Monthly Archives: October 2014

Seven Words of Writing Wisdom

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Friday, October 31, 2014
From Glynna Kaye @ The Seekers


Seven Words of Writing Wisdom


Words of writing wisdom…they were everywhere at the September 2014 American Christian Writers Conference in Saint Louis!


Wherever I turned—from the opening address, to the keynote speaker, to workshops, to chats with fellow writers, all the way to the closing remarks—I found “writerly” wisdom to gather and tuck away for later contemplation.


Since this is Seekerville’s SEVENTH birthday (!), I’ve chosen seven “words” of writing wisdom gleaned from various ACFW 2014 venues to share with you today.

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How To Organize Your Non-fiction Book

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Organization can prove a challenging task for creative people whose desks often tend to be a jumble of papers, sticky notes and books and whose filing cabinets  contain more random acts of filing than anything else.

How To Organize Your Non-fiction Book

(Their computer files are often just as disorganized.) I know I have this problem.

When I settle down to write a non-fiction book, however, I have to force myself to get organized. This is especially true if I want to do it quickly, like when I have a deadline or I take on a challenge such as National Nonfiction Writing Month, also known as the Write Nonfiction in November Challenge.

Non-fiction books can entail a fair amount of research and detail. Keeping all of this material arranged in a systematic way is important, especially if you don’t want to stop writing to find what you need. Sometimes you need that informationto write!

Organization becomes essential if you want to write a book in a month (or less), or if you simply want to get it done as efficiently and quickly as possible.

6 Organizational Tools

Luckily, there’s an organizational tool for just about every writer’s style. Here’s a list of six organizational tools.One might fit your needs:

Read the rest of this article on The Future of Ink:


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Confessions of a Serial Killer- How to kill characters when you write

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From the good people at Writers Write

Confessions of a Serial Killer- How to kill characters when you write

I am a serial killer. I have in fact, killed so many people that I have lost count. A special welcome to the FBI who are now reading this post.

I always quote Nora Roberts when I talk about moving plots forward and getting unstuck. She says: “The middles of my books are often the toughest for me to write. If the pacing flags, I deal with the problem by looking around at all my characters and figuring out which one I can kill.”

Even though I know this, I am one of the biggest losers when it comes to killing characters. I hate it when a character dies. I am a sucker for a happy ending. For me to kill someone instead of sending them off into the sunset, hand-in-hand, is hard. But at some point a character must die.

Created by Writers Write at SomeecardsSo many of my favourite characters on TV have been dying lately and the trauma of that made me wonder if I am sometimes too trigger-happy when I offer this advice. Pardon the pun.

In Homeland, Brody died and the series with him. I commend them for that by the way, the series ending. Matthew, from Downton Abbey has died. I was devastated. In The Following they killed Claire; I did forgive them that in the next series. I have not forgiven them for killing Lori in The Walking Dead, but I cheered, loudly, when Joffrey met his foamy end in Game of Thrones.

As a rule I don’t like books where children die or are hurt. This is a personal preference. I don’t read a lot of Jodi Piccoult because of that. Joffrey is the exception to that rule. The same goes for animals. I have never overcome the childhood trauma of Jock of the Bushveld  by James Percy FitzPatrick and just the poster of Marley and Me is enough to reduce me tears. But besides kids and animals anyone is fair game.

How do I pick my next victim? I list of all my possible victims. Then I ask:

  1. Why am I killing this character? If my story works without him, should he be there in the first place?
  2. How long will it take my protagonist to recover from this death and how does it change them?Death is a great way to start a revenge story for example, but a parent losing a child might not be able to move forward for a long time. How does your character mourn? By seeking revenge or by curling up in a dark room?
  3. How does this death affect my plot? Are you creating too many problems by killing off a character?
  4. How do they die? Does it suit the story/genre? Joffrey’s violent public death suited Games of Thrones. Dying in his sleep of pneumonia would not have been such a good match.
  5. Should the death be a surprise? The Fault in Our Stars is a book about kids with cancer. Death isn’t exactly unexpected, but Gus was the healthiest of them all.

These are starter questions and your story will dictate what you ask, but don’t just go killing characters for the sake of it.

Below is a list of the meanings of the deaths in Harry Potter. I don’t know if it’s JK-approved and if she agrees, but it is interesting to see what the death of a character can mean.

