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WritingWednesday: Setting May 1, 2013

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in WritingWednesday.
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WritingWednesday for May 1, 2013: Setting in Fiction

Setting is the stage for the drama of life. Whether set in a real place; a time past, present or future; or a fictional universe, a novel’s setting can be as crucial to the story’s narrative as characters. This week in #litchat WritingWednesday we’ll discuss how to write vivid settings in fiction. A selection of resources for understanding setting are listed below.

Writers Digest: The How of Where, by Chuck Sambuchino

Author’s Craft: Setting

Education.com: Using Setting and Building Sceneste

McPherson College: The Elements of Fiction—Setting by Bruce McPherson

The Editor’s Blog: What is Setting in Fiction by Beth Hill

Writing World: Four Ways to Bring Setting to Life, by Moira Allen


WritingWednesday: Dialogue in Fiction April 24, 2013

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in WritingWednesday.
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WritingWednesday for April 24, 2013: Dialogue in Fiction

Do you ping-pong your dialogue? Do your characters laugh out their lines? Does your dialogue progress your plot or reveal character? We’ll discuss these fiction writing concerns today in WritingWednesday. Take some time to read through the following links and then join us for #litchat at 4 p.m. in Twitter.

Editor’s Opinion Blog by William H. Coles: Creating Effective Dialogue

The Guardian/Books: DBC Pierre on How to Write Convincing Dialogue

WordServe Water Cooler: Writing Believable Dialogue by Megan DiMaria

Fiction Writer’s Mentor: Dialogue Tags

The Editor’s Blog: Punctuation in Fiction (US)

BBC: Punctuation and Layout of Dialogue (UK)

Writer’s Digest: Writing Gender Specific Dialog by Rachel Scheller

If you know of a good resource (book, video or blog) for writing effective and convincing dialogue, please share the link in the comments section.

WritingWednesday: Verb Tenses April 16, 2013

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in WritingWednesday.
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WritingWednesday for April 17, 2013

Until recently, most novels were written in past tense. It was the way of the storyteller, the scop, the bard—to recite a story that has already happened. Early fiction authors drew from such heritage, writing novels as if the stories had already happened. In recent years, novels and short stories, both literary and mainstream, have eschewed the past tense in favor of the present tense. Is present tense fiction a fad? Is past tense the best way to tell a story? Can past and present tenses be mixed within the same story? We’ll discuss these and other craft concerns in WednesdayWriting.

Resource links to verb tenses and preferential uses:

The Editor’s Blog: Narrative Tense, Right Now or Way Back Then

Grammar Girl: Present Tenses

House of Verbs: Past, Present and Future Walk into a Bar

Purdue University Online Writing Lab: Verb Tense Consistency

Indiana University of Pennsylvania Writing Center: Shifty Tenses

Grossmont College: Verb Tenses in Creative Writing

Salon: The Fierce Fight Over the Present Tense

The Guardian: Philip Pullman Calls Time on the Present Tense

The Horn Book: Present Tenses, or It’s All Happening Now

WritingWednesday: Narrative Point of View April 9, 2013

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in WritingWednesday.
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WritingWednesday for April 10, 2013

Fiction relies on character point of view for presentation of story. There is no right or wrong POV, but how it’s used can affect character sympathy, urgency, plausibility and other emotive elements. This week in #WritingWednesday we’re discussing POV from a broad perspective. Posted below are some helpful links to understanding POV in fiction:

The Fiction Writer’s Mentor: Point of View

Grossmont College: Narrative Point of View

Writer’s Digest: Point of View

Writer’s Digest: What Point of View Should You Use in Your Novel?

The Editor’s Blog: Deep POV—What’s So Deep About It

Annie Grace: Point of View

Foremost Press: Vicki Hinze, What is Point of View

WritingWednesday: Poetry April 2, 2013

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in WritingWednesday.

WritingWednesday for April 3, 2013: Poetry

NationalPoetryMonthPoster-2013Poetry is the heartbeat of literature. The Greeks likened poets to creators, as did the Anglo-Saxons and the Scots.  T.S. Eliot called poetry the “logic of the imagination.” This week in WritingWednesday we’re looking at what it takes to write meaningful poetry. As with each WritingWednesday, we’ll begin with some resources:

The Poetry Foundation Learning Lab

Poets.org: On Writing

Creative Writing Now: How to Write Poetry

Dawn Hogue: What is a Poem Made of (and other poetry resources)

Instructables.com: How to Write Poetry

Poetry.org: What is Poetry (ironically lifted from Wikipedia)

WritingWednesday: Show vs Tell March 27, 2013

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WritingWednesday for March 27, 2013: Show vs Tell

It’s one of the first guidelines taught in writing courses, and still one of the most misunderstood elements of good writing. Show vs tell sounds simple, and yet experienced as well as emerging writers find it challenging. This week in WritingWednesday, we’re discussing what show vs tell means, how to identify telling passages, and whether it’s ever okay to tell rather than show. Listed below are some resources to give you a good understanding of the writer’s prime directive.

