If you’ve read my post for any length of time then you know that I am a huge fan of Science Fiction/ Fantasy author Michael Stackpole. I’ve learned so much from him in the past and will plug anything he has going on that is good, given the chance. I do it because he has done so much for me in my development as a writer and self-publisher. Since the podcast the Dragon Page Cover to Cover ended (sadly), he’s scaled back dramatically on his postings, but here is, what I think will be a series, of new writing posts on improving your writing skills: High Intensity Writing Workout No 1.
If you are new writer, or one just starting out this writing exercise is crucial for creating dialogue that will cause your story to flow. Often we fall into habits of writing dialogue that is choppy and full of descriptions that tell us who is speaking. One of the best tips I learned from Mr. Stackpole about writing is that you don’t need to tell the reader who is speaking all the time. How you frame your dialogue will say who is speaking without telling he reader necessarily. Writing dialogue with attribution texts as opposed to tags makes a ton of difference. Great tips for writing. Check his post out and do the exercise for a complete and better understanding.
I read an article several years ago that dealt with the topic of what level your writing should be in order to keep an even reading flow. I found it fascinating and intriguing. The writer, whom I forget, based his article on the statistics of what most American’s reading level grade (5th grade, 9th grade) and their average speed. What popped out of the text was that if your writing level were that of an average eighth grader your story would flow and move quickly as opposed to a more sophisticated vocabulary at a higher-grade level. Even though this was kind of sad, it did make a bit of sense. I’ve read books in the fantasy genre where I literally had to keep a dictionary by my side. I usually skipped the definition and kept on reading because I didn’t feel like stopping and looking it up. Now with the ease of looking up words with my Kindle I find myself looking up words I don’t know, but rarely remember them for usage later. I came across an article from a blog titled DAILYWRITINGTIPS that dealt with this subject and attached a readability index calculator. If you want to know what your writing level is, give this neat little tool a try. Just to give you an example, my entire post just prior to this sentence was scored a 46 level of ease and a grade level of 12 (twelfth grade). Not bad? Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think you should change your writing style to an easy reading level just for the sake of flow, but just give a thought to who your audience is. My daughter is a pretty avid reader and she just finished Lord of the Rings. I remember that Tolkien’s writing style took a little getting used to when I first read it. I think it is good for younger folks to have a little challenge when reading, but the fact is many of my readers and yours are sporting a reading level that is well below twelfth grade. I don’t belittle those that are because in many cases it’s just the way things are these days, and I am certainly glad that they are reading. Reading is so vital to our life and the continual development of our minds and thought process. One example I can give is my grandparent’s are in their nineties and they never read much at all. Even when they are in their moments of clarity they don’t have really much to talk about. In contrast my Grandmothers sister, who is in her nineties as well, was and is an avid reader and her mind is clearly sharper. Even if age in each person differs, and the deterioration of the mind varies, I can certainly tell the difference and wish my Grandparents read more earlier in their lives. It’s up to you on how you write, but I can attest that I’ve stopped reading certain authors that peppered each page with too many words I didn’t understand. An interesting thought for sure.
Dark Moon Shadow is targeted for an EARLY MAY RELEASE! Stay tuned and get ready for a fun adventure of magic and darkness!
Many of us writers, beginners, and the ones who hope to be can never get enough advice and professional opinion about our craft. I’ve been seriously writing for only six years and because I didn’t pay great attention in school I struggle with the grammar and spelling side of the art (thank God for editors and the internet.) Over the last several years I discovered a podcast that deals with writing and ebooks that has not only inspired me, but gives great writing tips and instruction. The podcast is called The Dragon Page cover to cover, www.dragonpage.com Here Mike and Mike (not the espn guys) are going through a series from start to finish on composing a novel and converting into an ebook for self publication. Download the podcast and get your learn on!
Another advice book I recently discovered in the form of a PDF download is “Novel Blogging”. I myself am trying to learn how to blog more efficiently so I can entertain as well as keep you all apprised as to how my writing is doing. Liberty Montano is the author of this wealth of information. The cost is a little pricey, but well worth the knowledge in contains. I think it’s a must buy. If you are serious about your writing I suggest you get a copy at www.libertysyarn.com .
Well, off for my morning walk and plenty of writing thoughts to drum up!