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Posts Tagged ‘Jami Gold’

no-dumping-safety-sign-pv13-500x500Whether you write long or short forms, one of the trickiest things about fiction (and some non-fiction) is conveying background information. Too little information loses the reader through confusion; too much loses the reader through sidetracking (or boredom).

Once again, Jami Gold comes through with some concrete suggestions (complete with examples) for finding the difficult balance between “Huh?” and “TMI!” The technique discussed in her July 4 blog post has to do with point of view, which is brilliant because readers experience stories through the characters. Even a story with an omniscient narrator connects with readers via the characters.

So take some notes and tuck them away for the next time you’re revising or beta-reading. As helpful as it is to know what’s wrong, it’s even more helpful to have an idea about how to make it better.

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Despite what some people say, head-hopping (shifting POV in a story without appropriate transition) is a fairly common problem in a lot of writing and an issue that every writer needs to pay attention to. Not because I (or anyone else) say so, but because it confuses the reader. I would even argue that a writer who *intends* to confuse the reader ought to be knowledgeable about head-hopping because it could be employed to that end with great effect.

The ever-helpful Jami Gold has posted a concise but comprehensive discussion of POV (Point of View: What Does Your Character Know?) on her blog. The post covers different types of POV (what they look like and how they are used), what can go wrong and suggestions for fixing it, and additional resources. As usual, Jami has done a bang-up job introducing the topic, and if the comments follow their usual pattern, the discussion there will almost be a workshop in itself.

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caution signOnce again, paranormal romance author Jami Gold has posted some terrific tips for fellow writers. This time she tackles story flow at the sentence/paragraph level, where it often goes undetected by authors. A writer’s knowledge of the story tends to neutralize the jarring effects of small cause-effect reversals before the brain even registers them. Jami offers some practical ways to bring them to our attention.

The post (Cause and Effect: Understanding Story Flow) does a nice job of explaining how and why small speed bumps in our writing can have an undesired effect on readers. It then outlines a handful of techniques for locating potential speed bumps in our work. Best of all, the post discusses how selectively breaking the rules, with intent, can expand our writer’s toolbox.

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Paranormal romance author Jami Gold’s blog (http://jamigold.com/blog/) is chock-full of great ideas and tools for writers. Her latest post on beta reading (Introducing the Beta Reading Worksheet!) offers tips that apply to critique groups as well. She lists a number of phrases that can help shape feedback into something both concrete and useful to the author. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • I don’t understand….
  • The detail seems….
  • The (character, setting, etc.) comes across as (feisty, depressing, important, etc.)
  • This (detail, phrase, etc.) conveys (irritation, happiness, etc.)
  • It’s not clear how (Sally got to the store, John sawed down the tree, etc.)
  • I would expect a character (with such and such a trait) to do/not do (such and such)
  • I’m confused about (what happens here, this character’s motivation, etc.)
  • I really liked…. *it’s very important to identify strengths!*

She specifically notes that “why” questions tend to bring out defensive responses. For that matter, questions of any kind encourage dialogue with the author, which isn’t the objective in a critique group. The author needs to be able to hear everything the group has to say, and answering questions takes us out of a listening mindset.

The post includes a worksheet that could be used by writers returning to their work for revision as well as by beta readers. Accompanying the worksheet is perhaps the most useful advice for any writer to keep in mind: take what works and don’t worry about the rest.

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