who also is able to spot incorrect usage the program may not.
    About ten years ago, I read a romance book that was conventionally published.  There were several faults I found with the storyline as a reader.  I was not yet editing or writing, I was the audience we all crave for our books, the reader.  The book had a locale of being a historical western romance.  I read all genres from technical to total enjoyment.  I consider romance to be my candy books, not because they are poorly written.  Au contraire.  I know these stories, the ones I read, will have a happy ending, and I may even learn something along the way, and are moralistic.  There is a sense of rightness in the characters.  Not to say, one cannot start out on the wrong path, but in the end, all is straight for the two in love.

     The problem with the book was its setting.  The mores of the day were more in keeping with the Tavren wench than with the heroine and with today’s dress code.  On the whole, the story was acceptable except for one more glitch.  Maybe overlooked by most readers and certainly by the editor of the story.  There was a sentence that went nowhere.  It had no relevance to the story and was a dead end issue.
     In plotting, if you have twists and turns, just make sure the twist or turn eventually leads back to something in the story.  Other than that, I would not presume to tell you what and how to write.
     I will tell you what I do, but I do not necessarily recommend this to anyone.  Most of my stories are done in my head.  I live, breathe, talk, and sleep with the characters.   I do not jot down a plot line or keep index cards.  I will admit though most of my stories would be considered short stories both for adults and of course, children’s stories, which are normally shorter, as children seldom want drawn out plots.
     As to background, I must have a history of locale, fauna, wildlife, and mores before the story line is birthed.  Knowing how my characters will think and react to the outside stimuli is what drives my story.
For some, the organization is needed to clear the passages and move the story.  Telling anyone how to write is not only impossible, but is also downright rude.  If you have a burning desire to tell stories, do it and do it your way.  Do it or you will have no rest from the voices yelling to be heard.

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