In praise of craft, craft books and the writers who write them

All those craft books. A waste of time? Can anyone—regardless of teaching credentials or editorial experience or millions in books sales—teach me something about writing that I can’t learn just by writing? For the first few years in which I, nailed to the mast of my internal resources, sought the snowy whale of Writing Fiction Well—emphasis on …

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Emphasis versus Function

“In addition to watching the rhythm of his scene—the tempo or pace—the writer pays close attention, in constructing the scene, to the relationship, in each of its elements, of emphasis and function. By emphasis we mean the amount of time spent on a particular detail; by function we mean the work done by that detail …

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The Eight Essentials of Opening Paragraphs

Demystifying the Opening Paragraph Much is written about a story’s first paragraph and much of that is in terms of generalities; the foremost among them is that first paragraph must engage, must hook the reader so he will want to read on. The word, hook, however, has been so appropriated by and bandied about by …

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Transition Paragraphs: What they are and how to write them

Elements and goals of good transition paragraphs. “Transitions aid the seamless unfolding of stories, yet it’s downright shocking how often writers neglect to use them.” -- Jessica Page Morrell, Between the Lines Good transition paragraphs are so multifaceted that the novice writer often doesn’t recognize them in terms of function and, not grasping their function …

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Are our transition paragraphs really transition paragraphs?

So we think we're writing a transition paragraph Mike Klaassen compiled an excellent article on transitions in fiction writing for which he culled the best thoughts from Jessica Page Morrell, Between the Lines; Gary Provost, Beyond Style; Les Edgerton, Hooked; Evan Marshall, The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing; and Jordan E. Rosenfeld, To Make a Scene. It …

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Smart “as” Clauses — Dumb “as” Clauses

Using "as" clauses “As” clauses, with "as" used in a sense similar to “while,” are close kin to “ing” phrases. Both are modifiers, both signify simultaneity, both are overused by neophyte writers and both should be employed with care. The adverb “as” connotes “to the same degree, amount, or extent; similarly; equally” and “at the …

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