WRITING A GREAT DUEL SCENE by Rayne Hall


Note to blogger: Consider embedding the two youtube videos for which I’ve given links at the end.

 

Duels are often the most exciting and memorable scenes of a novel.  Here are some tips Continue reading

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WRITING CRAFT: WHAT LURKS BEHIND THAT DOOR? – CREATING SUSPENSE by Rayne Hall


Suspense is a feeling – the feeling of excitement, of tension, of fear, the feeling of needing to know what happens next. As writers, we aim to create suspense, because our readers love it. Continue reading

Outlining Fiction: Necessary or Too Much Work?


After much contemplation, I have decided to address a topic that garners a significant amount of negative response and argument, mostly due to a complete misunderstanding of the facts.  Yes, I am going to explain the importance of outlining a work of fiction before you start writing.  Don’t hate me yet, let me explain. Continue reading

DEMURE AND DANGEROUS – WRITING FEMALE SELF-DEFENCE SCENES by Rayne Hall


Writing Craft

 

DEMURE AND DANGEROUS – WRITING FEMALE SELF-DEFENCE SCENES

by Rayne Hall

Rayne Hall

Rayne Hall

 

Today’s readers expect the heroine to fight her own way out of trouble. Screaming, swooning, and waiting for the hero to come to the rescue, is no longer enough. Continue reading

A writer is, after all, a lurid voyeur


     There is a sleepy hamlet several miles across the valley from my mountain lair.  This morning as I sipped my coffee in the first few minutes of daylight, I thought what wondrous stories must lie in those simple cottages and tiny abodes.  A tourist to these mountains might stand in awe at the innocent beauty of that distant community with its churches, backyards, and quaint porches, but I am a writer, and I see those opaque real life images as fodder for my next story.

     Much of life is admittedly mundane with scarce moments of real drama, humor, terror, evil and pain, yet it is these ignoble human instincts that drive fiction.  Somewhere in that congregation of modest dwellings there is a child crying, hungry for breakfast not yet served by an inattentive parent, a spouse deep in the degradation and self-loathing of infidelity, a couple enrapt in the passion of their new marriage ignorant of what lies ahead in the near future, another couple in utter desperation for the lack of financial stability, one woman hagridden with illogical hatred, and a hapless man bedeviled with impossible lust.  But what makes me smile with anticipation is that within each of these malefic scenarios there are also those succulent yet purely human subtleties of maleficence, self-deceit, murderous urges, ironic twists, plots of sweet revenge, spiritual absolution, and apocalyptic revelation.  What moral should I weave into the decrepit life of my next prosaic protagonist?  For what good is a story that doesn’t teach something useful?  What would you learn?

    Across the valley, amid the worker ants scurrying off to their appointed labors, amid the queen ants tending to their nest, amid the nits learning their place within the colony, there lies a thousand stories waiting to be told.  A writer is, after all, a lurid voyeur, obsessed with studying you, your conversations, motives, emotions, interactions and idiosyncrasies.  I am watching you.

     You, my reader, my friend, my colleague, I count each of you as yet another distant villager, and you, or at least a part of you, are destined to be my next character.  Beware and cherish what you have, because I can assure you that the life you live is far less exciting and perilous than the life I have planned for you.

     Yes, there is a picturesque village across the valley from my home pitched high on this mountain, and I am watching…

WRITING CRAFT: DANGER IN THE DARK by Rayne Hall


Does your story have a scene of danger or horror? Is it scary enough? Do you want your readers to fear for your main character’s safety? Here’s a simple technique on how to make a scene seriously frightening:

Continue reading

Writing Craft: DELECTABLE DAGGERS – THE WRITER’S MOST USEFUL WEAPON by Rayne Hall


Note to blogger: Check that the URLs are still live. Pages and YouTube videos often get deleted or withdrawn. You may want to embed the videos.

 

For historical fiction, a dagger is the ideal weapon: plausible in many scenarios, and  loaded with emotional connotations. Yet, its under-used, because few writers grasp the Continue reading

Writing Craft CUT THE ‘SAID’, SHE SAID by Rayne Hall


Dialogue tags (he said, she asked, he replied) can help the reader understand who’s talking. But when it’s clear who’s talking, you can cut the tag.  This makes your writing tighter and the pacing faster.

 

If the speaker is doing something, the action is enough to attribute the dialogue. Simply put Continue reading

Writing Craft COULD YOU DO WITHOUT ‘COULD’? by Rayne Hall


In thirty years as an editor, I’ve found the same fatty words bloat the style of many authors.

