(9 out of 10 Vets recommend it, the 10th is seriously reconsidering his first response, while he recuperates from his unfortunate ‘accident’)
My literature Hero is Terry Pratchett who, in one of his Science of Discworld books, postulated that Homo Sapiens Sapiens survived all the pitfalls that made other Homo Sapiens species become extinct, by being story telling apes.
If this is the case, then in order to be effective, for every story telling ape there had to be a story listening ape.
I am descended from them, except I read stories instead of listening to them; and author’s are the tellers of the stories I read.
I don’t so much read books as devour them, (sometimes re-devouring them several times), so I’ve set myself a long term task, to list all the books I’ve ever read, trouble is I’ve got the memory of a sieve and I must have read thousands of them!
After years of lugging books around with me when I travelled (pre-internet), or order them to be delivered to wherever I was (post internet), I got an eReader, which enables me to support my local library, as well as giving me access to practically every Kindle, EPUB & PDF format book ever published, via the internet.
Now all I have to do is spend the next several lifetimes reading them (I hope re-incarnation is true, although not having memories from previous lives might be a snag)
I hope you enjoy my blog and join my Troop of Followers
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This morning I woke with the idea this was going to be a normal, productive, writing day. I knew I wanted to add a couple of things to my website, and I had some non-writing stuff to get out of the way first, but my main idea was to sit down in front of my computer and write for ten or twelve hours. Well, things didn’t quite work out that way.
I did my non-scribbling things hastily, driven by the need to take up the current novel where I’d left it last night. Then I spent an hour on my web update. Then the day-changer happened.
I e-mail with fellow fiction writers and my own readers fairly frequently. I spend quite a bit of time responding to the latter group. Hell, if they have taken the time and made the effort to write to me, I should do the same. So I innocently opened my e-mail accounts and worked my way through. Halfway through the last account (my web’s Contact Eric feed) I came across this…
WHOA! Don’t worry, YOU! I’m not going to reproduce the whole mail, only the subject line:
“I think I want to write fiction. What should I do now?” !!!!
(the exclamation marks are mine…here’s a few more !!!!….!!…!)
Suddenly, all dreams of writing my novel until my fingers bled were swept from my mind.
Hell’s Teeth!!! What an opportunity!!!!!
The poor misguided soul who had posed the question was playing with fire here!!!!!
(Sorry, the exclamation mark key now has a mind of its own!!!!!!!!!!!)
Here’s my answer, YOU. (This is going to be a loonnngggg post, but please bear with me – I hope it will be worth your persistence).
If you’re thinking about writing fiction, DON’T (write, I mean, not think.)
1) The opening sentence of a book/chapter/scene should be hooking and make the reader curious enough to read onward.
Like any man, I loved my wife, but these 3 a.m. suicidal thoughts were killing me.
2) The closing sentence of a chapter/scene should never let the reader slip in a bookmark. You need to make the reader want to keep going. Cliffhangers, uncertainty, new questions, they need to be built into that final sentence.
I worked best under pressure–they’d never know how much.
3) There is a power to 3 in using the same word, phrase or sentence structure. Don’t stop at twice, make sure it’s 3 times.
I didn’t want the end of me. Over a girl like her. Or a friend like him. Or a father like mine.
4) Write fresh. Find a new way to describe something. Your readers will thank you.
My jackrabbit pulse began to tortoise.
5) Flow trumps everything.
This one you develop a feel for. When something feels clunky, get rid of it. When something is impeding the flow of words, cut it. When your beloved description messes up the pacing, erase it. Flow is the most important thing and it overrules everything else.
Kourtney Heintz writes emotionally evocative speculative fiction that captures the deepest truths of being human. For her characters, love is a journey never a destination.
She resides in Connecticut with her warrior lapdog, Emerson, her supportive parents and three quirky golden retrievers. Years of working on Wall Street provided the perfect backdrop for her imagination to run amuck at night, imagining a world where out-of-control telepathy and buried secrets collide.