After publishing two nonfiction books, I began to write a novel .I knew that planning the plot would not suit me. I therefore "semi-planned". How? Any ideas from the top of my head would be noted on a loose sheet of paper. You can see how I come from the dark ages technically speaking. Then I would write on the computer organically. As new ideas emerged, I would include them as well as the planned ones. Sometimes I changed the original ideas. This process allowed my creativity to work uninhibited. By recording the contents of each chapter after I had finished it, I avoided repetition and controlled the structure.
I decided to print the first draft. This proved to be useful for a number of reasons. I was able to vary the lengths of the chapters to avoid monotony. Seeing the words in print was a different experience to gazing at them on the computer.The typos glared at me and my red pen came out. So easy to edit in this way.
As writers, we have a responsibility to improve our work. So I read three manuals all written by writers, two of whom were experienced editors.
Jessica Morrell provided startling chapter headings that said it all:
"Plot is Verb: Using Change, Adversity and Action to Shape a Story
Blood, Roses and Mosquitos: Writing from the Senses
Conflict: Can´t Live with It, Can´t Write without It".
I began to hoover up the ideas in these books. The advice of the two editors was invaluable. Objective prose had to be replaced by emotional writing to engage the reader. The war cry was "your don´t tell a story, you show it". Once taboo in creative writing, dialogue became a tool for breaking up lumps of prose. The flab in writing had to be eliminated. So it was out with vague "probably, a bit, somewhat" genre of words. Use a strong verb instead of a verb and adverb. My manuscript tightened as a result.
So that brings me to the questions:
Have you both fiction and non fiction?
What differences in writing do you find between the two?
Captivate Your Readers
By Jodi Renner
Tnanks, But This isn´t for Us
A (Sort of) Compassionate Guide to Why Your writing is Being Rejected
By Jessica Page Morrell
How to Write Your BLOCKBUSTER
By Fiona McIntosh
Adapted from my article written for "The Artist Unleashed" February 2016
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