In a recent interview with Natalie Portman and CBC’s Tom Power at the Toronto International Film Festival, Portman talked about the inspiration behind her critically-acclaimed performance in Vox Lux.
One of the reasons she so easily accepted the role was because the writing was so strong. Brady Cobert is both the director and writer of Vox Lux.
Attribution: Georges Biard
That got me thinking.
What makes writing so strong?
EM Castellan, a writer of YA Historical Fantasy novels and winner of several Wattpad awards, provides pointers on what you need to make your writing stronger.
One of the most common reasons for agents and publishers to reject a manuscript is « weak writing ». Rather than listing here what makes your writing weak, I’d like to offer a few pointers to help you make your writing strong – or stronger.
To continue reading click here.
In my early twenties, fresh out of university with a B.A. in English literature, I was lured to London where I spent the summer in the Bloomsbury District doing research at the British Museum Library in the mornings and in the afternoons I explored the city.
A favorite thing to do was to visit the homes of the great poets and writers who had lived in London. One such home was that of the poet John Keats, a great figure of the British romantic poets.
Fast-forward – almost fifty years – and I am in Rome where I stumble upon the Keats – Shelly Memorial House right next to the Piazza di Spagna.
Keats had travelled to Rome hoping that the warmer climate would cure his tuberculosis and that the view of the Piazza di Spagna from his room would uplift him.
But, at only 25, the uplifting view and the warmer climate were not enough and he died in this bed
and left behind a legacy of great poetry which two hundred years later is still being honored and read. One of my favorite lines comes from his Ode on a Grecian Urn.
Beauty is truth, truth beauty
The Wind Weeps
A romantic fishing tale
Although knowing practically nothing about fishing, Andrea accidently finds herself in the hard-working sub-culture of commercial fishing. She painfully learns the ins and outs of fishing from preparing the boat for the season to the camaraderie within the fishing community and its inevitable human tensions.
The setting is exquisite, wild and beautiful and the author has the talent to create vivid, emotionally packed images.
In her attempts to redefine a life for herself Andrea is forced to face the complexities of her abuse and their devastating effects on her romantic relationships.
This is a story about survival: physical survival, moral survival and survival of the soul.
The Wind Weeps, is a must-read for any woman who has been or is trying to get out of an abusive relationship. But it is also a man’s story as it involves the rugged world of commercial fishing on the gorgeous coast of British Columbia.
Click here for more details on Anneli Purchase’s books.
To finish the novel is one trick, but to end your story is quite another. C. Patrick Schulze.
This was on one of the slides in a webinar I recently listened to.
The class was given by Dr. Barbara Henderson as one of the Penquin Random House Writers Academy Masterclasses in which she discussed aspects of writing a crime novel, including such topics as keeping the plot tight and how to end your novel with a bang.
A good ending must feel right. Finish with a sentence that has impact and leaves your reader thinking. Make the ending satisfying to the reader. Satisfying the reader not just intellectually but emotionally.
If you’re interested in listening to the entire class here it is. It runs about 50 minutes. I picked up some good tips and found it to be an excellent reminder of what crime fiction is about. Many of the tips though can be applied to writing in general.
Just thought I’d pass this along:
Free Webinar on how to write a crime novel presented by The Writers’ Academy at Penguin-Random House. Thursday March 29.
It sounds interesting.
Here’s more info:
It’s my pleasure to have Kristina Stanley over to explain her latest project. Although she is well known for her mystery series she also is very much involved in helping authors sell their work. She is the author of The Author’s Guide to Selling Books to Non-Bookstores and her latest non-fiction is Fictionary – helping writers edit their first drafts.
I’m very pleased to be invited onto Carol’s blog to share my writing and editing journey. I’d love to tell you why we created Fictionary and how it can help you.
I’m an author who loves to edit, and I believe today’s author must be also their own structural editor.
The difficulty with editing is keeping track of writing knowledge, the time it takes, and the cost of an editor. So what if I could have writing tips focused on my manuscript, speed up the process, spend less money, AND write better fiction?
This is the story of how we created Fictionary.
What is the Fictionary?
Fictionary will help writers turn a first draft into a great story by becoming their own big-picture editor.
With Fictionary, you can focus on character, plot, and setting. Fictionary helps you evaluate on a scene-by-scene basis or on the overall novel structure. Fictionary will show you the most important structural elements to work on first and guide you through the rewriting process.
Why a structural editing tool for writers?
Creating Fictionary began when I finished the first draft of my first novel. By then I’d read over 50 how-to-write and how-to-self-edit books. I’d taken writing courses and workshops, and had 100s of writing and rewriting tips swirling about in my head.
I knew I had to begin the editing process and improve the quality of my draft before sharing my work, but I didn’t know how to go about it.
How was I supposed to remember the torrent of advice and apply it to each scene? A spreadsheet, that’s how!
I created a spreadsheet with a chapter-by-chapter, scene-by-scene structure. Then I listed the different writing advice I needed to consider for EVERY scene. I ended up with over 75 “key elements of fiction”. I used the reports from the spreadsheet to visualize my novel.
The process I used was then developed into the Fictionary online tool for writers.
Did Fictionary Work For Me?
After the hard work of self-editing, the quality of my fiction was validated when my first two novels were shortlisted for prestigious crime writing awards and I landed a two-book deal with publisher Imajin Books.
My first editor said: “If every manuscript was this good, my job would be so easy!”
The next exciting moment came when DESCENT, my first novel, hit #1 on Amazon’s hot new releases. Descent was published by Luzifer-Verlag in Germany, and I sold the audio rights to Auspicious Apparatus Press. Imajin Books also published BLAZE, AVALANCHE and LOOK THE OTHER WAY.
I wanted to share my process, SO OTHER WRITERS COULD BENEFIT FROM AN IMMEDIATE APPROACH TO SELF-EDITING and rewriting first drafts. But who would want to use a spreadsheet? Perhaps a fun, fast tool that helps writers visualize and self-edit their novels would be better.
I joined forces with author Michael Conn and business specialist Mathew Stanley, and we formed a company called Feedback Innovations just to build this tool for fiction writers.
Turn Your First Draft Into A Great Story
You can try Fictionary for free (no credit card required) for two weeks.
Download our free eBook, BIG-PICTURE Editing And The 15 Key Elements Of Fiction, and learn how big-picture editing is all about evaluating the major components of your story.
I’d love to hear in the comments what your biggest structural editing issue is.
Thanks for reading.
Kristina Stanley the co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Feedback Innovations: a company created to help writers rewrite better fiction. She is the best-selling author of the Stone Mountain Mystery Series. Her first two novels garnered the attention of prestigious crime writing organizations in Canada and England. DESCENT, BLAZE, and AVALANCE are published by Imajin Books. THE AUTHOR’S GUIDE TO SELLING BOOKS TO NON-BOOKSTORES is her first non-fiction book.
You can find her at: