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33 Fiction Writing Tips

Writing fiction can be complex and multifaceted.  There are countless details to consider throughout the process.  There’s the initial brainstorming, the outlining, the countless hours of research, the actual writing, and the inevitable revising.  As if that wasn’t enough, you still have the editing process, a monumental task of its own.  All this to create what you hope will be an amazing work of fiction that readers will fall in love with.  Not much to ask, right?

In doing this research, I’ve gathered an immeasurable amount of ideas concerning fiction writing.  These writing tips, from countless sources, might be helpful to other writers tackling a novel by offering different viewpoints and by providing food for the creative process.

Hopefully, the tips below will help make writing that novel a little easier.

Writing Tips

  1. Read more fiction than you write.
  2. Don’t lock yourself into one genre (in reading or writing). Even if you have a favorite genre, step outside of it occasionally.
  3. Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.
  4. Dissect and analyze stories you love from books, movies, and television to find out what works in storytelling and what doesn’t.
  5. Don’t write for the market. Tell the story that’s in your heart. You can make an outline before, during, or after you finish your rough draft. It will provide you with a road map, which is a powerful tool to have at your disposal.
  6. Some of the best fiction comes from real life. Jot down stories that interest you whether you hear them from a friend or read them in a news article.
  7. Real life is also a great source of inspiration for characters. Look around at your friends, family, and coworkers. Magnify and mix the strongest aspects of their personalities, and you’re on your way to crafting a cast of believable characters.
  8. Make your characters real through details rather than lengthy head-to-toe physical descriptions.
  9. The most realistic and relatable characters are flawed. Find something good about your villain and something dark in your hero’s past.
  10. Avoid telling readers too much about the characters. Instead, show the characters’ personalities through their actions and interactions.
  11. Give your characters difficult obstacles to overcome. Make them suffer. That way, when they triumph, it will be even more rewarding.
  12. Cultivate a distinct voice. Your narrator should not sound warm and friendly in the first few chapters and then objective and aloof in later chapters. The voice should be consistent, and its tone should complement the content of your book.
  13. Give careful consideration to the narrative point of view. Is the story best told in first person or third person? If you’re not sure, write a few pages in each narrative point of view to see what works best.
  14. Is your story moving too fast for readers or are they yawning through every paragraph? Are the love scenes too short? Are the fight scenes too long? Do you go into three pages of detail as your characters walk from point A to point B and then fly through an action sequence in a couple of short paragraphs? Pay attention to pacing!
  15. Infuse your story with rich themes to give it a humanistic quality. Examples of themes include sacrifice, redemption, rebirth, life and death, faith, destiny, etc. These are the big shadows that hover over your story.
  16. Make sure you understand that every story needs a beginning, middle, and an end.
  17. Use symbols and imagery to create continuity throughout your story. Think about how the White Rabbit kept popping up when Alice was adventuring through Wonderland or how the color red was used in the film American Beauty. These are subtle details that give your story great power.
  18. Every great story includes transformation. The characters change, the world changes, and hopefully, the reader will change too.
  19. Enrich your main plot with subplots. In real life, there’s a lot happening at once.
  20. There is a difference between a sub-plot and a tangent. Don’t go off on too many tangents.
  21. If you write in a genre, don’t be afraid to blur the lines. A horror story can have funny moments and a thriller can have a bit of romance.
  22. Make sure your setting is vivid and realistic even if you made it up.
  23. If you didn’t make up your setting, then do your best to get to the location and see it for yourself before you finish your manuscript. If that’s not possible, get busy researching.
  24. Give the readers room to think. You don’t have to tell your story in minute detail, including each minute of the plot’s timeline or all of the characters’ thoughts. Provide enough dots, and trust that the reader will be able to connect them when your story makes time jumps.
  25. Let the readers use their imaginations with your story’s descriptions as well. Provide a few choice details and let the readers fill in the rest of the canvas with their own colors.
  26. Don’t focus exclusively on storytelling at the expense of compelling language.
  27. Appeal to readers’ senses. Use descriptive words that engage the readers’ senses of taste, touch, sound, sight, and smell.
  28. Apply poetry techniques to breathe life into your prose. Use alliteration, onomatopoeia, metaphor, and other literary devices to make your sentences sing and dance.
  29. When rewriting, check for the following: plot holes, character inconsistencies, missing scenes, extraneous scenes, accuracy in research, and of course, grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
  30. As you revise, ask yourself whether every paragraph, sentence, and word is essential to your story. If it’s not, you know where the delete button is.
  31. Before your final revisions and before you send your manuscript out to any agents or editors, find your beta readers: join a writing group, take a fiction workshop, or hire a pro.
  32. Do not send out your rough draft. Go through the revision process at least three times before handing it out to your beta readers. The stronger it is when you bring in editors, the stronger those editors will be able to make it.
  33. Have fun. If you’re not enjoying writing, then maybe it’s not for you. If you’re not enjoying fiction writing, try something else, like poetry, blogging, or screenwriting. Be willing to experiment and you’ll find your way.

