Posted by Eileen Astels
I've been working through James N. Frey's How To Write A Damn Good Novel lately and want to share a few key points that struck a cord with me as I feverishly work on edits once more.
#1: "...as soon as you open your story, give your reader an emotional touchstone--plunge a character into an emotion-provoking situation." Isn't that so true? When I think of the books that grabbed me right from the first line, they were all ones where I was immediately emotionally invested because the character dealt with some emotional challenge.
#2: Indirect dialogue makes a character "more unique and interesting." James Frey gives some awesome examples of how a straight shooting guy asking a girl on a date can be transformed from boring to a highly-charged character-revealing and entertaining scene. Indirect dialogue really does work to liven a scene. Have you tried it lately?
#3: When writing dialogue consider the following check list of questions. "Is it in conflict? Is it trite? Can it be said better indirectly? Is the line as clever and colorful as it can be?" Just thinking of going through all my dialogue and quizzing myself over and over with these four questions makes me nauseated. But...from seeing James Frey's samples and how altering to comply with these suggestions makes the dialogue so much richer, I know it will be worth the creative challenge.
#4: Did you know there are seven senses for a writer to consider? And hear I thought I was writing to appeal to only five all this time. James Frey's seven senses are: "hearing, seeing, touching, tasting, smelling, the psychic sense, and a sense of humor." I love it. Don't you? By appealing to all these senses throughout our stories we create a fuller, all-encompassing read that has the ability to touch our readers. Do your characters have intuition or feel fear just because...? That's a bit of psychic sense, isn't it? And humor definitely goes a long way in grabbing and keeping my interest. Humor can really come alive in indirect dialogue. Have you tried it?
There is, of course, much more in this book to make a writer scramble for more editing time, but I thought I'd share the top four for me to work on in my manuscript. Is there any particular area you heavily address in your editing phase? Inquiring minds want to know.
Surrendering to Him,