Victoria Mixon, editor
The 6 Degrees of Show Vs Tell Rated by Quality

Writer’s Digest
There Are No Rules: Showing Vs Telling in Your Writing

Joshua Henkin in Writer’s Digest
There Are No Rules: Why Show Don’t Tell is the Great Lie of Writing Workshops

How Do You You Show Vs Tell in Writing Fiction?

Creative Writing Now
How to Write Fiction

Fiction Matters blog by Bonnie Grove
Writing Workshop: Show Vs Tell

Read Write & Edit
Show Vs Tell

Chatscript of this #litchat is available here.

WritingWednesday: Structure of the Novel March 19, 2013

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WritingWednesday for March 20, 2013: Structure of the Novel

There is no single, perfect way to structure a novel. Every novel has its goals and the goals are served by the novel’s structure as much as the characters and setting. Even those who write without plotting to an outline can appreciate the fact that a novel must have a certain flow of tension to drive the momentum and structure is one of the keys to sustaining urgency. This week in #litchat WritingWednesday we’re discussing several of the most common ways for structuring fiction. Linked below are a few blogs and writing site articles featuring the structure of fiction.

Writer’s Digest: The Four Story Structures That Dominate Novels

Writer’s Digest: Two Pillars of Novel Structure

Daily Writing Tips: How to Structure a Story, the Eight-Point Arc

Storyfix: Story Structure, Just Possibly the Holy Grail of Storytelling

Author Salon: Writing the Six-Act, Two-Goal Novel

Squidoo: Novel Structure, Keep Your Novel from Falling Down

WritingWednesday: Literary Collaboration March 13, 2013

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in WritingWednesday.
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WritingWednesday for March 13, 2013: Literary Collaborations.

Art informs art and artists support artists. Join us for this lively discussion where we’ll discuss the inter-connectedness of the literary arts and the importance of and power in a writers’ community.

Check out these resources for more insights into literary collaboration:

Jane Hammond on Literary Collaborations
Collaborative Creativity When Authors Meet Agencies
She: A Literary Collaboration
The Cons of Writing Collaborations
Ten Author Collaborations We’d Like to See
David Byrne: Collaboration Updated

Many thanks to Robyn McIntyre (@RobynMcIntyre) for gathering these links.

If you’re unable to participate in #litchat today at 4pm, please leave a comment for discussion here.

Chatscript from WritingWednesday: Literary Collaboration is now available here.

Plotting vs Pantsing March 6, 2013

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in WritingWednesday.

Introducing Writing Wednesday, 4-5pmET in #litchat

Today we’re introducing a new feature in #litchat. We’re calling it WritingWednesday. During WritingWednesday we will discuss specific tools of the craft of writing. Although we’ll primarily focus on fiction, we will include  memoir and narrative nonfiction. Our first topic in Writing Wednesday is Plotting vs Pantsing, or what I like to call Outlining vs Outlying.

Writing communities love to toss around the question, “Are you a plotter or a panster?” It’s not hard to understand what a plotter is, the word is organic to writing a novel. Novels need plots, therefore you want to be a plotter. Right? Not necessarily. Being a plotter isn’t about writing plots, it’s about creating detailed plot outlines before writing novels. Now compare that to the pantser. Pansters write by the seat of their pants, without outlines or other written notes. Pansters have a general idea or theme, but they head into the journey without a map. They often know the beginning, the end, and the major plot points in between, but getting there is an act of writing on the whim.

Ask a panster about writing with an outline and he/she will have dozens of reasons why it doesn’t work for them. Ask a plotter to write without a map and they would give you a bevy of reasons for why writing with an outline is more efficient. There are bestselling and critically acclaimed writers in each of the camps. While everyone has differing methods to writing fiction, most writers agree there is simply no right or wrong way to approach the creative process of writing.

In searching for good content for examples, I found many excellent blogs extolling the virtues of plotting. I found few blogs which described the organic process of writing without an outline. I’ve posted the best of them below. If you know of a good article or blog which features either of these processes, please post them in a comment below.

Carolyn Burns Bass: How I Wrote A Novel Without An Outline

Katherine Derbyshire: Writing Without A Net – Organizing Without Outlines

Mary Vensel White: To Plot Or Not To Plot

Joseph Finder: To Outline or Not

Rachel Aaron: How I Outline A Novel in 5 Steps

Glen C. Strathy: How to Create a Plot Outline in 8 Easy Steps

Michelle Richmond: How to Write a Novel – 10  Steps

Read the chatscript of this discussion here.