Why Adverbs Are The Tequila Of Writing Dialogue


I have been writing about dialogue these past few weeks. Today, I want to talk about adverbs and why you should try to avoid them. 

Adverbs tell us how something was done. You should rather try to show us how it was done. When I talk about adverbs I want you to be pay close attention to the words that end in –ly, namely adverbs of manner. Instead of using these, I want you to try to use verbs, but not any old verb will do. I want you to use strong verbs, for example, stride instead of walk, sprint or race instead of run.

Knowing which verbs to use will be easier if you know your character well. Think of the difference between a woman who strides and a woman who shuffles. Each verb creates a different person or a different scene. 

You don’t have to obliterate adverbs, but often they are redundant or could be replaced by a strong verb. Adverbs are the tequila of writing. There is no such thing as one tequila and there is no such thing as one adverb. Once you have used one, more will sneak in. Be careful.

When all is said

That said I want to talk about the word said. Said is awesome. Use it. Don’t replace it with words like admonished or exclaimed. Stephen King recommends using them only 10% of the time. It’s good advice. Said is invisible to a reader.  

Below is an example of dialogue with adverbs and verbs other than said. I used the prompt: ‘Keep your morals away from me’.
“Don’t do it.” Alice demanded angrily.
“Keep your morals away from me.” Janet said snidely as she stood over John, tightly tied up in the corner.
“You’ve never minded my morals before.” Alice retorted sarcastically.
“Well, I mind them now.” Janet said irritably as she steadied the gun, the weight of it uncomfortably heavy in her inexperienced hand.
“How inconvenient for you that I am here then.  Please, just drop the gun, Janet,” Alice said as seriously as possible. “We both know you are not going to shoot him.”
“I am going to shoot him. I hate him.” Janet said bitterly. Her eyes narrowed dangerously.  
John whimpered through his gag and pleaded with his eyes.
“You don’t hate him, you love him. You always have.” Alice said, exasperated.  
“No, you are wrong. I used to love him.” She said as she squeezed the trigger.
Now the rewrite:

I have removed adverbs and added action to show, instead of tell.
“Don’t do it.” Alice grabbed Janet’s arm.
“Keep your morals away from me.” Janet pulled away and stood in front of him, trussed up and pathetic in the corner.  She steadied the gun, the weight of it uncomfortable and heavy in her inexperienced hand.
“You’ve never minded my morals before.” Alice said, folding her arms.
“Well, I mind them now.” Janet said, as she levelled the weapon.
“How inconvenient for you that I am here then. Just, drop the gun,” Alice stood in front of Janet and took a step closer so that the gun pressed against her breastbone. “We both know you are not going to shoot him.”
“I am going to shoot him. I hate him.”  They watched him squirm. He whimpered through his gag.
“You don’t hate him, you love him. You always have.”
Alice shoved Janet out the way. “No, you are wrong. I used to love him,” she said as she stepped over her sister. She smiled as she squeezed the trigger.
Using action makes the story immediate. It also stops you from creating unwieldly words that your reader will have to reread. Look at your last piece of dialogue and try using an action instead of an adverb. 

Happy writing.  

Writing prompts are an excellent way to exercise the writing muscle. If you want to receive a free daily prompt from us, send an email to news@writerswrite.co.za with the word DAILY PROMPT in the subject line. We will add you to our mailing list. 

 by Mia Botha

If you enjoyed this post, you will love:

  1. All You Need To Know About Punctuating And Formatting Dialogue
  2. 8 Important Things To Remember When You Rewrite Dialogue
  3. How To Write Fabulous Dialogue In 5 Easy Steps

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    Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate

    18 Things Writers Need To Know About Editing And Proofreading


    Although editing and proofreading are often mentioned together, they are two different things. Editing means improving writing to put the writer's message across in the best way. Proofreading means checking to ensure the writing is technically and aesthetically sound.

    What is editing?

    Oxford Dictionaries defines it as to ‘prepare (written material) for publication by correcting, condensing, or otherwise modifying it’'.

    Editors edit copy. They are responsible for the overall consistency in meaning and accuracy in a piece of writing. Once a writer is finished with a draft, it is sent through to an editor who will read it and make changes. 

    Editors:
    1. Correct spelling and grammar.
    2. Check the logical flow of ideas.
    3. Check consistency of language, tone, and style.
    4. Check facts and figures.
    5. Ensure that the writer is getting the intended message across.
    6. Ensure that the work is readable.
    7. Ensure there are no obvious errors.
    Editors send their corrections back to the writer who fixes problem areas. After the writer and editor are happy with the work, they will send it to a proofreader. (Fiction editing can be broken down into even more specialised areas as you can see in this post - Four Types of Book Editing.)

