The Fiction Portal
Antonia Morton, Book Editor
Fiction "blog": Yoga for your story
People do yoga to stretch and strengthen their physical muscles, and to calm their hearts and minds. This self-care makes us more productive.
Similarly, working with me on your story helps you to stretch and strengthen your writing muscles, and to stimulate your creative brain. You'll be able to give your manuscript more power and flexibility.
In many aspects of life—learning to play a musical instrument, training for a competitive event, taking up a new hobby, tackling the learning curve of a new job
—the task is always easier when you have a guide, a coach, a mentor, or a cheerleader.
The craft of writing is no different. Whether you're a total newbie or an experienced author, it's good to be able to rely on someone who gently helps you to expand your capabilities. Think of me as your editorial yoga instructor!
How, exactly, does this creative strengthening happen? Here are some of the issues authors need to tackle, to write most effectively.
Dialogue. Do your characters talk the way real people would? (“Real” being whatever is most plausible for your story—a Regency romance obviously has different language rules from a Game of Thrones–like fantasy, or a gritty military thriller.)
Structure and narrative. How is your story organized? Does it have a natural arc?
Or is it full of tortuous Pulp Fiction–esque flashbacks and backstories? Those can certainly add drama ... but they can be very tricky to handle, if you want your readers to follow your train of thought.
Point(s) of view. Is your story told from the viewpoint of just one character,
or of several? Or do you prefer the “omniscient author” approach? Any of those
is fine, but be careful not to suddenly “head-hop” from one character to another.
Character development and motivation. For readers, one of the most disappointing reading experiences is meeting people in a story who are just cardboard cutouts—mere stock figures, with no depth or humanity. Think carefully about why your characters talk and act the way they do.
Plots (and sub-plots). Whether your story is a fast-paced action adventure, or a gentle meditation on social life, à la Jane Austen—there should still be a discernible plot. And your sub-plots should serve your overall narrative.
Voice and style. As the author, you set the tone of this reading experience. Your audience relies on you to be consistent: you don't want to start off channelling J.K. Rowling, and end up sounding like Ernest Hemingway. You need to find, and focus, your own unique voice.
Other elements you need to consider, for maximum readability, include:
the pacing and flow of your story
your timing and chronology
your exposition and descriptions
... and last, but not least ...
your grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
I help you tackle all these aspects of the writer's craft.
If you want to learn how to be a better writer, check out my fiction workshop:
You may also be interested in my Writing for Clarity workshop, which gives
in-depth, hands-on instruction about decluttering, activating, and organizing.
Got any thoughts about my writing-yoga analogy? I'd love to hear from you!
Email your comments to info@ClearTextEditorial.com.
Previous “Blog” Posts
December 2018: What qualities make a good editor?