14 April 2018

Three great tips for fiction writers #AuthorToolboxBlogHop


There is so much advice for new writers it must be quite bewildering for anyone starting out on the long journey to successful publication.  For this month’s #AuthorToolboxBlogHop I’ve therefore had a think and here are my top tips:

Develop your own authentic voice

Finding your ‘voice’ as a writer is what can make your work stand out from the rest. Think of your favourite authors - and why you look forward to their next book. Best-selling author Jeff Goins says, ‘Once you’ve found your voice, make sure you continue to develop it. It’s a discipline, one that can’t be overlooked if you’re going to have the impact you desire and that your words deserve.’ Find out more at Jeff’s post 10 Steps to Finding Your Writing Voice.

Show don’t tell

Don’t groan – even after writing eight novels I find this advice useful when reviewing a first draft. ‘Telling’ has its place, as there are times when you need to tell the reader something and ‘showing’ is about using all the senses to make readers feel what your characters feel. Creative writing expert Emma Darwin says, ‘Understand their respective strengths, and use each to your story's best advantage. like everything in writing, it isn't even binary, but a spectrum, from the telliest tell, to the showiest show.’ Find our more at Emma’s useful post Showing And Telling: The Basics.

Never state what you can imply

I’ve put this in the header of my current work in progress as a reminder. Like showing and telling, there are times to be flexible but it’s always good to involve the reader more by making them do some of the work. Award winning author Peter Selgin says, ‘Telling readers what to think or feel is the job of a propagandist. A storyteller’s main purpose, on the other hand, is to create experiences for the reader, to involve us so deeply, so convincingly, so authentically in those experiences that we feel what characters feel..’ Find out more at his post In Storytelling: Never State What You Can Imply.

Happy writing!

Tony Riches

Do you have some great writing tips you would like to share?
Please feel free to comment


The #AuthorToolboxBlogHop is a monthly event on the topic of resources and learning for authors. Feel free to hop around to the various blogs and see what you learn! The rules and sign-up form are below the list of hop participants. All authors at all stages of their careers are welcome to join in.

15 comments:

  1. Never state what you can imply.

    Brilliant. It's one of those rules that's floated around the depths of my consciousness but I've never been able to articulate ... or provide a rationale for. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks for visiting Iola - writing is just an endless learning process :)

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  2. I admit, I get tired of the phrase "show, don't tell". They both have their uses, and I think the key to good storytelling is knowing when and how to use every tool in your kit.
    I also think you're spot on about implications. Audiences want to be actively engaged. I think I once heard a Neil Gaiman quote about how "Every written story is like a set of paints, and every audience creates their own version, all of which are true, and right."

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  3. Never state what you can imply ~ Great tip and one I struggle with when writing.

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  4. Thanks for the links for more information on each topic. Very generous of you!

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  5. Wonderful links, Tony. Thanks for the insight into story. The only thing I'd add is to be sure to show why what's happening in the story matters to the protagonist. Have a great week!

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  6. Great advice, Tony. I tend to be an "in your face" writer, being too obvious when I should take a more subtle, less obvious, approach.

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    1. Me too - once I've written the first draft, I go through it looking for opportunities to be more mysterious

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  7. Useful, succinct, and packed with more resources. Great post!

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  8. I like to say show AND tell, but yes, mostly show since telling is bland. As you said, though, there is a time and a place for telling. Sometimes, though, it can be hard to spot the tiniest tell. That's when a good beta reader, critique partner, or editor can help. Better yet, all three. ;)

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  9. This is a great top 3. I will definitely check out the articles you listed. I particularly like #3. I often hear about voice and "show don't tell", but I think letting the reader fill in the blanks is probably the most powerful technique in your tips. The more active the reader is, the more invested they become.
    Great list, Tony. Thanks!

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  10. Out of your three tips I would say that finding your voice as a writer is paramount. It is what makes every writer unique. It is also a journey without end; one's voice can always be refined and sharpened.

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  11. Nail on the head, Tony. I love this post. I really needed the reminder about showing versus telling, because I'm trying so hard not to show, and sometimes, my work feels like it needs more balance.

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