Reading Notes and Secrets 🤫
Hello everyone, still living my best life. I plan to continue the publishing series after this brief hiatus. This post will be unlike the rest in that it will be composed of a bullet point list. As opposed to an actual post.
So here it is! My secret reading notes I will share with this community alone. I hope you find them helpful and keep them confidential.
The Whispering Room (Paperback):
Describe things by not saying he was going for a run, but we went for a run, passing through her transparent body. Or some other relevant, possibly even subtextual theme.
If the protagonist does not know for sure a specific piece of information. Write as though they do not know. You as the reader are stepping into their shoes, so if you know something they don't (dramatic irony) it kills the suspension of disbelief and intimacy with your MC.
Having a connection between a past event and a present one
Having the worst likely scenario happen at the most unexpected time possible
It’s cool to have what the character likes entertainment-wise reflect who they are as a person
The Art of Fiction:
A skillful writer plays with varying POVs and unreliable narrators that may or may not inhibit a cultural dialect
There are no absolutes in fiction therefore, it required some intuition
Drink half a pot of coffee. Go downstairs to my basement writing lair. Sit myself in my chair and threaten myself like a recalcitrant child: you will sit in this chair and you will not move until you get this scene was written, missy. Get the caffeine shakes. Regret drinking so much coffee. Finish writing the scene. Reward me with a game or eight of Galatga.
I let it flow, although that makes it sound jazzier and less despairing than the actual process often is for me. I wish I could plot more efficiently or stick to an outline, but I just can’t. Partly it’s because, for me, the plot is the least intriguing part of a book. I write because of certain characters or themes or events I want to explore, but I’m often not sure what form that will take. So I float along a bit. I probably write two novels for everyone I end up with—lots of deleted scenes as I try to figure out what it is I’m really interested in, what it is I’m actually writing.
- Source: The Medium article post on Gillian Flynn's writing technique
The Art of Fiction continued:
What makes a work good is a orderly explanation of the author’s ideas and thoughts
Another important consideration is the implications of each theme
It’s important to have colorful characters and a suspenseful plot as well
Being right about all you put in a novel is also imperative
Plots must not be too confusing as well
It is important to not draw the reader outside of the plot too much and to avoid metafiction mostly minus the intro and outro
It is important to write to a wide audience range and have the characters be relatable enough to care about
Must also make the experience as immersive as possible
The characters every decision must be probable
Characters' actions, even if reflecting their own inner compass, must have consequences if not applicable to the situation at hand
Just like the recent events have shaped, your events must shape the character
A writer has to remember pacing when it comes to scenes and how much detail is required for each portion of a novel by making it immersive yet not too slow
A character's actions must seem natural and inevitable
A reader must root for the MC's relatable goal and the MC must be a driven person with goals, not just a victim
Avoid presenting the MC as a victim at all costs
Characters' preferences reflect who they are as a person as well
A lot of writing is using symbols and metaphors in the world of the characters, so this should be intuition-based
I must analyze the metaphors used in re-reading what I wrote
Setting should reflect the characters
Socially conscious writing must not be too obvious it should instead be more subtle
Considerations for realistic writing:
Varying flow with sentences
Fiction should not be afraid of stating universals. Especially if it is done in a way that is captivating.
It helps to work backward from the climax, so you have all the essentials for the climax
Important to not go into an omniscient viewpoint because it is cheesy and draws attention to itself
An excellent writer does not use conventional language instead, he uses imagery, symbols, and appeals to the senses to establish a literary “dream”
It’s important to not write abstractly or use intricate language when it does not serve the image or story, but to write in a way that conveys pace and image
Good writing is more direct. Example- what a person saw vs he saw blank
Important to have good syntax to not distract from the story for the reader because that is one of the biggest turnoffs even if your story is brilliant
Learn proper syntax before delving into actually writing the book
Mistakes to avoid:
Incorrect or excessive use of passive voice
Inappropriate use of introductory phrases using passive verbs
Distracting diction or shifts in diction
Lack of sentence variety
Lack of rhythm, inappropriate rhymes, or unintentional
Careless shifts in psychic distance
Important to have active character voices, not passive unless it is to reflect a character's pompous manner of speaking
Passive and past tense are not the same. You still use past tense in 3rd but passive voice such as so and so did this instead of this happened to so and so
Important to have each action or verb set in different sentences. He did this. Then he did this. To not lead the reader to believe all that which has happened was simultaneous.
Do not use introductory phrases that involve a verb before a character says something
Always try to use more descriptive/powerful verbs
It’s important to have poetic devices apply to the situation at hand or logically make sense to the surrounding area or characters' past
Avoid having what a character is thinking to be an expiation for a character's state. It is better to show rather than tell.
Never betray your theme for a story or be hypocritical for your theme
Don’t sacrifice the message for rhythm. But sometimes it is best to compare after the first draft.
A scene should do the following (If it does not omit it)
Justify later action
One must patiently go through each portion of the book or develop each setting as if it were a writing exercise of its one
Honestly, write like King for descriptions describing each location as if it reflected any said character like the personification of the barn in the dead soldier exercise. Then edit like Gillian Flynn and only keep what does the following described above or what seems intuitively necessary.
Art reflects sometimes a distorted lens on reality. Art in a way is artifice.
A writer's description should paint a specific, sometimes surreal picture the writer sees in their mind, not try to paint a picture as realistic as possible
Style should never overshadow:
A writer should find a balance between the story and its presentation
Events and thoughts must have coherence
The protagonist's biased viewpoint should always bleed through overshadowing even the reality of a situation or character. For example, a character views his father, the president, who is seen in the public eye as a commanding, powerful presence crying or emotionally confiding in his wife. Subverting expectations, or better yet the protagonist sees father how the public does when in actuality he is a kind, accepting father.
Skills to work on:
Technique by imitation
Development and control of vocabulary- using rare words and avoiding all to common words and phrases or overly elaborate phrases
Idioms and symbolic deeper meaning in the description is great poetic devices
Short sentences can be hurried but used incorrectly, it can be boring. That is why variation between shorter and longer sentences for rhythm must be introduced
By paying very close attention to rhythm and what is stressed vs unstressed, a writer can create emotional meaning behind words he uses
Using more stressed syllables in an emotionally impactful moment of the story is imperative behind the reader's emotional connection