Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What to Read

There are a few books I turn to when I have questions about writing.

"Elements of Style" by William Struck is the main book I turn to when questions arise. I don't know why I don't have the thing memorized, yet? The book is small and ease to carry around. It doesn't occupy a lot of space on the bookshelf, or desk, depending on where it is best accessed.

"Portable MFA in Creative Writing" by New York Writers Workshop is another good book to keep around as a reference. The book offers quality tips on creative writing, and is cheaper than getting your MFA. I am not here to bash MFA programs, but this book might just be what you are looking for when it comes to improving your writing.

"Lies That Tell the Truth" by John Dufresne is a good read for those looking to write fiction. The book offers good amount of pointers, and Dufresne's writing style is easy to read.

These are the three main writing books I turn to, and I there are some other writing books that I own, but they mostly gather dust on my bookshelf.

I think reading essays, poetry, and short stories are important to any writer, because Ray Bradbury recommended it.

Reading will make you a better writer, but only if you understand what and why you are reading.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Protagonist Need Growth

Does Your Protagonist Grow?

Your protagonist is the main character of your story, and in most cases, the reader is usually rooting for him or her to win in the end.

A writer you have to think of your reader who does not want to sit and read a novel or short story where the plot just moves along in a nice steady pace and the protagonist does not learn something in the end. The reader wants change, not to steal from the rhetoric of our politicians, but they want the protagonist to learn something about themselves that they did not know when the story started.

Grab your favorite short story or novel and look closely at the protagonist. Does the protagonist change because of the story or does he change because of psychological reasons?

I know, homework, but the best way to learn to write is by learning from the masters. They do not keep secrets, but expose their techniques on the pages of their story. You will discover something by closely examining their works.

Do not be shy about typing out passages that illustrate how a protagonist grows. This exercise gives the feeling of actually writing the piece for yourself, and teaches you what to include and not include when you write about your protagonist growth.