 

Here is a notorious, fattening, calorie-rich word: ‘could’.  If you cut it from your diet, your writing style will be come sharper and tighter.

 

Beginner writers are prone to overusing it. Experienced authors may use it a lot in their

Continue reading

Writing Craft: TONE YOUR WRITING STYLE: CUT “BEGIN” AND “START” by Rayne Hall


Does your writing style have fat instead of muscle? By leaving out certain words, you can tighten and tone your manuscript.

 

In thirty years as an editor, I’ve found the same fatty words bloat the style of many authors.

 

Here are two notorious phrases: “begin to” and “start to.” They contain empty calories Continue reading

How To Write Like You Are In Love: Tips For Romance Writers By Dave Goodlove


Have you ever noticed how different you feel and act when you are in love?  The whole world opens up, flowers bloom like the first day of spring after a long winter, and you notice things that have always been there but suddenly appear like they are in technocolor after having watched black-and-white TV your whole life.  Such is the heart inflame with love.  When a romance writer’s characters are in love, the reader absolutely must feel it.  For the reader to live vicariously through our characters, there must be a sense that life for our character in love is completely different in every way.  In some ways, it’s like the difference Continue reading

WRITING CRAFT: HOW TO GIVE YOUR NOVEL A GREAT CLIMAX by Rayne Hall


Almost every novel has a climax near the end of the book. This is when all the plot strands come together and the heroine (or hero) faces her greatest challenge. The tension is so high that the reader perches on the edge of her seat, unable to tear herself away from the story’s action. Continue reading

WRITING CRAFT: CREATING CLIFFHANGERS by Rayne Hall


To keep the reader going, turning page after page even when she meant to do the dishes or go to sleep, place an exciting hook at the end of every scene.

Don’t end a scene with everything resolved, good and well. Instead, make the reader tense

Rayne Hall

Rayne Hall

about what happens next.

Scene-Ending Hooks

State the character’s goal at the beginning of the Continue reading

WRITING CRAFT: CRUEL CLAWS by Rayne Hall


To increase suspense in a scene where a dangerous person is about to do something nasty, slow down the pace and describe their hands.  This is perfect for when the evil overlord signs the order to exterminate the children, or when the torturer readies his instruments.

Are the hands bronzed or pale, wrinkled or smooth? Are the fingers long or stubby, bony or Continue reading

WRITING CRAFT: CHASES AND ESCAPES by Rayne Hall


Does your novel-in-progress contain a scene where the heroine escapes from danger, with the villain chasing after her? Excellent. Readers love the these scenes.

Here are some techniques to make your escape scene exciting.

1. Point of View

Stay in deep Point of View. If possible, write the scene from the fleeing person’s point of view. This means showing only what this person sees, hears and feels. If the PoV Continue reading

Writing Craft: Captivity Scenes by Rayne Hall


If you’re writing a novel, is there a scene where the heroine is imprisoned or locked up against her will?

Here are some techniques to make this scene powerful.

1. If possible, make the room dark or semi-dark. Perhaps she’s locked up in a lightless Continue reading

Romancing the Reader: Five Goals for Writing the Romance Story by Dave Goodlove


It was the first day of ballroom class.  Sweat formed on my brow as I glanced around the studio with mirrored walls and wooden floor at the other dancers who were warming up for the class, swinging their partners around with perfect posture and poise.  No one could believe that I wasn’t there to prepare for a wedding or a formal dance, and that I had actually come with my girlfriend of my own volition just because I’d wanted to.

I was in my mid-twenties, and I had recently fallen in love with Fred Astaire movies.  The way Fred would dance so gracefully and swing Ginger around the dance floor was nothing Continue reading

Writing craft: Body Language in Dialogue Scenes by Rayne Hall


Body language can add another dimension to your dialogue scene, because it reveals a person’s intentions, feelings or mood.

The five main types of body language are gesture, posture, movement, facial expression and tone of voice.

Gesture Examples

She pointed to the orchard. “I saw him there.”

He slammed his fist on the table. “I’ve had enough.” Continue reading

Finding the Best Word for the Job by Rayne Hall (writing tips)


Specific words make a story vivid because they paint a clear picture for the reader.

“A woman with a dog” creates only a vague picture. By replacing “woman” and “dog” with specific  words you can bring your story alive: Continue reading

Writing Battle Scenes by Rayne Hall


Here are some techniques for creating powerful, exciting, realistic battle scenes.

The biggest challenge in writing a battle scene is the point of view. To make the experience exciting and moving, it’s best to stick to the perspective of a single fighter Continue reading

KEEP THE BEST FOR LAST: Backloading Technique by Rayne Hall


BACKLOADING TECHNIQUE

Here is a nifty technique to give your writing style more impact: Structure your sentences so the most powerful word comes at the end. The last word touches the reader’s psyche more than any other, so make it count.

