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The importance of emotion in narrative

As a writing mentor and manuscript assessor, I can often tell who has been to creative writing class. Apart from other telltale signs, these writers leave out emotion. They think they have to show it, not tell it. This is a tricky area.

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Two writers discuss the opening sentence and hooking the reader

Ive finished my latest novel! Feeling pretty pleased with myself, I began my rewrites. Horror of horrors! A boring first paragraph stared me in the face.  I have to hand over the manuscript to my publisher in two weeks. How do I hook my reader with that first line?  

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Balances of power

Transfer refers to the shifts in power between a protagonist and their antagonist as each strives to get what they want.

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Two writers discuss back story

Back story is that part of a character’s history that explains why they do the things they do in the present of the novel. Back story, when used properly, deepens and enriches a character and our understanding of them.

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The mid-point of a novel

The thing to understand is that, if a story sags in the middle, it’s weak at the start. The weakness is the lack of a character flaw in the protagonist. In many, many examples of the midpoint, the critical moment is the protagonist’s realization of their character flaw.

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Two writers discuss foreshadowing

Foreshadowing is the minor precursor to some greater event in a story. This is how believability is created.

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What are publishers looking for?

Publishers are looking for fiction that reveals not simply the character’s journey to the resolution of their drama, but a process of change.

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Two writers discuss creating a moral universe

Every writer creates their own moral universe in their fiction, even when they don’t realise they’re doing it. When the goodies win and the baddies are sent to prison, or killed, or otherwise defeated, that is evidence of a moral universe at work, one created by the writer.

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Three writers discuss the author exposed

Possibly the most important job an author has is to remain invisible. Expose yourself through weak writing and the reader will be dragged away from the world you’ve spent so much time creating.

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Writing Tips: An imaginative life

Nothing in our outward life prepares us for the claims of a creative life. Imagination flows like an underground river that occasionally breaks the surface in a fountain of activity and then subsides to a trickle.

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