Here’s the sixth episode of the Writing Talk Podcast.
In this episode of The Writing Talk Podcast, I’m talking about the ways that you can give your writing the edge by keeping it in the moment.
Writing in the moment is the opposite of being heavy handed. It keeps us rooted in the action. We experience the story along with the character and we feel as if we’re right there in the story. This is a story teller’s nirvana and I hope this podcast will help you to hone your writing skills a little further.
I hope you enjoy listening.
NB: You can support the show by subscribing from the links above. Please also consider sharing the show with your writer friends.
Use the senses of the character carefully. Don’t overuse “he saw” or “he heard” etc. Just tell us what was seen and heard and we’ll understand. Give us the characters response to what they’ve seen or heard and we’ll be right there with them.
Use body language and internal sensations but don’t mix them up! Remember the pov (point of view) that you’re using, e.g. if we’re writing a scene from Brian’s pov, we don’t want to know about Jen’s heart racing. Give someone centre stage and focus on them then switch as needed.
Use economy. The longer winded a passage is, the more likely it is to slip into heavy handed writing and take us out of the all important moment. Get off your soapbox – don’t deliver a lecture or over explain. Avoid unnecessary verbs, e.g. in “tears began to well up in her eyes” the “began” is redundant.
Don’t just use fewer words but ramp up the impact of the ones you use.
Sequence – keep it logical and ordered so it’s clear for the reader. Avoid making times relative, e.g. try not to use “before” and “after”. These make the reader do some mental processing. Just be direct and tell us what happens.
e.g. After wiping his mouth he said, “I was already angry…”
Instead, take out the “said”: He wiped his mouth. “I was already angry…”
e.g. Just before getting up Gordon spit in his face.
I’m sure you can see the problem here. It reduces the impact of a very dramatic action.
Take care with “as” – it implies a relationship, e.g. “She sat up quickly, her heart racing as a cold sweat clung to her skin”
It doesn’t read well. Take out the “as” and give the cold sweat its own sentence for more impact.
Use internal dialogue – italics are not needed for this. e.g. What had woken him? What had he heard?
Reading of The Week – Trespass
My current read – Fight Club
Win a Reading in the Podcast!
Write a piece of flash fiction on the subject: Alone in the House. You have up to 500 words.
Post it up on your site and place a link in the comments for this post. I’d like it by close of play on Monday 30 November please.
Make it very in the moment and I will pick some to read out in future episodes. If you’d like a specific accent, please let me know and I’ll do my best.
Shall I Stick at it?
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This isn’t one of those times when writers get all needy – it’s simply that this podcast takes me away from my writing and I cannot justify that unless there’s some support for the podcast. So please help spread the word if you can.
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Links to Writing Resources:
The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression
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