    What is proofreading?

    Oxford Dictionaries defines it as to ‘read (printer’s proofs or other written or printed material) and mark any errors.’

    Proofreading is the final stage of the writing process. It can only be done once the writer finishes all other revisions, rewrites, and edits. Imagine it as the final quality check before writing is published.

    Because first impressions count, checking for consistency in usage and layout is important. The words we use to promote or provide information should look professional and they should be error free. 

    Proofreaders:
    1. Correct inconsistent formatting in layout, which includes margins, page numbering, italics, alignment, headers and footers, quotes, paragraphing, spacing, tabs, and fonts.
    2. Correct usage of language, which includes spelling (British or American English), punctuation, grammar, hyphenation, capitalisation, abbreviations, and acronyms.
    Proofreaders read through the final copy of the text to highlight and correct errors. Once the errors are identified and marked with the appropriate symbols, the proof is corrected. Remember there is no rewriting done at this stage. Proofreaders polish the finished product.

    If you are looking for good editors and proofreaders, they should:
    1. Have a detailed knowledge of the language in which they work.
    2. Be computer literate.
    3. Be good at research.
    4. Read widely and have interests in a number of subjects.
    5. Have sound analytical skills. 
    6. Be able to identify facts that need to be checked.
    7. Pay attention to detail.
    8. Be able to understand writing in various fields, even if they know little about the subject matter.
    9. Be capable of critical thinking.

    If you are looking for an editor or a proofreader, you can find one at the Professional Editors’ Group. If you are looking for a publisher, visit The Publisher's Association of South Africa.

    If you want to improve your business writing, join us for The Plain Language Programme. If you want to learn how to write a book, join our Writers Write course in Johannesburg. 

     by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Pinterest,  Facebook,  Google+,  Tumblr  and Twitter. 

    If you enjoyed this post, read:

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    Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

    10 Excellent Reasons To Use Infographics On Your Blog


    Should you be using infographics?

    The internet is flooded with infographics. They are everywhere and they are cool. I have become an infographic hoarder. I can’t resist downloading them, and, judging by our page views and downloads, I am not alone. So the answer to that question should be yes. 

    If you're like me, and you're not a designer, you will be a little peeved that people aren’t as excited about your tables and pie charts as they are about infographics. 

    Let’s look at 10 reasons why infographics are so popular:  
    1. They work because humans are visually inclined.  
    2. They allow us to convey a lot of information on one image.
    3. They beat PowerPoint.
    4. They look good.
    5. They give us something to share on social media platforms that can be linked back to our website.
    6. They contain branding elements like logos and web addresses, which creates brand awareness.
    7. They can go viral.
    8. They can boost search rankings, because they are re-blogged and shared, if you use links.
    9. They force you to simplify your message, making it more accessible and understandable.
    10. They are easy to make and track. 
    You just had to reread the last point, right? Yes. They are easy to make. You don’t need to be a designer, but a good eye and good taste will help. There are several sites that allow you to make your own infographics. They are user-friendly and fun. 

    I use Piktochart, but you can try infogr.am or Venngage. There are many more options out there. 

    Before you sign up and spend hours staring at a blank screen, write a blog post with all the information you want to convey. Think of an infographic as a blog post made visual. (Information + Story + Design = Infographics.) 

    Of course there are some things to consider before you start:
    1. Check out this infographic for some tips: 10 Rules that Make an Infographic Cool, Effective and Viral
    2. And one more to help with design: What makes an infographic bad
    3. I have also included an awesome infographic layout cheat sheet from Piktochart:

    The infographic above is good example of bad proofreading. Make sure your infographic is typo-free and grammatically correct. Standard spelling and grammar rules apply. So please forgive the mistakes, but the layout ideas are good. 

    Have fun and make beautiful infographics.

    If you want to learn how to blog and write for social media, join our blogging and social media course in Johannesburg. Email  news@writerswrite.co.za  for more details.

    Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

    The Top 10 Writing Posts from January 2016

    These were the new Writers Write posts you enjoyed most in January 2016:

    1. The 17 Most Popular Genres In Fiction - And Why They Matter
    2. Write Your Novel In A Year - Week 1: Start Strong, Start Simple
    3. The Top 42 Writing Posts of 2015
    4. How To Write Fabulous Dialogue In 5 Easy Steps
    5. 8 Important Things To Remember When You Rewrite Dialogue
    6. Write Your Novel In A Year - Week 2: Finding Your Red, Yellow, And Blue
    7. 9 Habits You Need For Social Media Success
    8. All You Need To Know About Punctuating And Formatting Dialogue
    9. 8 Lessons Freelancing Taught Me About Money
    10. Write Your Novel In A Year - Week 3: Getting To Grips With Genre And Tone

    Previous Posts

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    Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

    Write Your Novel In A Year - Week 5: What Will Happen Next?


