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Fiction Writer's sound advice


This guy is write on

  146 total reviews 
Comment by
Raffaelina Lowcock
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Of course it should be six stars, but I'm all out. This is excellent advice and I'll be book casing it so I can refer to it often, Bob. (Does anyone call you Robert; I somehow feel it fits you well). I have read a few of Elmore's books so I agree with your description, wholeheartedly.


 Comment Written 03-Jan-2020



reply by the author on 06-Jan-2020
    Hi Ralf. glad you copied this. You cannot go wrong using these tips as much as is possible. :) Bob
Comment by
Sandra Elizabeth Williams
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Thank you for sharing this, Mastery. I will certainly apply these rules when I'm writing fiction.

I am not sure I understand this point though and welcome an explanation for my edification,

"Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue."

Thanks so much.



 Comment Written 18-May-2019



reply by the author on 18-May-2019
    Hi, Sandra. If you will check in Strunk and White's "Elements of Style" which is considered the best little "bible" on punctuation it will be clarified. But what Elmore leonard is saying is accurate in my way of thinking. I have had three novels published and usually only used "he said" she said" or He asked" She asked" in all of the books.

    They may sound trite after a while, but that is just deception. "said" always works. Writers who have a tendency to use adverbial things, like he said gravely" or she said pointedly" will find they are much better off instead of using those "crutches" in their speech tags. "He replied" same thing. or "she answered" all not needed. stick with "hw said" she said" :) Bob

reply by Sandra Elizabeth Williams on 18-May-2019
    OK, thank you, Mastery. You have clarified for me. Much appreciated.

reply by the author on 18-May-2019
    Hope so. :) (It does work) Bob
Comment by
light
 
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Bob, thanks for this important lesson in fiction writing. Even though many these rules are familiar, this is a good reminder. I am contemplating writing about a case my brother,a private investigator,worked on. It is the murder of fourteen year-old girl! Still unsolved thirty years later. My problem, I don't have Hawkins vocabulary. The story has to do with drug dealers and a corrupted sheriff dept. Maybe I should let you write it. You have such a knack for this kind of writing.
Elaine


 Comment Written 16-May-2019



reply by the author on 16-May-2019
    Thank you, Elaine. It actually is something i may consider. See your PMs would you? :) Bob
Comment by
Gail Denham
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Excellent advice on writing. Thank you for sharing this. Many things even writers who've practiced their craft for years - need to hear. I appreciate the brevity of the advice.


 Comment Written 15-May-2019



reply by the author on 15-May-2019
    Hi, Gaail. A belated welcome to you aboard Fanstory. I know you will like it. I am considered an old timer-- been here almost 15 years. If I can help you in any way, be sure to let me know. :) Bob

reply by Gail Denham on 15-May-2019
    Thanks for the offer of help - I may take you up on that one day - I've been writing and being published for years - but always there's something new to learn.
Comment by
BeasPeas
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A good post, Bob. I understood all of the points except this one:
"Never open a book with weather."
What does this mean?
Just thought I'd ask. Best to do that if we don't know.
Marilyn


 Comment Written 14-May-2019



reply by the author on 15-May-2019
    Yes, Marilyn. He is saying don't start things off like this example: The sun was shining brilliantly and the the threat of rain was in the air." There was a few puffy clouds in the sky" This is TOTALLY boring and a good chapter of any book or story needs to begin with a great "hook"

    Like perhaps. "Conrad laced his boots never realizing that this would be the last day of his life."

    See the difference? Weather has to be laced in the story, not handed to us right off the bat. (This rule has always worked for me in my books. :) Bob
Comment by
Pam (respa)
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-Thanks for sharing this, Bob.
-It is very interesting.
-You are a very avid reader, for one.
-I like his example of modifying
the verb said, and leaving
out the part that readers
tend to skip.
-For me, it depends on
the type of book and description-
it's not necessary to know
the details of a medical
procedure, for example!
-Reading out loud is always a good idea.
-Thanks for sharing.


 Comment Written 14-May-2019



reply by the author on 14-May-2019
    You are welcome, Pam. BTW Please do not believe everything you hear in the forum. There are two sides to every story. Thank you. Bob

reply by Pam (respa) on 14-May-2019
    No, I don't follow the Forum too much, and there are two sides to every story. You are quite welcome.

reply by the author on 14-May-2019
    I am never ever in Forum in the 15 years I have been a member, but people choose that forum to say bad things about others. Those same people come crying when they need help and shelter from bad reviews. Bless you, Pam. Bob

reply by the author on 14-May-2019
    I am never ever in Forum in the 15 years I have been a member, but people choose that forum to say bad things about others. Those same people come crying when they need help and shelter from bad reviews. Bless you, Pam. Bob

reply by Pam (respa) on 14-May-2019
    Thanks for sharing, Bob. I am enjoying some of your posts that are new to me.

