Tuesday, July 31, 2012

How Journalism Can Make You a Better Novelist – Cut the Crap

'A Lesson From the Newsroom’ Series: Part 3 (read the introduction here)

This week’s lesson from the newsroom comes straight from the law of journalism. Even Stephen King had to deal with this lesson:

Thou shall write lean. Let no words be wasted.

It’s the importance of saying what you must in as few words as possible.

The reason for doing this is because a newspaper is restricted to the amount of space they have with each issue. There has to be a proper ratio of stories (known as copy), pictures, graphics, and advertisements.

Because of this formula, sometimes an article will come out too long to fit in the space available. This has been painfully illustrated to me on more than one occasion, but the first time is embedded in my memory forever…

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

How Journalism Can Make You a Better Novelist – Driving for Answers

'A Lesson From the Newsroom’ Series: Part 2 (Read the introduction here and Part 1 here)
There really is power to the ones
who know how to properly wield
the mighty question.

I am a strong believer in the question mark. Period.

Growing up, I was always known for my curiosity. For a while, my grandfather had nicknamed me “Why” because of my tendency to question everything. 

It would seem that a job in the journalism field was perfect for me then. I am never satisfied with a simple answer. A good journalist doesn’t take something at face-value. They always dig deeper.

“I was fortunate that I was at a newspaper for eight years, where I wrote at least five or six stories every week. You get used to interviewing lots of different people about a lot of different things. And they aren’t things you know about until you do the story.” – Chuck Klosterman

While it’s an enthralling thing to be on a story like a hound dog on a scent trail, journalists are limited to writing the facts.

That’s my favorite thing about being a fiction novelist; having the ability to ask, “what if?”

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

How Journalism Can Make You a Better Novelist – The Art of Interviewing

‘A Lesson From the Newsroom’ Series: Part 1 (read the introduction here)

"I always begin with a character or characters, and then try to think up as much for them as possible.” – John Irving

There’s no doubt that one of the most important aspects of a good book is a good, solid character – or cast of characters. The believability of the main character is one of the first things I notice about a book when I read it for the first time. How an author presents a character through thoughts and dialogue are important.

As the staff journalist for a weekly newspaper, I’ve been privy to hear literally hundreds of stories from various people over the years. I get a first-hand peek at people’s lives and to see why they are the way they are. I’m paid to pay attention to how they string their words together to tell their stories.

Not only have these stories given me a steady supply of inspiration and ideas to implement in my fiction, but because the words used to tell those original stories are coming from real people, I’ve been able to pick up on speech patterns that are used in every day situations and in turn have been able to write real dialogue for my characters.

I’ve done this through a tool called interviewing.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

6 Lessons for Your Writing From the Newsroom

Stacks of newspaper - web image
Besides being a creative writer, I am also a weekly newspaper reporter.

In this post I want to discuss a few of the aspects from my day job that have taught me how to write better fiction and be a better blogger.

Since there's too much to fit in one post, I think I'm going to expand this into a series.

My very first series, how exciting!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Author Interview with Andrew Mellusco

Blackstone & Brenwen, The Mirror & The Meretrix

Today I am excited not only because this is my first author interview on my blog but also because I get to share about an awesome story; BLACKSTONE AND BRENWEN – THE MIRROR AND THE MERETRIX. Oh, and we’re also doing a giveaway!

Anyone who’s following me on any form of social network or even took the time to ask me what I’ve been reading lately will know that I LOVED this book.

While reading, I kept thinking, “I can’t believe this guy isn’t famous yet! Why isn’t this book a best seller and why aren’t hordes of fans arguing and discussing who should play each character in a movie adaption?!”

In my humble opinion, some big publishing house better pick this guy up before their competition does.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Novel Writing Challenge

Report: JuNoWriMo 2012

At the start of this year, I had set a goal to finish my current Work in Progress before November. I wanted this one done and out of the way so I could start fresh with a new WiP for NaNoWriMo.

Then, I heard about June Novel Writing Month.

It was literally the day before it was to start, and I quickly did the math – story problem style of course.

"If your goal is to finish a book in a year, how much more could you accomplish if you complete the first draft in June...?"