When readers stumble upon an author they’ve never read, they often read a few pages of the story to determine if they enjoy the writing style. This can easily be done by checking out the available sample of a book in “Look Inside” at Amazon.
If you’ve never used “Look Inside”, go to Shadows in the Stone by Diane McGyver and click on the image of the book cover. A new window will pop-up. Scrolling downward reveals the front material of the novel as well the first four chapters.
McGyver enjoys opening up a scene as if she’s zooming in or out with a movie camera. In fact, one Amazon reviewer had this to say: “It’s like an award-winning movie director telling the person behind the camera to lower or raise the picture in the viewfinder for a new angle.”
Below is one example of how McGyver opens a scene in Shadows in the Stone.
The evening air cooled, and the sun sank behind the trees. A few clouds drifted through the sky but nothing of any size to prevent the crescent moon from casting a gentle glow upon the landscape. The earth settled into a tranquil nap to rejuvenate from the day and to allow nocturnal creatures to tend to their livelihood under the cloak of darkness. The forest breathed a relaxed sigh. All was as it should be.
Anxious energy shot through the air, awakening slumbering fairies and disturbing the quietude of the woods. As strangers approached, nerves stood on end, and creatures hid or prepared to defend their domain. Waiting in the darkness, they held their breath as danger arrived. The laboured breathing of horses echoed from the shadows. Sprays of white, foamy spit flew from their mouths as they released the oxygen-stripped air. The squeaking of leather against leather beat the same rhythm as the hooves stomping the ground. Their riders kicked them, spurring them forward into the night.
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Shadows in the Stone, the first book in the Castle Keepers series, is available to Kindle Unlimited Members and the world at Amazon.
Download your copy today to start the adventure.
When creating fiction, writers inevitable learn to write dialogue. Supposedly a novel somewhere exists that doesn’t have dialogue, but has anyone seen it? The key to good dialogue is attributing the spoken words to the proper character, so readers instantly know who is saying them.
We do this by using dialogue tags: “The last time I heard this song by Charlie Rich,” Liam said, “you were young, adventurous and in love with me.”
The words Liam said is a direct dialogue tag. It tells the reader without fuss or doubt that Liam said those words inside those quotation marks.
Another method of informing readers of who said what is through an action by the character. This is technically not called a dialogue tag, but it does the same job.
Author Elizabeth Gilbert has excellent advice for writers who are looking for success and those who have already found it. Her book, Eat, Pray, Love, was a great success, and that left many asking her what was next? Could she write a more successful book, or was this the pinnacle of her career?
As she explains in her Ted Talk, Your elusive creative genius, she had a choice to make. She could say she’d reached the top as an author and enter another profession, or she could experience writing differently.
She chose to re-evaluate her writing career and along the way, she learned the history of the writing genius in the wall.
The first draft of any novel is like climbing a mountain that has its peak concealed in thick clouds. Many people start writing it but few finish. There’s many reasons for the lack of success. If you’ve completed your first draft, congratulations. Take a moment and bathe in the beauty of reaching the top of the mountain, breaking through the cloud cover and feeling the sun on your skin.
While writers may not understand why they failed to finish the first draft, one reason might be the use of the wrong technique. There are as many ways to write a book as there are writers. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. You have to find your way to write the novel. It won’t be the way your English teacher told you how to do it. It won’t be the way the famous writer you met at his book signing did it. The author giving the workshop in the community hall has a different way than you to write a novel.