Monday, June 4, 2012

Style Blunders, and Stimulus-Response

I've got two craft-of-fiction blog posts up today on other blogs. Here's the first, on Elizabeth Craig's awesome blog, Mystery Writing is Murder:

Style Blunders in Fiction—by Jodie Renner

by Jodie Renner, freelance editor, @JodieRennerEd
Style Blunders in Fiction
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No, I’m not talking about the fashion police coming after you. I’m talking about those little errors and bad habits that creep into your manuscript, weaken your message, and add up to an overall feeling of amateurish writing. The good news is that, unlike the more critical creative flow of ideas for plot and characters, these little bad habits are easy to correct, resulting in a much more polished, compelling manuscript.

1. Take out wishy-washy qualifiers, like quite, sort of, almost,...

For all 12 of the tips, with examples, click here.



Also, I've got a blog post up on Crime Fiction Collective today on the topic:
Write stimulus before response, cause before effect, action before reaction:


by Jodie Renner, freelance editor
Have you ever been engrossed in a novel, reading along, then you hit a blip that made you go “huh?” for a nanosecond? Then you had to reread the sentence to figure out what’s going on? Often, it’s because actions are written in a jumbled-up order, rather than the order they occurred. When writing fiction, it’s usually best to show actions and events in chronological order, and to describe the cause first, then the effect. Something happens, then the character reacts to it, not the other way around.

So when showing actions and reactions in your fiction, pay attention to the syntax of the sentence. State the cause before the effect, the action before the reaction, the stimulus before the response. This way, the ideas flow more naturally and smoothly, and the readers don’t have to skip back in the sentence to figure out what’s going on, which confuses them momentarily and takes them out of the story.
As Ingermanson and Economy say in Writing Fiction, “Here’s a critical rule: Always get the time sequence correct and always put the cause before the effect.”
Here are some “before and after” examples, disguised, from my fiction editing....

 For the rest of the article, click here.

Jodie Renner is a freelance editor specializing in thrillers, romantic suspense, mysteries, and other crime fiction. Please check out Jodie’s website and blog, as well as her group blog, Crime Fiction Collective.
Jodie’s craft of fiction articles appear regularly on various blogs, and she has published two popular craft-of-fiction e-books in the series, An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction: Writing a Killer Thriller and Style that Sizzles and Pacing for Power.

Both are on sale at Amazon, and you don’t need to own a Kindle to buy and read Kindle e-books – you can download them to your PC, Mac, tablet or smartphone. Style that Sizzles will be out in paperback soon.


 

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