Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Writing Tip Tuesday

How to Kill a Story in 16 Easy Steps

Step 1: Start the story too early.

Step 2: Take too long to set up the story and introduce the central question.

Step 3: Add too much back story.

Step 4: Have an unclear central question (i.e., the reader isn’t sure what the story is about).

Step 5: Tell the story with narrative instead of showing it with action and dialogue.

Step 6: Have no turning points (i.e., the story moves from one scene to another in a straight line).

Step 7: Continue on too long after the climax.

Step 8: Have an undeveloped character with unclear (or no) motivation.

Step 9: Tell character traits, tell character feelings, tell setting (instead of showing).

Step 10: Make sure the character is not active in moving the story forward, is not instrumental in solving the problem, and does not grow or change by the end.

Step 11: Switch points of view.

Step 12: Add too much interior monologue.

Step 13: Add unnecessary words, sentences, paragraphs, scenes, characters.

Step 14: Repeat yourself.

Step 15: Explain yourself.

Step 16: Use too many dialogue tags, tags that explain (e.g., he apologized), tags that don’t denote speech (e.g., she sighed; he smiled), or tags with –ly adverbs (e.g., she said reluctantly).

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