A few weeks ago I had the most fortunate pleasure of attending the South Carolina Writers Workshop Conference in Myrtle Beach. New friends, amazing fun, and super fabulous sessions on writing, publishing,…EVERYTHING.
I sat through some pretty amazing and informative workshops, but one of the more "inspirational" ones was with James Frenkel, editor with Tom Doherty Associates. The title...NARRATIVE STRATEGY: HOW IMPORTANT IS THE OPENING OF A MANUSCIPT?
I've already been to SO many first page workshops, but I didn’t see anything else that really sparked my interest on the schedule so…eh, why not?
SO glad I went. Mr. Frenkel did talk about the first page, how you have to grab the reader’s attention and create intrigue, but he also said you must continue this throughout the story, you have to KEEP the reader's attention, and he gave general tips for doing just that.
Here are just a few things Mr. Frenkel had to say:
• Creating a good story is making a reader want to know what comes next.
• There must be something about the main character that the reader cares about. He/she needs to be vulnerable. Complex. NOT one-note.
• “You don’t want the reader to wake up.” Leave them in a tranced state. Don’t do anything that will confuse the reader or take the reader out of the story.
• You are the god of the book. You make the decisions. You are in charge and you have to stay in charge.
• You can be manipulative, but you don’t want the reader to know you’re pulling these strings.
• If you’re writing third person with multiple POVs, “love the one you’re with.” In other words, only one point of view per scene, please.
• Trust yourself. Trust your reader. Less is more. Don’t tell the reader everything. Don’t take away the reader’s imagination.
• You have to include the reader when you’re writing. Make the reader feel like he/she is part of the story. And the moment you forget your reader is the moment they forget you.
• “Follow your bliss.” Write what you would love to read.
Follow your bliss.
Not write what you know. Not write what you love. Write what YOU WOULD WANT TO READ. Your love, your readers love all boiled into one book.
Follow your bliss.
New motto, yo. Love. It. I’m applying it to like, EVERYTHING.
SO, how about YOU? Get any good writer-ly advice lately that YOU want to share?