Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Book Review #6: Novel Writing

Continued from last week: Review of Writer's Digest Yearbook: Novel Writing

"Putting Dialogue to Work" (James Scott Bell) deals with using conversation between characters not only to move a story along but also to support mood, control pace, and deepen the theme.

"12 Random (But Useful) Thoughts about Dialogue" (Michael Levin) continues the discussion of how to make the best use of dialogue in a story. He cautions against making dialogue sound like a "transcript", reminding the writer that "less is more" and that every word should count. Repetition, overuse of adverbs and expletives, and poor use of punctuation can all lessen the effect of dialogue.

"Bring Background to the Foreground" (Steve Almond) suggests that withholding information from the reader does not always serve the purpose of keeping him involved. Explain what he needs to know and go on from there.

"Understanding Third Person" (Susan Breen) discusses the varied uses and advantages for third person POV: third person limited, third person omniscient, and third person objective.

"Better Left Unsaid" (Nancy Kress) writes about knowing what to leave OUT of a story. The section on avoiding "Aesop Endings" is particularly interesting.

"The Viewpoint Intruder" (Kristen Johnson Ingram) gives excellent examples of making narrative sharper by taking out the character. "Noticed, looked, could see" are all words that take away from a sharp narrative. "I remember" is another.

"Pace Yourself" (Nancy Kress) is all about how fast (or slow) your story should unfold--and how to quicken as well as slow the pace.

"Novel Revision for the Faint of Heart" (Jordan E. Rosenfeld) gives 10 good hints for making the necessity for revising your ms less painful. Give it a rest, and then go in for the kill, considering plot, characters, scenes, sequence, and structure.

"Adapting a Short Story into a Novel" (Jordan E. Rosenfeld) helps you decide if your short story has the potential to develop into a full-length work and how to go about doing it.

"The M Word" (Scott Francis) deals with marketing and building an author's platform.

"Working for the Man" (Tim Waggoner) looks at writing in various genres as a work-for-hire novelist. The article also includes a short list of publishers that use work-for-hire writers.

"Status Seekers and Storytellers" (Donald Maas) is a must-read for everyone who puts pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. He explains the difference between simply wanting to be published and actually desiring to get one's story out.

"Embracing Book Clubs" (John Shors) tells the author's experience in successful selling by making himself available in person or by phone to book clubs around the country.

"Novelists Need Platforms, Too" (Jane Friedman) talks about why authors must promote themselves.


K9friend said...

Very useful topics. Sounds like a gold mine of a book!

nlindabrit said...

Thank you, my friend! You always bring such useful material to our attention.

Skhye said...

Dare I ask if 3rd person objective is Deep POV? Just curious. I like to know the formal terms for things. :) Thanks for sharing. :)