reply by the author on 14-May-2019
    Good. I am glad. Thank you, Pam Bob

reply by Pam (respa) on 14-May-2019
    You are welcome!

reply by the author on 14-May-2019
    :) Bob
Comment by
Pearl Edwards
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Thanks for sharing this posting Bob, and I'm glad I went back in time and found it. I too always am amazed how much you pick up when reading out loud but some of the other points are things to remember. Have copied it to my writing folder.
thanks again.
cheers
valda


 Comment Written 02-May-2018



reply by the author on 03-May-2018
    Hi, Valda. May I suggest you keep it out in plain sight? I have minetapedto the wall behind my pc. LOL...Bless you, my friend. Bob
Comment by
Sis Cat
 
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Excellent advice, Bob, by two talented writers--Leonard and you. You are write, even though we intuitively kne these points, "I love hearing them from an author of his stature." I also love and abide by your Eleventh Writing Commandment at the end: read the piece OUT LOUD.

These are all solid, succinct advice. Thank you for sharing.


 Comment Written 26-Apr-2018



reply by the author on 26-Apr-2018
    Hey, Aandre! So good to hear from you agai. I was away for about six months due to health issues, but so glad to be back in the saddleas it were.

    Thank you so much for the six stars, my friend. How have you been of late. Please fill me in. Bless you, Bob

reply by Sis Cat on 26-Apr-2018
    Health wise, I'm good. Needed to take a break to read more outside of FS: writers Proust, Faulkner, and Hollinghurst, and poets Frant Bidart, Terrance Hayes, and Ezra Pound. I'm on vacation in Mexico now where I will read a few more books. After publishing five poems so far this year, I want to read the types of poetry and writing that are published and make an impact. In terms of poetry, I see little of that here and I feel alienated because my writing is so different from what I find on FS but not in publications. The very moment my next batch of writings go through FS feedback process, I turn around and submit them to publications and contests. My last poem "Pika" was accepted for publication within two weeks after I wrote it.

reply by the author on 26-Apr-2018
    That's great, Andre. I don't know if you rememer the novel I posted here on FS about a year ago? It was called "Falling Up he Stairs."

    Anyway, good news is, a publisher picked it up and they tell me it will be released on September 20th of this year. Yahoo! I am happy of course. Happy for you, too. Bless you, my friend. Bob

reply by Sis Cat on 26-Apr-2018
    Bob, great news. I'm happy for you.
Comment by
prettybluebirds
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Hi, my old friend and neighbor. Haven't heard from you in quite a spell. I will take this bit of information and use it in the future. I haven't been writing much as I have a sick husband to care for and have some health issues of my own. I miss reading your great stories.


 Comment Written 24-Apr-2018



reply by the author on 24-Apr-2018
    Hi, April. I missed you! Thank you so much for the six stars. I trust this best-selling author and have these tips posted on the wall by my computer so I will never forge. I spent four months in the hospital in the past year. hat ism the bad news. But the good news is I have recovered and am back at my wriing once again. I would love you to read my laest post "The Interview " when you get time and tell me what you think.

    How was your winter in Hesperia...I mean aside from the length of it surging into mid-April. Bless you, April.. Enjoy the Spring! Bob
Comment by
Marge Setzer
 
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I am not familiar with Elmore Leonard's work but I enjoy crime fiction so I will explore his work. I agree with his tips and appreciate that you shared them, but I also think that the list is heavy on dont's and I would appreciate some positive tips. Since I have taken writing seriously I have learned a lot, but I think the most significant learnings for me have been: 1 - show, don't tell (I know that's a common criticism, but I honestly didn't understand the difference); and 2 - use dialogue. These two tips have made a great difference in my writing. One more tip would be that a community of writers is essential to helping point out what's missing or what needs more explanation. Feedback is validation. Also, you're right on target when you say reading aloud is a good editing devise. Marge


 Comment Written 22-Apr-2018



reply by the author on 22-Apr-2018
    Hi, Marge.. Here is the difference in show don't tell. Example. Harry rode into town is telling. Harry got into his 1965 Mustang and pulled out onto the highway. It was far better to ride in a car then walk." (Or something ssimilar.

    Or Harry had a miserable day at the office. (telling) But Harry's day seemed to be out of kilter in every way, not the least of which was tripping over his own feet in the company cafeteria.

    If you like crime stories, please be aware that I have had two detective novels published in the past three years. Another is being released on September 20, of this year.

    Elmore Leonard (google him) is perhaps the cream of detective writers and thrillers. He died a couple of years ago, but has a ton of books out there. "Get Shorty" is one of his best and was even made into a movie starring John Trav olta.

    Bless you, Marge. Now let's see some wof your writing, please. LOL Bob
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