Short, evocative nouns, adjectives and verbs are best. Here’s a list for your inspiration: RayneHall - Fantasy Horror Author - Portrait by Fawnheartdeath, dead, kiss, lust, treachery, blood, fear, die, kill, deep, cold, heat, dark, boil, pull, grave, grip, grasp, hope, sear, scream, thrill, scar, bone, flesh, skull, wound, pray, pain, soul, child, flee, trap, teeth, curse, escape, safe, love.

These words, on the other hand, have no particular effect: it, then, them, across, through, there, somehow, around,  under, of, off, for, that, be, others, his, her.

Often, restructuring the sentence is all it takes, or perhaps adding, deleting or replacing Continue reading

WRITING CRAFT: ALONE INTO DANGER by Rayne Hall


WRITING CRAFT: ALONE INTO DANGER

Have you written a horror story, or are you working on a frightening scene? Here’s a professional technique for making it even scarier.

Solitary adventures are more dangerous than group adventures. In nature, an animal RayneHall - Fantasy Horror Author - Portrait by Fawnheartwhich becomes separated from the herd is vulnerable to predators. To make your scene scary, let your heroine face the danger alone.  Continue reading

The Use of Alliteration by Rayne Hall


Alliteration 

Several words close together starting with the same sound, can either empower your writing or spoil it, so use this technique with thought.

Here are some examples of skilfully applied alliterations from famous books:

 

–the foam-flakes flew over her bulwarks…. (Moby-Dick by Herman Melville)RayneHall - Fantasy Horror Author - Portrait by Fawnheart

–the baked red ruts of the road…. (The Beaver Road by Dave Duncan)

–A sliver of soft sunlight pierced a crack in the silk drapes (Panic by Jeff Abbot) Continue reading

Writing Craft: Creating Cliffhangers


WRITING CRAFT: CREATING CLIFFHANGERS by Rayne Hall

To keep the reader going, turning page after page even when she meant to do the dishes or go to sleep, place an exciting hook at the end of every scene.

Don’t end a scene with everything resolved, good and well. Instead, make the reader tense Continue reading

Word count or Words That Count — the use and abuse of descriptors and modifiers — by David Kent


Adrianna and I have the privilege, and sometimes the tedious task, of reading many stories and pieces by a huge variety of writers.  Between students, writers that I mentor, the Writer’s Gallery, and my editing work (Adrianna has about the same sources), I see some really excellent writing, and some that leaves me cowering in the corner with bloodied eyes. Continue reading

10 Tricks For Writing Great Fight Scenes by Rayne Hall


10 TRICKS FOR WRITING GREAT FIGHT SCENES 

by Rayne Hall

RayneHall - Fantasy Horror Author - Portrait by Fawnheart

1. Choose an unusual location – the quirkiest place that’s plausible in your plot: a cow shed, a castle ruin, a catacomb. Involve the setting in the action: the fighters may slip on the muddy slope, leap across the fence, slam their opponent against the wall. Continue reading

Word Choice is the Incantation Behind the Magic by David Kent


What’s the difference between ordinary writing and extraordinary works?

Word choice.

That is not some editorial decree to run out and buy a new thesaurus (although if you don’t own J. I. Rodale’s Synonym Finder, you should go get it), there is a lot more to word choice than a simple book learned substitution of terms. Continue reading

Subtext: Writing a Story Within a Story by: Dyane Forde


Subtext: Writing a Story Within a Story

DyaneWriters write for different reasons, but usually it’s because, well, we have something to say. Sometimes, just what that might be isn’t known at the moment we sit down at the computer. Then there are times we know exactly what the message is and we set to writing it with purpose and effort. Then how come, even then, we end up with luke-warm responses or with something that isn’t as memorable as we’d thought? Continue reading

The Dangers of Writing In Passive When an Active Voice Is Demanded.


This post is aimed towards genres such as  horror, thriller, suspense and action ( pretty much any genre where the need to grip the audience’s attention is necessary!)

Keep in mind, while reading this post, I am not expert writer. However, I have had more than my share of rough critiques, and I’m grateful for them. Without them I would not have been sought after by publicists for Nadia, and commended on my vigorous technique. My hope in writing this post is to help some of you learn a bit of what I’ve learned. 

Write in an active voice!! Do not attempt to write these genre’s in a passive voice. It will not sit well with your audience. We choose to read these genres with an expectation that we will be blown away, not put to sleep. Continue reading