3tricks

3 Tricks to Build Suspense and Engage Your Readers

Giving out a link today that helped me solve a problem. It’s an article by Jeff Elkins at The Write Practice.

Three Tricks to Build Suspense and Engage Your Readers:

  1. A Race Against the Clock
  2. Hint at Solutions
  3. Connect the Unconnected

Today, this article helped me figure how to get out of a corner I’d written myself into. In my case, I went with all three: I added lawyer with a court order, so the detective only has X amount of time to examine to clue before it’s taken away (those clues will hint at solutions and connect the unconnected).

whale

When it Gets Dark

I have a few pieces I go to when I feel the weight of writing getting to me. It’s a tough job, to put to paper these dreams and visions, and to show them to a world that’s way too full of dreams and visions. They have so many to choose from that yours need to shine like the sun.

One is Melinda Mae, by Shel Silverstein.

Have you heard of tiny Melinda Mae,
Who ate a monstrous whale?

That’s what writing feels like sometimes. The secret is small bites, lots of chewing, and persistence.

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Head Hopping

Jami Gold, paranormal and urban fantasy author, has a great post about Head Hopping, and why it is bad. Give it a read.

If the POV is unclear or changes too frequently, the reader doesn’t form as strong of a connection to the characters.

Jami has an amazing author blog, with over 600 posts on the writing craft. Check it out when you have an afternoon to burn.

Elmore Leonard

Elmore Leonard’s Ten Rules on Writing

Stolen from Elmore Leonard’s website directly:

  1. Never open a book with weather.
  2. Avoid prologues.
  3. Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.
  4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said” . . . he admonished gravely.
  5. Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.
  6. Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.”
  7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
  8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
  9. Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.
  10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.

“My most important rule is one that sums up the ten. If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”

Podcast: How to Critique

I sat down with J Bryan Jones to join his Coffee House Writer’s Group Podcast to discuss how to critique in a critique group.

It was a fantastic experience. J’s amazing and we ended up chatting for another hour afterwards on fantasy and science fiction, which could have filled another podcast easily.

(We had to stop recording for a moment because I couldn’t get Ernest Hemingway’s name to escape my brain. Super embarrassing for a writer type person. See if you can spot the cut.)

Mentioned in the Podcast: