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Advice on writing fiction
#1
So I have been writing fiction for many moons now. I have been told I'm quite a good storyteller and that my writing shows talent and promise.

That being said, I also have a few pretty severe flaws I would love to work on correcting...but I seem to keep slipping into my old patterns. I would love any advice you fellow writers could give me.

Problem 1: I have been guilty of writing purple prose often. For those of you who don't know the tern, purple prose is when the writer over-describes something, often using flowery and antiquated language when simple speech/description would do nicely. This is a problem I have somewhat corrected, but I still find myself wanting to slip into that old, poetic style of writing that just comes off as distracting to the reader.

Problem 2: Though I find my strengths lie in character and dialogue, I can not write beginnings to save my life it seems. I either find myself giving too much exposition, or too little. I can never seem to find a happy medium.

If anyone has had similar problems, or feel they can give me some sage advice, I'm all ears. Thanks guys Confusedmile:
#2
That's what beta readers are for, or at least SHOULD be for. I've found them invaluable, at least when they're willing to share where my story could be better (as opposed to stroking my ego). I usually think of other ways to polish a story as well once I think about what they've said.

As for beginnings, I've found that starting it with something happening that matters gets readers pulled in (a love relation, but there should at least be some doubt and going sour is even better, or a violent confrontation, or a disturbing scientific experiment that hints at its purpose or the designs certain patrons have on it rather than the experiment itself are all examples to get the reader to CARE or at least be intrigued rather than yawning and finding something else). Once the imagination is captured then start the REAL story (obviously the beginning needs to tie into the story, preferably sooner rather than later). A lot of TV dramas do this, btw, like showing a very dramatic or violent or even bizarre scene (and more to tease rather than being clear on what exactly is going on) with the characters of the show entering the story after the first commercial break and the clues begin (but there's no real resolution at that point, or if there is then the resolution quickly collapses as an unexpected twist bends the plot into another direction). We just watched the movie Van Helsing, it also started the same way with villagers breaking into the castle and all kinds of fighting & drama before the actual story began ("one year later").

Fanfiction gives an alternative: start the story as a typical episode, but keep it short. In a few paragraphs make it feel like a typical episode (with your own touches of course, that is pretending you're actually writing an episode to be aired before you take it in your own personal direction) and then connect it somehow to your story. For example, when I did a Kim Possible fanfic I could actually hear the TV show music as the scene took place but they were (as is normal in KP) interrupted by a regular character who got them to the next scene which was my actual story (with some brief foreshadowing so that my fic continued to feel connected to the characters as it unfolded).
#3
I'll post more later, but I want to echo what Pix said: the intro has to be a hook. if an editor's attention isn't grabbed by the end of the first page (three if they're nice), it's done. Also, watch out for then Boom! then "Twelve hours earlier" type of beginnings. Those have been very over played of late.

I haven't written fan fic at all...
#4
The ones that irritate me are those "12 hours earlier" and the rocking first chapter, then the "Meanwhile back in dullsville" second chapter. I won't read beyond that. Done, book on shelf for good and, I probably won't read that author again.
#5
wintermoon Wrote:... Problem 2: Though I find my strengths lie in character and dialogue, I can not write beginnings to save my life it seems. I either find myself giving too much exposition, or too little. I can never seem to find a happy ... Confusedmile:
look for a writer's computer application that allow you to organize. for example; write several endings before the beginning and flow chart the story into objects.
#6
Write in a manner/fashion that turns these 'weaknesses' into a strength.

If you are writing in the style of a Medieval speech, then make certain the story is taking place in a Medieval Setting...

As for openings, I tend to favor just dropping the reader into a scene as if the story has already been going on. This is more like real life, after all life on earth has been going on for a few billion years and we are all being dropped down right in the middle of the action.

I do tend to write (for myself) character biographies and 'historical notes' where I cover all of those details in a novella. Its just for me - no one else will see it.

It gives me a frame of reference where I can then pull bits and pieces from this history, from the character's previous life and slowly string together the mystery of the past.

I also like 'prolog' A couple three paragraphs to bring the reader to speed about general things.

A good example is the opening of Star Wars where the screen rolls 'Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away'... Then suddenly we are seeing an Imperial ship chasing and firing on a passenger ship. From that point on bits and pieces from the past are being strung together, secondary and tertiary stories to the main story.

The reader starts to care, because they want to know more about Ben Kan-obi, who this princess is and who that kid Luke is....
<---<< >>--->

[SIZE=4]I told you I had the body of a 25 year old....

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#7
Great advice and suggestions guys, thank you so much for your input Confusedmile: It is greatly appreciated
#8
The first line is really important when "hooking" the reader. My all-time favourite so far is:

"Beatrice Pymm died because she missed the last bus back to Ipswich".

I just had to find out why! :biggrin:
Still wondering what I'll be when I grow up.
#9
Write as you want, until you got bored. Then read it from the beginning. You can fix the parts later. I'm also trying to write a fiction. I wrote 60 pages. The problem is i can't write the boring parts. I can write really good the important parts and the idea is actually preatty good. But if i can't write boring parts, i can't publish it.


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