Were these writing tips helpful? Got any tips to add? Leave a comment!

Check on the website for my “Dragomeir Series” (for dragon lovers) and various other genres,

    And updates on my latest series – “Daughter of the Dark Lord.”  Interesting EXTRAS available too!

    Solitaire

    www.solitaireparke.com

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    New Novel on the Horizon

     

    It’s about time for another novel, this time Part Two of the Daughter of the Dark Lord Series.  The first book, Daughter of the Dark Lord – Part One – The Burning Sky, has been out for a while now, and is available at a variety of locations – all of which can be reached from my website www.solitaireparke.com.

    I am very anxious for you to read the Daughter of the Dark Lord books as they are the prequels to my previously published Dragomeir Series –  a must read for anyone who loves dragons and other wonderful creatures – also available at my website.  I’ve always been intrigued by dragons.  They are magnificent creatures who interact in the most extraordinary ways with their riders and fellow beings, and have characteristics that are remarkably like humans at times.  They’re really quite wonderful, contrary to all the bad press they’ve been given so much of the time.

    The second book in the series, Daughter of the Dark Lord – Part Two – The Alberra Project, is almost finished, I am happy to say.  These last few months have been a bit crazy, as life and the consequent stress of other projects seemed to take over from time to time, but I am hard at work on Book Two and it has progressed quite nicely.  So, before long it will move forward into editing mode, there will be a cover reveal, and it should be out before year’s end.
    In the meantime, check out my other books at www.solitaireparke.com.

    Solitaire

    Happy Summer Reading!

     

     

     

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    Celebrating the Fourth – Independence Day *************

    The Fourth of July—also known as Independence Day or July 4th—has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution. On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. From 1776 to the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues.

    In tribute to our country – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LSarhZpnM

    Have a great holiday!

    Solitaire

    The Dragomeir Series and all other books are now available on ebay!

    You can go directly to ebay

    or check out my website for all other available locations in various formats.

    www.solitaireparke.com

     

     

     

     

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    In Honor of Fathers –

    Father’s day is just a few days away.  It’s a time of honoring your father and his contributions to your life.  This day is dedicated to all the fathers in the world who have given many sacrifices in bringing up their children and molding them into better people.

    Here are some of the famous quotes for special fathers. 

     

    • “A man never stands as tall as when he kneels to help a child.”

     

    • “A father is a fellow who has replaced the currency in his wallet with the snapshots of his kids and family.”

     

    • “It is not flesh and blood, but the heart which makes us fathers and sons.”

