Monthly Archives: April 2012

Rules of Fiction Writing

A friend’s daughter recently asked for help on a report for school. She needed to asked a writer about their profession. It brought to mind some of the various ‘rules’ I learned over the last several years of being a fiction writer.

Oh wait, this is an entirely different lesson :P

I know there are dozens of subjective ‘rules’ out there, including every genre maintaining their own unique set of laws, but here’s what I’ve found to be universal. These are rules I’ve learned either the hard way or being in the right place with the right people.

* Say as much as you can in as few words as possible. Then cut the word count by half.

* Adverbs are spawns of Satan. Don’t use them. Find the right verb.

* Adjectives aren’t evil, but they are sinful. Use sparingly. (Damn, I used an adverb!)

* Head-hopping is just as confusing as it sounds. Keep to one point of view at a time. If you have to change heads, best option is to only do it by chapter.

* Likewise, stay in one tense: past or present. Otherwise, it becomes too ‘Back to the Future‘ for people.

* Clichés are such a cliché. Originality is the only way. Ya feel me?

* Showing is better than telling. Showing makes things more active, better paced, and easier to read. Telling has its uses at times, but again, only sparingly.

* Info dumps (also called backstory dumps) belong in the dump themselves. Filter in the backstory in small bits throughout many chapters.

* Most importantly, forget everything I just wrote and do what works for you and your voice. Fiction is subjective.

Can you think of any other rules I’ve missed? That we can throw out together?

Let Me Write, Flo!

Wow, life is crazy. I’ve not been on Twitter or Facebook much, I’ve not been following many blogs, and sadly haven’t been posting on my own page. Even more unfortunate, I haven’t been writing or revising much either.

With all of the joyous weather trekking through north Texas over the last few weeks (including more coming tonight. Don’t you just love hail and tornadoes), I’ve been more focused on repairing our car, which looks like a golf ball, and dealing with insurance companies, claims, appointments and bills. Contrary to popular commercial icons, it’s not as easy as the cavemen make it seem.

Or Flo. Progressive spends my hard earned insurance money on her hairspray. And that Mr. Mayhem man is true to his word. Insurance companies are the spawns of Satan. They are efficient at only two things: wasting your time and money.

Despite all of that, I was able to accomplish one thing the past few weeks. I applied for an internship at a literary agency. I’m hoping to obtain one of their coveted unpaid spots to help go through their slush piles via email. I made it past the first round of applicants, and went through a quick exercise that I thoroughly enjoyed. I read 10 test queries and let them know which ones I would have asked for a complete manuscript or passed on. And why. I’m hoping this will give me more insight into the publishing industry, make some really good connections, and learn from some new friends on how to write better.

No word back yet if I made it to the next round. I have no idea how many

A beautiful place in which to wait.

applicants they filtered the test queries to, but I hope I impressed them. Either way, it was a lot of fun. I’d love to keep doing that!

Until I hear back from them, I’ll continue with the craziness of my son’s preschool schedule, therapy sessions, juggling insurance claims/ calls/ appointments, and brainstorming more manuscripts in my head.

Meanwhile, I have two manuscripts I need to edit (one is going to sit there and wait for the Beta Readers Program from my writer’s group starting the end of May). The other needs some major overhaulin’ (yes, that show is awesome. If you haven’t seen it, I strongly suggest you watch just one of them).

I’m on chapter 10 of about 30. Need to change up a lot of the supporting characters, bitch-up the main character a bit, and make the love interest a little dirty (gonna be fun!) If I can only sit down and work on it.

My Favorite Stories

Some of my favorite little novellas and short stories have been rejected by the mass market of readers. It’s a shame they haven’t hit the New York Times or USA Today’s Bestseller’s List, or at the very least Oprah’s Book Club.

Pride & Promiscuity: The Lost Sex Scenes of Jane Austen 

Edgar Allen Poe’s Torture and Mutilation Guide

Tropical Field of Dreams: Ode to the Everglades

The Bitch & Biker’s Guide to the Galaxy Theater

Deaf’s Guide to Rock & Roll Music

Blind’s Red Rose Garden

Jiminy Cricket’s Ode to the Bug Zapper

Lying Solves Everything by Oscar Wilde

Ernest Hemingway’s Bartending Guide

 Thought it would be nice to share my favorites with the world. Happy April Fool’s!