Source for ImageWhich fictional character’s death affected you most?

 by Mia Botha

Mia Botha facilitates for Writers Write. She is also a novelist, a ghost writer, and the winner of the Mills&Boon Voice of Africa Competition. When she isn’t writing, she is the mother of two children and the wife of a very lucky man. Follow Mia on Pinterest and Facebook and Tumblr and Twitter


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The Four Reasons To Use Dramatic Irony In Your Story

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From the Good People at  Writers Write.

When we teach our Writers Write course, we find that people are often unsure about using dramatic irony

Dramatic Irony – What is it?

Dramatic irony is a story-telling device. It is when you give your reader plot information that the main character doesn’t have until later on in the story. Sometimes you want to keep all the characters in the dark about a major plot point that will only be revealed in the climax.

The Ironic Statement

When using dramatic irony, it should tie in with your theme. The characters must make a statement in the story, through dialogue or action, which throws the absurdity, danger, or emotion of the scene into relief. The dialogue will usually have a changed or opposite meaning. Similarly, the action will be misconstrued in some way, or cause a complication.

The Four Reasons

Here are the four reasons why you would use dramatic irony in a story, together with four examples, and their ironic statements.

1.   To create suspense. Phillipa is young detective is hunting down a serial killer targeting women. She works with her older partner, Rob. She sees him as a trusted mentor. As the story unfolds, we explore the killer’s viewpoint – and realise Rob is the killer. Eventually they arrest a schizophrenic vagrant and she thinks the case is closed. When she finds video surveillance that puts the vagrant in another location at the time of one of the killings, the first person she turns to is Rob and goes to his house, alone. Ironic Statement: ‘I came to you because you’re the only one who will know what to do,’ Phillipa says to Rob. Of course he will know what to do – kill her.

2.    To create romantic tension.  A jealous fiancée, Dani sees her boyfriend, Kyle, sitting cosily with a beautiful blonde in the very coffee shop where they met. Suspicious, she checks his iPad and finds online bookings for a romantic break for two. Meanwhile, when we are in Kyle’s viewpoint, we know the blonde is a wedding planner and he is putting together a romantic honeymoon. They eventually break up because of her misunderstanding. Ironic statement: ‘Don’t think I don’t know what you’re up to,’ an angry Dani says to a confused Kyle.

3.    To create empathy. Gretchen, a widow living in a retirement village, believes her dead husband is sending her messages from beyond the grave when she finds her favourite roses on his grave. However, we know that Klaus, another resident in the village, has been putting the flowers there—he heard her tell the nurse they were her favourite gift from her husband. He forms a friendship with Gretchen but she will only love her lost husband. Ironic statement: After she dies, Klaus brings white roses to her grave in the final scene.

4.    To create comedy. The only job Denise, a qualified but disgraced lawyer, can get is as a cleaner at a law firm. David, a new lawyer, is struggling to settle a case. At night, Denise arranges his books or files with Post-Its that point him in the right direction. As David starts to solve the case, he becomes more confident. Ironic statement: When he discovers her in his office, David thinks she is stealing and has Denise fired—just before she was about to give him the final piece of the puzzle.

Of course, irony is one of those prickly topics in literature and we’ll never get our arms fully around it. The idea is not to have an academic debate about what is and what isn’t irony—but to find plot techniques that will make your story stronger.

Four Top Tips to Get the Reader’s Buy-In

  1. Don’t give your character the whole story—keep pieces of puzzle hidden from them until the end of story
  2. Explore the antagonist’s viewpoint so that the reader has access to hidden information
  3. Build your plot twists or surprises around the ironic statements
  4. Find ways to put your theme inside the irony so that it becomes stronger

Find the perverse logic in your character’s dilemma, or create a plot idea that can be turned on its head and you’re halfway there. Give us something that will make the reader take on the emotions of the character – whether it is to cringe or cry, bite their nails or bellow at the page, ‘Don’t go into the basement!’

 by Anthony Ehlers

(If you enjoyed this post, you may enjoy The Backstory Battle and Anthony’s Viewpoint Mini-Series)
Anthony has facilitated courses for Writers Write since 2007. Published both locally and internationally, he was twice a runner-up in the Mills&Boon Voice of Africa short story competition. In 2013, his crime short story was included in Bloody Satisfied, an anthology sponsored by the National Arts Festival SA. As a scriptwriter, he has written three television features. In 2014, his short films were short-listed for the Jameson First Shot competition, as well as the European Independent Film Festival. Follow Anthony on Twitter and Facebook.
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