Writing a great story of any kind requires much skill, but these skills can be learnt. Like all professions, to be the best at what you do, you have to work at it. Many people can tell a story, but if it doesn’t excite and intrigue the reader on the first page, they won’t read on. These skills are needed whatever you are writing: short story, poems, memoirs, novels, etc.
Every professional had to put in the hard yards to learn their vocation. A writer is no different. Would you assume that because you took manual arts at school you could build a house? Similarly, being good at English at school did not equip you for being a well-respected and bestselling author.
With the way things are in the publishing industry, with fewer books being accepted, if there is too much to be fixed in a manuscript, the expense to the publisher to pay an editor to spend hours finding and telling the author how to fix the problems is too great and they will reject the manuscript. Writers need to know how to make their writing strong and polished. A good writing tutor can teach them how to do that.
Below are some of the things that are missing in the manuscripts I receive.
Strong well developed characters, each different from the other. Many writers make the mistake of having characters who are too similar to each other and not well enough developed. Humans are not the same; we are multidimensional beings. While some people may have one or two similarities, we also have several different beliefs and habits. To keep our readers hooked on the story we need them to relate to our main character or characters and care enough about them to want to read on and find out what happens to them. In our workshops, Creating Memorable Characters and Writing believable dialogue, we examine the different personalities of the people around us and learn how to show their unique traits with speech and action. Our exercises take real life scenes and examine how each personality would react in that situation. For crime and mystery writers, the character workshop includes an examination of criminal types and what drives them to commit crimes.
A sense of place is another thing that is frequently missing. When we read a novel with a graphic description of the setting, we are transported to that place. If the description is too brief, then we have no idea what physical situation our characters are in and we lose interest. The use of our 5 senses is very important to create a sense of place. In our Creating a wondrous place workshop, you will be given examples of how that is done and exercises on creating a setting that transports us to that wondrous place.
Passive writing is another problem. Passive sentences flatten a scene – especially an action scene. Some are okay, but the industry norm is no more than 6% of passive sentences in a manuscript. In our Strengthening Your Writing workshop, we will show you how to find those passive sentences and make them into strong and interesting active sentences.
Emotion is often missing. Many stories I read tell us just the facts. If we don’t understand how our characters feel about a situation they are in then we won’t relate to them. By the use of action, dialogue or thought you can tell the reader how he/she feels and elicit sympathy and empathy for your character.
Our workshops start at Waking your imagination; we will teach you how to turn an idea into a story everyone will want to read by showing you how to add excitement, depth, and intrigue. The workshops then continue to the very end of your journey, how to get published and market your book.
Go to the workshop page to learn more. You can choose to book in for the full course with me and do all the workshops, or just choose the ones you feel you need. If you are writing a memoir, a true story, writing for business, or writing instructional manuals of any kind, Ron’s workshops cover these subjects and more.