Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Fiction manuscripts receive feedback that addresses and scores: • The theme of the book • Character development and depth • Plot and story line resolution • Pace and setting of the story • The effective use of dialog • The appropriateness of the tense and point of view • How compelling the book will be in the marketplace • Spelling, grammar, punctuation and much more! The theme or premise of a novel is important because it sets the stage for the characters, the setting, the plot, the conflict, and the climax. Is it a story of love, jealousy, ambition, adventure, of triumph or failure? These themes, as well as many others must be considered and decided upon by the fiction writer. Coming from the design of the tale are the characters and their development. Protagonists and antagonists live because they produce the conflict that gives tension and stress, for without these elements no story exists. Important is a fully rounded character with vices as well as virtues. Protagonists must have qualities that we relate to, but antagonists must also have traits that are decent yet not exceeding their failings. The conflict between the hero and villain product the storyline or plot—the events that bring to two into discord. This dissension can be physical, mental, social, desire, goal, aspiration, or any feature that they view differently. Some stories are plot driven while others are character driven although all stories have some of each. Setting is determined by the characters, which may be past, present, or future. Historical novels are situated in the past of a specific locale; contemporary novels deal with the present in time and location; futuristic novels—science fiction and fantasy-deal with the future or locales out of this world. Now we come to dialogue that must suit the character as well as the setting if it is to be realistic and relate to tie and place. If of the past, it must copy the style, the syntax, and the idiom of the time. Dialogue must always further the story, develop the character, or suit the locale; never can it be to fill in space. The write must also choose carefully the tense and point of view. Some stories are better told from the present tense while others from the past tense. Using the pluperfect past tense sacrifices immediacy and slows down the rhythm of the language. Another important consideration is the point of view: Sometimes the first person singular is the most appropriate while at other times the third person omniscient is proper. Chose prudently because it can make or break the story. Another consideration, although a lesser one, is how compelling the piece will be in the marketplace. Since publishers are always concerned about the bottom line, they look to see how the buyers who are the readers will receive it. Perhaps from a publishing point of view, this is the most important criterion for the acceptance or rejection of a manuscript. To make a manuscript acceptable it must follow the rules of good grammar, be free of spelling and typo errors, written in the language that is acceptable to the target audience. The fiction writer had much to consider with every work undertaken, yet believe in the importance and worth of his or her endeavors.
Saturday, January 12, 2013
If you want to be a writer, then you must write—you must write something every day. If possible, have an established time to write every day. Budget your time to make that period available even if it is only a few minutes. You will be surprised how much you can write in a short period of time. This writing should have a dual purpose: first, to improve your writing skills, and, second, to record your ideas. As well, a special writing place is also helpful. It should preferably be a spot where you are free from the distractions of daily living—a corner of a bedroom, living room, or even kitchen, but it should be your writing site. Of course, an office of your own would be a preferred location. It is surprising how the mind can develop creatively if given the chance. To write every day requires a plan; it requires a time; it requires a location; it requires a focus; and it requires a reason. The first two have already been dealt with, so what is a focus plan? A focus plan is a decision of what kind of writing one will do: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, essays, articles, short stories, etc. Here, the writer has to find his/her voice. Do not spend the writing time thinking about it; the important thing is to write and the voice will come. Of course, a focus requires a reason for writing. Is it for personal satisfaction and enjoyment only? On the other hand, is it for public consumption and financial augmentation? Perhaps both. Usually, though, one writes to share one’s thoughts and ideas with readers. What about ideas and topics? Without them, a writer is lost. In writing every day, the goal is to express whatever comes to mind—a memory, a gripe, a desire, a feeling, an incident, or grammatical exercise. It really does not matter; the important activity is the writing. Once started the words usually flow. So, write something every day.
Tuesday, January 08, 2013
Virgil, the great Roman poet, wrote “Practice and thought might gradually forge many an art.” From this we can assume that practice comes before thought, and so it is with present day writers. What must be practiced? If one is to be a successful writer then one must be able to practice good grammar. In order to practice good grammar, a writer must know the rules of good grammar and therefore must study the rules of good grammar. Most editors reject quickly those writers who do not know how to construct a proper sentence with at least a subject and predicate. Besides knowledge of a simple sentence, a writer must use compound sentences, complex sentences, and compound-complex sentences. In order to perfect the ability to use these sentences, one must practice their use until it becomes second nature. Once a writer—through practice—has mastered the sentence then it is time to work on the paragraph. Again, composing a unified, effective paragraph requires practice so that it has unity, coherence, rhythm and acceptable syntax. English syntax can only be learned by practice, particularly the practice of reading. A “wannabe” writer must be a reader—one who reads voraciously and eclectically so that good syntax will come naturally. However, this reading must be done studiously with awareness of the writer’s style and composition, because syntax is the way in which one puts the words together. Now the writer must practice and develop his own style of syntax. This brings us to the next practice: the use of the dictionary and thesaurus—not the dictionary and thesaurus that are found with most word processors. Although they are helpful, they are not as beneficial as a complete and unabridged dictionary or thesaurus. If a writer depends completely on the dictionary and thesaurus found with most word processors, one’s writing will be full of mistakes. Finally, but not the least, is punctuation. Although most punctuation is a personal preference, there still are basic rules that should be learned and practiced. In all case of grammar, vocabulary, punctuation, and syntax, the writer must know the rules before he breaks them. Moreover, the only way to become proficient in their use is by continual practice. Once the basics are acquired, then the writer can proceed to writing fiction or non-fiction in poetry, articles, essays, short stories, etc., again practicing until one has develop a personal voice or style.
Thursday, January 03, 2013
Welcome to the New Year. We at Chronicler Publishing are planning for a banner year. We hope to publish at least 10 new historical novels this year as well as converting many of our published authors books to e-books. We are hoping to publish at least 20 e-books. As a result, we are looking for new books by new authors as well as new books from our current authors. Tell you friends about us, especially if they are writers. Have a great year!