     

    • “Father!—to God himself we cannot give a holier name!” – William Wordsworth

     

    • “The imprint of a father remains forever on the life of the child.” – Roy Lessin

     

    • “We never know the love of a parent till we become parents ourselves.” – Henry Ward Beecher

     

    • “My father gave me my dreams. Thanks to him, I could see a future.” – Liza Minnelli

     

    • “The greatest mark of a father is how he treats his children when no one is looking.” – Dan Pearce

     

    • “A father is the one friend upon whom we can always rely. In the hour of need, when all else fails, we remember him upon whose knees we sat when children, and who soothed our sorrows; and even though he may be unable to assist us, his mere presence serves to comfort and strengthen us.” – Émile Gaboriau

     

    • “Good fathers do three things: they provide, they nurture and they guide.” – Roland Warren

     

    • “A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.” – Billy Graham

     

    • “Sometimes the poorest man leaves his children the richest inheritance.” – Ruth E. Renkel

     

    •  “One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters.” – George Herbert

     

    • “Real fatherhood means love and commitment and sacrifice and a willingness to share responsibility, and not walking away from one’s children.” – William Bennett

     

    • Fatherhood is a very natural thing; it’s not something that shakes up my life but rather it enriches it.” – Andrea Bocelli

     

    To all of you who have been lucky enough to have a wonderful father, or those of you who are working hard at being a great father – HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!!!

     

    Solitaire –

    www.solitaireparke.com

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    May We Always Remember . . .

    Once again it is Memorial Day, and for many it is a long weekend for camping, parties, lots of sales, and even Memorial Day cruises.  There are many reasons why this day is notable.  But let’s not forget the real reason – the important reason.  It was set aside to remember and honor all those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the military service of America . . . Those who died fighting to preserve our lives and our freedom.  They won’t be here to celebrate with us because they gave up everything for us.  So amidst our celebrations, let’s pause and take time to remember the thousands of men and women whose lives were cut short so that we could live, and be with those we love to enjoy our freedoms.

    God help us to remember the cost of our blessings and to remain worthy of that cost.

     

    Solitaire

    http://www.solitaireparke.com

    The Eternal Amulet of Ele-Amarna

    Excerpt from DAUGHTER OF THE DARK LORD – Part One – THE BURNING SKY:

    (Cheron – the true specter of death, Ferryman at The River Styx – speaking to Katherine Pendragon, the daughter of the Dark Lord of the Provinces of Hell)

    “Your father and his loyal demons cannot cross flowing water, and I speak not of the river of death.  Only through me may you cross the Styx.  These lands are not your prison and there are no conventions which bind your fate, but without an army, your father’s curse will be the end of us all.”

    Cheron reached into his robe and pulled out an amulet attached to a golden chain.  Gazing at it for a moment, Cheron’s energy spiked, almost unnoticeably, and then passed.  He handed the piece to Katherine hesitantly, as if he was about to lose something meaningful to him.

    “The most precious gift I can give you is this.  The Eternal Amulet of Ele-Amarna.  It will give you control over Bahn Fahr and the Army of the Dead. “

    The Amulet of Ele-Amarna was an ancient vial, one and one half inches in length, attached to a solid gold chain, which was eighteen inches in length.  The six gold rings surrounding it, would spin in the manner of a combination lock until they lined up, allowing it to open.  Katherine had no knowledge of what would happen once it opened, but she did know that her energy combined with that of the amulet would call up the Army of the Dead, and their subsequent leader, General Bahn Fahr.  The General resided with his army in the Province of Sheol. This might be the only way to defeat her father.

    But the Amulet came with a warning:

    “But beware . . . if the Amulet is destroyed once the Army is called, you will unleash dominion over the living by angry legions of those who cannot be stopped or killed.  Be warned, Ariella.  Hold the Amulet and call the Name of Bahn Fahr at the peril of all you hold dear.”

    Does Katherine resort to using the Amulet, or does she find another way to to thwart the plans of her malevolent father, the Dark Lord, and his army of demons?  The answers can be found in

    DAUGHTER OF THE DARK LORD – Part One – THE BURNING SKY

    at my website www.solitaireparke.com, where it can be purchased at numerous locations in a variety of formats.

    I look forward to hearing from my readers.  Let me know if you have any questions or comments.

