Monday, September 25, 2017

Do you Underwrite? #MyFriendAlexa Post 3



I am guilty of underwriting. Or should I say, I was?



I began writing fiction via short stories where the story happens within a short span of time. You cannot indulge in long descriptions of either the place, the person or the emotions in a short story.

When I started writing my novel, my technique of writing was the same. I used to treat each chapter like a short story with a clear beginning, a middle and an end. It is perfect as far as scene structure goes. But what about the details? 

As a result, my first drafts are often the thinner versions of my final book. I add in details later. Once I have laid down the rough draft of the story, the next phase is adding in scene details. With writing software like Scrivener, I can do this easily.

What are the details that should go into a memorable scene?

Details of the place: Use the senses to describe the smells, sounds and emotions the place evokes in the character. You can also talk about the geographic location of the place if the character is new to the place.

Emotions: The emotions of the characters add depth to the scenes and story. Describe the emotion using the last scene as a reference. What is the current emotion of your character? The previous scene in your story must have affected the character in some way. Describe it.

Reactions of the character: We react to every important moment in our lives. We react viscerally, emotionally, physically and intellectually to any occurrence, exactly in that order. So should our characters.

And yet each character will react to a particular action in their own unique way. A girl who is scared of cockroaches would scream and run the moment she sees one. She won’t pause to think logically as to whether the tiny cockroach can harm her.

Similarly, a man scared of heights would panic the moment he realizes he is at the edge of a cliff.
Find and write down appropriate reactions of your characters.

Dialogues: Dialogues are a very important element in your novel. Crisp, meaningful dialogues that take the story forward should be included in your scenes. Dialogues are considered as 'action' in any scene. Hence you are showing and not telling by using them.


What else should we consider?

Every scene in your book should do either of the two things or both:
  • Reveal character
  • Take the story further

If it doesn't do either of these, the scene doesn’t belong in your book. You can remove it.

The final goal of the main character should be there as an undercurrent in any major scene. It should be the driving power of the story.

Are you guilty of underwriting? If yes, what do you do?

This post is part of #MyFriendAlexa campaign by @Blogchatter

I want to take my Alexa Rank to the next level with My Friend Alexa.



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48 comments:

  1. I don't write fiction but this is very useful article . It's a to do list people who write for passion. It's good to know in advance about how to write abd what all things to cover
    Thanks for useful tips

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  2. I have never attempted to write fiction. But these pointers will help when I try. Thanks Preethi.

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  3. I never write fiction very tough for me

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  4. I am not a storyteller, but it's a really good article if I ever need help :)

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  5. Great tips Preethi.i am a fiction writer and I usually do 1000 word stories. Off late I have been loving flash fiction. Ion some corner of my heart I want to write a Joel but the fear of no formal training makes me wonder if I know enough about the wrt of writing a full fledged novel

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    1. I began as a short story writer. So can relate to your comment.

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  6. I never knew the term underwriting! You have laid down some great tips for fiction writers. I like writing short stories and your tips will help me improve.

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    1. I love reading your writing tips Preethi.Always helpful.Underwriting actuslly helps you make a framework it seems

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    2. Yeah it becomes your blueprint for the final draft.

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  7. Writing a novel .. WOW .. Wish I can go beyond 1000 words office report .. and surely the emotions in the story line counts more than the words counting .. so don't worry .. Chandresh

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  8. very good tips for budding authors Preethi

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  9. Those are such useful practical guidelines. However my problem is the opposite. I write too much and have to take off lines when I get down to editing. I loved that bit about 'if a scene doesn't add to character building or takes the story forward get rid of it' - that's my takeaway from your post.

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  10. the guidelines are really good, it will be useful to me for sure. I'm guilty of under writing.

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  11. This is very useful for both fiction and non-fiction writing. Thank you for sharing.

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  12. I write fiction many times and agree with your guidelines. A character and its depth needs to be created for the reader. Personal angle adds some genuineness to it. Thanks for sharing these useful pointers.

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  13. I tried to write fiction many times. And this is the only reason why I love reading your points every time. I am sure one day I will be able to write a good fiction.

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    1. I am sure you will write great fiction one day! It is always trial and error that works.

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  14. I am not much of a fiction writer and tried only twice. These tips are great. Thanks for sharing.

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  15. Interesting to read this and agree with it; I never thought of it otherwise and now you have made me think on it Preethi! Loved the examples to include the senses!

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  16. I tried my hands on Fiction only one time before. But your post and valuable hints for writing fiction has inspired me a lot. Happy to join with you for #MyFriendAlexa !!!1

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    1. Happy to hear that Vasantha! Hope you will pick up fiction writing once more.

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  17. I love fiction and try my hand at it all the time. Awesome tips for budding writers like myself

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  18. I have been guilty of not thinking this far ahead, I admit. That is probably why I ahve never progressed beyond the short story scene.


    Godyears.net

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  19. I have written one fiction post so far...this blog post inspires me to write more and is a good navigating tool on how to. Thank you

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  20. This will help me with the novel I started after six degrees but I am still not done with it. Lot of doubts. No chapters I am writing it in phases. Let's see how it goes.

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  21. I love reading books but have never tried writing fiction .. Thanks for these pointers Preethi. They are very useful

    Neha (Sharing our experiences)

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  22. I love fiction have tried too. But find it difficult to write more than 250 words. But these are so useful tricks and tips. Thanks for sharing.

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  23. Very interesting article, Preethi. You have nicely explained a road block writers face, in a rush to tell a story and not show it through elements of the craft. I used to under tell a story until the writing workshops happen. Writing is an art, the skills can be learnt. Some people may have a natural flair to writing and need no learning to fine tune their art but I feel, a writer needs to keep invested in learning the craft and fine nuances of writing to give her expressions the words they deserve. I am glad to have read your post today.

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  24. This is Manisha and you have shared some great tips for anyone who wants to write. I really like how you have explained each point. Will be revisiting this whenever I need help.

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  25. Useful tips! Like a checklist when writing fiction. Good Post Preethi :)

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  26. These are some amazing tips. Thank you !

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  27. So much I learn about writing fiction from this post. Adding minute details to story is very difficult I actually can't do this but after reading your experience I'm thinking to actually give it a try

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  28. This post is very helpful for those aspiring to write a novel some day. Preparing a rough draft without details firist and then revisiting the draft for adding details - sounds like a great idea

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  29. Although I am not a fiction writer, the tips are useful. Hopefully I will pen my novel one day and keep these in mind.

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