    Goal setting
    1. Expanding the beginning, middle, and end of your synopsis.
    2. Develop a theme for your novel.
    3. Experimenting with viewpoint or viewpoints for your novel. 
    Breaking it down

    Sharpening the set-up
    I love the weekend. You can spend it visiting friends, going to dinner parties or movies, browsing book shops, or maybe even getting a manicure or facial. Or you could spend it obsessively going over the notes of your novels, trying to fix plot problems, develop characters, or do research. Once the novel writing bug bites, it’s hard to maintain your social life — or keep your nails buffed and polished.

    With your working synopsis, you probably have a clearer idea of your story, from major plot points to character arcs. This month we’re going to flesh out at each section of the synopsis: beginning, middle, and end. For this week, we’ll be focusing on the beginning or set-up of your novel.

    Typically this would be the first three to five chapters of a novel, but there’s a simpler way to look at it. At what point has your main character made a decision — whether impulsive or deliberate — that is irrevocable?

    In my novel, the end of the beginning section is when my couple, Jenna and Matt, have had a threesome with Monty, a younger guy. After this point, their relationship won’t be the same as it was before. There’s no way of ‘undoing’ the night before. For me, this stands out as a natural ‘marker’ in the synopsis.

    Last year, I devoured one James Hadley Chase thriller after the other. This author, despite his stereotyped femme fatale characters and two-dimensional villains, was a master of the ‘page turner’. As a reader you keep thinking: What will happen next?

    This is a good question to keep in mind when you’re working on the three sections of your synopsis. What will happen next? What could go wrong? How can I make things worse for my main characters?
    Teasing out a theme
    In the beginning of your novel, you get play with theme — teasing out questions that will prickle the imagination of the reader. In the middle of your book, you need to feed the development of your theme into just about every scene. And, at the end, you must make a strong statement on your theme. You answer the question.

    In my story, the question I want to put to readers is clear. Does inviting a third person into your relationship change the chemistry of the relationship?

    In the middle, my characters must become more vulnerable. I want Jenna and Matt to grapple with trust, jealousy, and insecurity — instead of becoming closer as a couple, they must turn on each other. The middle must peel away their secret ‘masks’ to expose their real needs, fears, and motivations.

    In the end, I want to show that an ‘open’ relationship is based on fantasy and will just invite trouble in. Well, at least for Matt and Jenna.

    As you can see from the above, theme is as much about character as it is about plot.  Your characters have to be complex enough to sustain the theme in your story.  This week try and work on your character profiles a bit more to make sure they support your theme.
    Voices on the page
    One of my favourite writers is Marian Keyes. When I facilitate Writers Write, I often use this fine Irish novelist as an example of a writer at the top of her game when it comes to viewpoint. She is the ‘mistress of viewpoint’ in my opinion. In one of her novels, This Charming Man, she uses multiple viewpoint devices to give the reader insight into what it’s like to be in a relationship with an abusive man.

    Viewpoint is often the ‘secret weapon’ of a novelist: as a device it must help you to tell a better story. Sometimes you may want to use first person as a way to create an intimacy with the reader. In some cases, you may not want to give a character a viewpoint to ‘hide’ their true feelings or motivations.

    In my novel, I have a few options when it comes to viewpoint that I can explore. I could give Jenna, as the main character, a viewpoint as she is the character I most want readers to identify with and have empathy for. To create a little bit of distance and coolness in the story, I could use limited third person as a device.

    I could also give equal ‘airtime’ to both Jenna and Matt  — to build dramatic irony and show the fracture in their relationship. For Monty, as an outsider, I could show his isolation from the rest of the narrative by using stream-of-consciousness or ‘contained’ interior monologues.

