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05.07.2011 19:55    Comments: 0    Categories: Fiction Elements  Fiction Writing  Writing Craft  Writing Tips  Writing Style      Tags: crawford kilian  style  checklist  fiction writers  

As you begin to develop your outline, and then the actual text of your novel, you can save time and energy by making sure that your writing style requires virtually no copy editing. In the narrative:

  1. Do any sentences begin with the words “There” or “It”? They can almost certainly benefit from revision. (Compare: There were three gunmen who had sworn to kill him. It was hard to believe. or: Three gunmen had sworn to kill him. He couldn't believe it.)
  2. Are you using passive voice instead of active voice? (Compare: Is passive voice being used?) Put it in active voice!
  3. Are you repeating what you've already told your readers? Are you telegraphing your punches?
  4. Are you using trite phrases, cliches, or deliberately unusual words? You'd better have a very good reason for doing so.
  5. Are you terse? Or, alternatively, are you on the other hand expressing and communicating your thoughts and ideas with a perhaps excessive and abundant plethora of gratuitous and surplus verbiage, whose predictably foreseeable end results, needless to say, include as a component part a somewhat repetitious redundancy?
  6. Are you grammatically correct? Are spelling and punctuation correct? (This is not mere detail work, but basic craft. Learn standard English or forget about writing novels.)
  7. Is the prose fluent, varied in rhythm, and suitable in tone to the type of story you're telling?
  8. Are you as narrator intruding on the story through witticisms, editorializing, or self-consciously, inappropriately “fine” writing?
  9.  

    In the dialogue:


  10. Are you punctuating dialogue correctly, so that you neither confuse nor distract your readers?
  11. Are your characters speaking naturally, as they would in reality, but more coherently?
  12. Does every speech advance the story, revealing something new about the plot or the characters? If not, what is its justification?
  13. Are your characters so distinct in their speech--in diction, rhythm, and mannerism--that you rarely need to add “he said” or “she said”?

 

  1. Developing Efficient Work Habits
  2. Elements Of A Successful Story
    • In the opening...
    • In the body of the story...
    • In the conclusion...
    • Throughout the story...
  3. Style: Checklist For Fiction Writers
  4. Manuscript Format
  5. Storyboarding
  6. Ten Points on Plotting
  7. The Story Synopsis
  8. Understanding Genre: Notes on the Thriller
  9. Symbolism and all that
    • The Natural Cycle
    • The Natural Versus the Human World
    • The Hero's Quest: Mysterious or unusual birth
    • Symbolic Images
    • Symbolic Characters
  10. Narrative Voice
  11. Constructing a Scene
  12. Show And Tell: Which Is Better?
  13. Character In Fiction
    • The Character Resume
  14. “Let's Talk About Dialogue,” He Pontificated
    • Some Dialogue Conventions to Consider:
  15. Writing A Query Letter About Your Novel
    • The Letter Itself
  16. Researching Publishers and Agents
  17. Reading a Contract
    • Delivery Of Satisfactory Copy
    • Permission for Copyrighted Material
    • Grant Of Rights
    • Proofreading and Author's Corrections
    • Advances and Royalties
    • Author's Warranties and Indemnities
    • Copies to Author
    • Option Clause
    • Going Out of Print
    • A Word of Advice

 

About the Author

 

Crawford Kilian was born in New York City in 1941. He moved to Canada in 1967 and now resides in Vancouver B.C. Crawford has had twelve science fiction and fantasy novels published. He has been nominated for an Aurora Award 3 times for his novels Eyas, Lifter and Rogue Emperor- A Novel of the Chronoplane Wars. His latest contribution to SF is a non-fiction book for would-be SF writers called Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy. Crawford has two more novels in the works.

To learn more about him, visit his blog at: http://crofsblogs.typepad.com/fiction/

 
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