    Solitaire

     

    DAUGHTER OF THE DARK LORD – Creature Feature – Bubalos

    BUBALOS-

    An animal that is similar to what we know as a bison or buffalo; they roamed on the Provinces of Hell and were the main food source for dragons, and also on the menu for the citizens.  They were bulky oversized animals, not terribly intelligent and often cranky, but extremely useful.  Large fields were cultivated outside the Palace, and as the bubalos were procured, pens were built for the massive number of creatures.  They migrated twice a year from the more barren lands of the Provinces to the northwestern edge of Hell proper, where they fed on the grasslands produced during that time of year.  The Dark Lord’s daughter, Katherine, even had bubalos brought in to feed the Hell hounds living within the city.  Being such large creatures, they were often bridled and used for transporting supplies from place to place when needed.   The hide from a bubalos could be tanned and used for various articles of clothing or types of baggage.

    Read more about life on the Provinces in the following book –

    DAUGHTER OF THE DARK LORD – Part One – The Burning Sky

    A prequel book to the Dragomeir Series

     Find this book and many more at

    www.solitaireparke.com

    Solitaire

    NEW OZ BOOK COMING NEXT WEEK!!!

                  tinkersmith_coverreveal                   wizardofoz

    In the year 1900, L. Frank Baum published the “Wonderful Wizard of Oz”, and then subsequently released thirteen more Oz books over the years until his death in 1919.

    For generations his books have been an inspiration to children, and adults who still believe themselves to be children.  I am one of those lucky people, and decided to take my Oz oriented adolescence to the next level.  I’m not a big proponent of “Fan Fiction” but I love the idea of taking the essence of certain Oz characters and thrusting them into a non-related story.

    After having read the entire original series again, I took my favorite characters from Baum’s books and incorporated them into a book from a place called Langwidere.  Princess Langwidere appeared in the classic “Ozma of Oz.” In my new book Langwidere the Princess was morphed into a summer camp for children, not a good atmosphere, but one meant for genetic change and mutation.  It became the foundation for introducing a group of very gifted children that help define the new world of Oz.

    In my forthcoming book Tinker Smith and the Conspiracy of Oz you will find genetically altered children who escape into a dystopian world that is nearly destroyed by its maker, Oscar Zoroaster . . . The Wizard.

    The children are comprised of ten genetically altered summer camp attendees, who go on to redefine goodness, hope, and courage.  The children’s character and personalities are not the same as in the original books, but they grow as the story continues, showing how moral fiber improves through adversity.  The children’s characters that I chose are as follows –

    1. Tinker Smith (Tinker and Smith)
    2. Johnny
    3. Jinjurs
    4. Lurline
    5. Eureka
    6. Glass Cat
    7. Tik-Tok
    8. Frogman
    9. Button Bright
    10. Kaliko

    Here are the additional characters –

    1. Oscar Zoroaster
    2. Cayke
    3. John Does (Soldiers)
    4. Dorothys (Followers)
    5. Frank Baum (Farmer)

    All other characters in the book are purely fictitious, and have been selected from my own demented mind to interact with the original personalities created by L. Frank Baum.

    Each of the children has been imbued with super powers far and beyond human, and yet they find humanity in their adventures.  I cast Oscar Zoroaster as the arch villain, simply because I thought it was funny, and to give him the chance to perform an exciting new role in the tales of Oz.

    Have you read the “OZ” books?  If so, what was your favorite book and/or character?

    Solitaire

    www.solitaireparke.com

     

    VISIT MY NEW WEBSITE!!!

    newsite_rockconcert

    Hello Readers!  The new website is now up and running!  So come visit and read the latest news about the Dragomeir Books, as well as the Larger World Series, and much more.  You’ll find my Blog, Fun Facts and  Extras, and discover what books are forthcoming.  See you at the website!

    Solitaire

    Have any questions or things you’d like to know about?  Contact me!

    www.solitaireparke.com

     

    18 Quotes about the Legendary Dragon

    flyingdragon

    A Dragon is a legendary creature belonging to the world of mythology, storytelling and fantasy. There are stories about dragons in Chinese culture, European culture, South American culture, and many others.

    Dragons can look like dinosaurs and other extinct animals. Because of that, it is easy to think that those animals might have been an example for dragons as they were thought of in the history of humankind.

