Writers’ Craft 10: Revision

So, you’ve written a thing You’ve just keyed in the final word, placed punctuation, and the sense of accomplishment that settles over you is profound. You’re done. Or are you? At this point it’s all too easy to think there isn’t another thing that needs doing to that piece of writing. You’ve been careful throughout, not only with the mechanics of good writing — punctuation, spelling, grammar — but with plot, literary devices, character development,…

Writers’ Craft 9: Research

A good writer is an informed writer I remember interviewing biographer and historian Marian Fowler for The Canadian Author and Bookman, back when the Canadian Authors Association published that wonderful writers’ periodical. She was particular about her research, always digging for accuracy and primary sources, and because of that her work rang with truth, a fact which sometimes garnered her a bit of trouble as was evidenced when she wrote her history on Blenheim. Seems…

Writers’ Craft 8: World Building

Creating the believable environment for your novel Doesn’t matter what genre of fiction you’re writing, it is imperative you create a real and believable environment. Do this successfully, and your reader becomes further immersed in the story you’re telling not only through excellent characters and point of view, but through the world you’ve created. Geography Oxford Dictionary describes geography as: the nature and relative arrangement of places and features. Simple enough. Put another way, you…

Writers’ Craft 7: Dialogue

A tricky art One of the common problems I see as an editor is clumsy dialogue. So often a writer feels the need to explain the dialogue with all manner of cues and instructions, as though they were writing a screen play, or giving notes to an actor. Writing dialogue for general reading is quite different. It requires that you, as the writer, remove yourself and instead choose your words, and how you employ those…

Writers’ Craft 6: Tense

What time is it? Choosing a tense for your story usually isn’t a big deal. Most fiction and even nonfiction is told in past tense, as in: They went there, and then they travelled further. Why writers do this is not entirely clear. Certainly the practice of writing in past tense has been around a very long time. Mallory wrote Le Morte d’Arthur in 1469, and it is in past tense. Homer’s epic poem, Odyssey,…