Monday, December 15, 2014

Trimming the fat

ana muses on telling the story.

I read a post on a self-publishing loop by Marie Force, the prolific author and million-indie books seller. She commented about her writing style, saying her background as a journalist conditioned her to skip frills when describing scenes in her stories. She opens with action, uses lots of dialogue, describes characters minimally. And no backstory.

I was struck by how different this is from the classics I read in school and how I was "instructed" to write.  Times change, though, and only time awards a book with the 'Classic' label. I need to write to sell.

With that in mind, I think I will cut my first scene yet again. Open with "active" action, and reveal my hero's motivation through more dialogue.

Flaubert wrote: "It is a delicious thing to write, to be no longer yourself but to move in an entire universe of your own creating. Today, for instance, as man and woman, both lover and mistress, I rode in a forest on an autumn afternoon under the yellow leaves, and I was also the horses, the leaves, the wind, the words my people uttered, even the red sun that made them almost close their love-drowned eyes."


  1. Just be careful, Ana. Everyone has their own writing style--that's what contributes to each author's voice. It's okay to write differently from other people. And different genres have different styles as well. I love the way you write.

  2. I agree with Jen that everyone has their own writing style. Also what works for one person may not work for another.
    I also agree that dialogue is the best way to reveal your characters personalities, motivation etc. That's why it's often useful for a character to have a 'best friend' in whom they can confide!

  3. I always open in the middle of the action. I think that's a good place to start, Ana.

    Paula, I've used the best friend/confidant a is a great way to get inside your hero or heroine's head without pages and pages of internal monologue.

    Jen, it's our style that separates us from other authors. I totally agree that we don't want to sound like everyone else.