    There are many kinds of dragons in the different cultures. In general –

    • A dragon has: none to four legs, claws, scales and possibly spikes. Optional wings.
    • A dragon can look like a snake with wings, or like lizards
    • A dragon has a tail and a long neck.
    • A dragon has a wide mouth with big and dangerous teeth.
    • Sometimes they have horns and hair.
    • A dragon can fly.
    • A dragon can perhaps breathe fire (or other dangerous substances).
    • A dragon can have special powers.
    • Some dragons live in caves.

    In a number of stories, dragons are dangerous and attack humans. Other stories have dragons that are looking for help, or giving help.  In my Dragomeir Series, the dragons become companions and are lifelong friends to their specific riders.  They can be dangerous to those who attempt to hurt the ones they love or their way of life, but to their riders they are the ultimate friend.  Here are some interesting quotes about dragons:

    It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.

          J. R. R. TOLKIEN, The Hobbit

    And though I came to forget or regret all I have ever done, yet would I remember that once I saw the dragons aloft on the wind at sunset above the western isles; and I would be content.

         URSULA K. LE GUIN, The Farthest Shore

    If the sky could dream, it would dream of dragons.

         LLONA ANDREWS, Fate’s Edge

     

    The ultimate challenge of a teacher lies not in the slaying of dragons, but rather in exposing them as beasts no longer to be feared.

          ALAN BURTON, A Wayward Wizard’s Wistful Words
    If you want to conquer the world, you best have dragons.

         GEORGE R. R. MARTIN, A Dance with Dragons

    O to be a dragon,

    a symbol of the power of Heaven — of silkworm

    size or immense; at times invisible.

    Felicitous phenomenon!

         MARIANNE MOORE, O To Be a Dragon

    How should we be able to forget those ancient myths that are at the beginning of all peoples, the myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into princesses; perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us.

         RAINER MARIA RILKE, Letters to a Young Poet

     

    Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you art crunchy and good with ketchup.

         ANONYMOUS

    Come not between the dragon, and his wrath.

         WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, King Lear

    If you see the dragon fly,

    best you drink the flagon dry.

         GREG HAMERTON, Second Sight

    The hunger of a dragon is slow to wake, but hard to sate.

         URSULA K. LE GUIN, A Wizard of Earthsea

    Imagine a land where people are afraid of dragons. It is a reasonable fear: dragons possess a number of qualities that make being afraid of them a very commendable response. Things like their terrible size, their ability to spout fire, or to crack boulders into splinters with their massive talons. In fact, the only terrifying quality that dragons do not possess is that of existence.

         DAVID WHITELAND, Book of Pages

    A dragon stranded in shallow water provides amusement to the shrimps.

         CHINESE PROVERB

    I desired dragons with a profound desire. Of course, I in my timid body did not wish to have them in the neighborhood. But the world that contained even the imagination of Fáfnir was richer and more beautiful, at whatever the cost of peril.

         J. R. R. TOLKIEN, The Tolkien Reader

    It is one thing to read about dragons and another to meet them.

         URSULA K. LE GUIN, A Wizard of Earthsea

    Did not learned men, too, hold, till within the last twenty-five years, that a flying dragon was an impossible monster? And do we not now know that there are hundreds of them found fossil up and down the world? People call them Pterodactyles: but that is only because they are ashamed to call them flying dragons, after denying so long that flying dragons could exist.

         CHARLES KINGSLEY, The Water Babies

    Here be dragons to be slain, here be rich rewards to gain;

    If we perish in the seeking, why, how small a thing is death! DOROTHY L. SAYERS, Catholic Tales and Christian Songs

    People who deny the existence of dragons are often eaten by dragons. From within.

         URSULA K. LE GUIN, The Wave in the Mind:

    Talks & Essays on the Writer, the Reader, & the Imagination

     

    Do you love reading about dragons?  Check out this ongoing series  at my website –

    THE DRAGOMEIR SERIES:

    “The Emerald Dragon”

    “Flight of theAguiva”

    “Egg of the Amphitere”

     

    And the forthcoming book –

    “Daughter of the Dark Lord”

    Part One

    “The Burning Sky”

    Solitaire

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