Nov 18, Christy rated it really liked it Recommends it for: And his tastes definitely color the advice he gives.
Writing to the Tension by Andrea Chapin If you have an idea for a short story or a novel and want to get started, write a scene that feels urgent, important, and essential.
The scene you write might take place in the past, the future, or the present time of your story; it might turn out to be the beginning or in the middle or at the end. After writing that first compelling moment, write another that feels just as important and essential and then another and another.
No one said starting anything was easy or natural. But if you listen to your own emotion, if a scene, conversation, memory, or a face you passed on the street is what made you want to start your fictional journey, let that feeling guide you.
Write scene after scene that pulls you in and pulls you along—even if they are not chronological—because the reader will feel the tension you feel.
When I wrote the first hundred pages of The Tutor, I wrote to the tension. After I finished a draft of my novel and began revising, I cut almost every one of those filler scenes out. I think of it as a chord that must remain taut from the first line I utter to the last.
My husband is one of these joke tellers—I am not. Writers should apply the same quest for tension when getting to know their characters. I write historical fiction—some of my characters are based on real-life people, while others are invented. But the process of developing who they are is very similar for both the fact-based and the fictional characters.
I had edited several historical novels where the authors had read hundreds of nonfiction books on their subjects, and the wealth of historical facts often made these novels read more like documentaries than pieces of fiction.
As I continued working on my novel, I did a tremendous amount of research, but at the start I was interested in the dynamics between my main characters, how they reacted to each other—so I hurled them into situations where their dialogue and their actions began to convey their personalities, their likes and dislikes, their anxieties and obsessions.
I wrote the first fifty pages this way, so that I got to know my characters before I started soaking them with the actual history of the times. The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald is set in Germany and spans from toand her novel The Beginning of Spring unfolds within one month in Russia—both of these books are around pages.About the Author: Marisol Dahl.
Marisol Dahl is a New York-based freelancer in communications and brand strategy, and loves exploring minimalist blogging and social media practices at her site Mindful & .
This series of wisdom-quotes on writing and the writing life is taken from the classic, On Becoming a Novelist by John Gardner and Raymond Carver.
Elizabeth Ayres laments the constant use of the word “he” to refer to writers, as if we were all men, but the advice is sound nonetheless.
John Gardner, in The Art of Fiction, talks about the “fictional dream” and how a novel should create a dream state for the reader, and that the writing—language, plot, voice—must never wake the reader from that dream or push the reader from the narrative flow.
That’s the taut chord my actress friend describes. Writing is easy: All you have to do is start writing, finish writing, and make sure it's good.
But here's some vastly more useful wisdom and advice . Return to Other Fiction Genres · Print/Mobile-Friendly Version. Many articles and books on the art of writing fiction tell you that getting a few stories published in leading literary magazines can do wonders for your writing career.
John Champlin Gardner Jr. (July 21, – September 14, ) was an American novelist, essayist, literary critic and university professor. He is best known for his novel Grendel, a retelling of the Beowulf myth from the monster's point of view.