Fiction Pitfalls

by Desiree Anderson

 

These are some mistakes that people make: 

  • Writing the characters completely as they are
  • Trying to make the characters too complex so that they appear “believable”
  • Making your characters only 2-dimensional
  • Writing dialogue exactly as it is
  • Writing situations/circumstances exactly as they happened

 

Ways to overcome these mistakes:

  • In real life, dialogue starts and stops. Conversations are pitted with “um,” “you know,” etc. You can write scenes exactly as they happened, and you can take dictation of dialogue, but the key then is REVISION.
  • Re-read what you have written. Maybe you have read a book, seen a TV show, or even read the newspaper, and you think, “I could’ve written that better.” It is true. You have skills as an editor. Use them on yourself and your own writing.
  • Let your writing get cold. Come back to it the next day and see how you can make it better. Take out what isn’t necessary. Make your verbs stronger.
  • Listen to dialogue in movies.
  • Listen to dialogue in real life.
  • Lively conversations reveal info about the character. How they speak, where they’re from, if they like flowery, detailed stories or brief, concise ways of speaking.

 

You may think that you are not being true to life if you change your characters. Composite characters are the best though. And some people you think would make an interesting main character might not be compelling enough.

You can start with an inspiration, but develop from there.

 

Interview Your Characters (see questions below)

 

            Get to know who they are before you write their story

  • Who they are will determine the plot
  • Who they are will determine the course of their action and how they relate to people.

 Use your life

  • What is your experience?
  • What do you love to read?
  • What do you know?

 Research

  • Set a time limit
  • Make a list for your research
  • Know when to stop researching your subject and start Writing

 Places of research:

  • Interviewing experts or people with experience
  • Librarians
  • Internet

 Interview your characters  Click

 

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