I took two different online classes this month and learned so VERY much. Plus I read some wonderful writing magazines (learned from them too!).
So, here I go.
From the Summer Issue of ACFW Journal:
- Really, REALLY wish I were going here in September (kinda knew that already, but it was brought home even more going through this issue).
- There is a difference between character history and backstory.
- All six senses (including "intuition/the Holy Spirit speaking") can enrich your writing and add depth.
- A great quote by Athol Dickson: "When you turn away from God, having known Him as He truly is, what you're turning toward is nothing."
- Waiting for inspiration to hit may just cause you to wait forever (actually, I knew that before, but apparently needed the reminder).
- Some people are getting published with NO ONLINE PRESENCE. (thud)
- When in doubt, abandon the complicated for the simple.
- You can actually practice being creative (and I'm gonna do that :D).
- It is often best to do "big picture" revising first, and hold off on the nitpicky stuff.
- Aim for professional, not perfect.
- Description is not telling. The reader wants and needs it so that the story can advance. It’s part of your job as novelist to convey not only what the people are saying but what everything looks like.
- A good rule of thumb might be limiting description to what the character sees/acknowledges/processes through the senses and mentally.
- Having a picture of your setting in front of you makes a HUGE difference in how descriptive you are.
- If the writer doesn't describe it, it doesn't exist for readers.
- The goal of description is to reveal for the reader everything s/he would notice if s/he were really in this setting.
- Be sure all the images you point out or the viewpoint character notices are consistent with the mood you're trying to create.
- All the mechanics of fiction—vocabulary, punctuation, formatting, dialogue, and prose—ought to not be noticeable in and of themselves but should rather become vehicles ushering the reader into the middle of what’s going on in the story.
- Great dialogue is realistic, layered, and appropriate for the character and the moment.
- Let your characters communicate and respond via the subtext beneath their words, not their words themselves.
- It is quite possible to create the feeling of profanity without the use of profanity. In fact, doing so is superior to using profanity in your fiction. It’s the better way, in my (Jeff Gerke's) opinion.
- Writing historical fiction is basically a two-stage process – first comes the research, then the writing. (Confession time - I did this BACKWARD)
- Cindy Vallar is a HUGE source of historical information/links - and so gracious with her time!
- In historical fiction, the historical aspect of the story propels the story rather than any romance you incorporate into it. In historical romance, the opposite is true.
- A reader’s sense of time, place, and the world s/he enters depend on you, the writer.
- There are WAY more different kinds of librarians than I ever imagined.
- The best time to begin your research is prior to completing the entire story line of your novel.
- When researching history, writers should access primary resources whenever possible.
- In crafting your story, you must decide whether it will have a history-driven plot or a character-driven one.
- Whether your character is fictitious or real, make certain you don’t judge that character based on today’s standards and morals.
- Nothing destroys a story faster for a reader than anachronisms. They have the potential to stop a reader and damage your reputation as a writer.
Questions? Comments? Observations? What was most interesting/helpful to you?