    Why not play around with ideas for viewpoint for your novel? Which viewpoint would work best?
    Timelock — four to six hours
    • 2-3 hours for the beginning of your synopsis
    • 1-2 hour for theme
    • 1 hour for viewpoint 
    5 Quick Hacks
    1. If you’re struggling with theme, write down all the possible themes on a page – and cross out the ones that don’t resonate with you as a writer.
    2. Try to isolate your theme in one or two sentences. Write it out on a card and paste it up at your desk.
    3. What does the voice of one of your characters sound like? Write out a one-sided telephone call where he or she is telling a friend about a problem.
    4. Rewrite a passage from a favourite author’s story in a different viewpoint. How has it changed? Did it alter the mood of the passage?
    5. Cut your own nails, or buy face masks from your pharmacy — it’ll save you a lot of time.
    Pin it, quote it, believe it:

    ‘To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme.’ — Herman Melville

    Read last week's post here and watch out for the sixth instalment of Write Your Novel In A Year next week.

     by Anthony Ehlers

    If you want to learn how to write a book, join our Writers Write course in Johannesburg. 

    If you enjoyed this post, read:

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    Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate

    7 Choices That Affect A Writer's Style


    What Is Your Literary Style?

    Style, in its broadest sense, is a specific way in which we create, perform, or do something. Style in literature is the way an author uses words to tell a story. It is a writer’s way of showing his or her personality on paper. 
    Just as a person putting together items of clothing and jewellery, and applying make-up creates a personal style, the way a person puts together word choice, sentence structure, and figurative language describes his or her literary style. 

    When combined, the choices they make work together to establish mood, images, and meaning. This has an effect on their audience. 

    Seven choices that affect a writer's style
    1. Word choice
    2. Punctuation
    3. Sentence structure
    4. Sensory details 
    5. Figurative language such as metaphors and similes 
    6. Sound devices such as alliteration and onomatopoeia
    I believe every author has a unique style that can’t be taught. However, he or she can refine it by reading other authors, trying different literary techniques, and through plenty of writing practice and experience. 

    Your style could be described as pithy, articulate, inarticulate, conversational, literary, rambling or poetic. Follow this link for 60 Words That Describe Writing Styles.

    Style can mean different things

    Remember that an editor’s definition of style refers to the mechanics of writing, including grammar, punctuation, and formatting. This differs even more depending on whether the editor is in a creative or a business field. 

    Style Guides

    Companies and institutions use style guides for their employees and writers to follow. The rules change depending on the guide. 

    Online UK Style Guides:
    Online US Style Guides:
    If you want to learn how to write a book, join our Writers Write course in Johannesburg.

     by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on PinterestFacebook,  Google+,  Tumblr  and Twitter. 

    If you enjoyed this post, read:

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    Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate

    20 Annoying Business Phrases You Should Avoid

    Last week, I wrote about how business writers could improve their writing style. One of the points I made was to avoid using jargon and clichés.

    When we write this way, we stop thinking for ourselves. We show our insecurity with expressing ourselves, and instead of being authentic, we create a mess of words that make no sense.

    We know that we cannot completely avoid using these types of phrases, but like everything, it is better to use them in moderation. If we do not do this, we may find ourselves saying ridiculous things like 'ascertaining a colleague’s bandwidth', 'reaching out' to companies with 'low-hanging fruit' options, 'drilling down on scalable issues', and 'tabling touch points' until we have our 'ducks in a row'. 

    As Anthony Ehlers said in his post How Clichés And Jargon Ruin Your Writing, "Jargon, another word with French origin, derives from a phrase meaning the chattering of birds. Meaningless jargon... is the kind of stuff politicians use or what we see in brochures."

    If these phrases are the only way of describing what we want to say, we can use them. If not, we should consider our options.

    This infographic from National Pen shows how these phrases would appear if we took them literally. It also explains what they actually mean.

    If you want to improve your business writing, join us for The Plain Language Programme. If you want to learn how to write a book, join our Writers Write course in Johannesburg. 

     by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Pinterest,  Facebook,  Google+,  Tumblr  and Twitter. 

    If you enjoyed this post, read:

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    Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

    February Writing Prompts

    Remember that you can send an email to news@writerswrite.co.za with the words DAILY PROMPT in the subject line. We will add you to the mailing list and you will receive a daily prompt.   

    If you want to learn how to write a book, join our Writers Write course in Johannesburg. Please email news@writerswrite.co.za for more details.

     by Mia Botha

    If you enjoyed this post, you will love:

    1. 8 Important Things To Remember When You Rewrite Dialogue
    2. How To Write Fabulous Dialogue In 5 Easy Steps
    3. January Writing Prompts

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      Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate

      Writers Write - Our Book Reviews - January 2016

      We reviewed 40 books this month. We hope you find one or two that you will enjoy reading in this list. If you haven't read our reviews before, we have a rating system, which is explained below.

      Our reviewers rate books from 1–5
      1. For use as a doorstop only
      2. Keep for publishers’ and booksellers’ strikes
      3. A great holiday read
      4. You’ll remember this with enthusiasm a month later
      5. Unforgettable
      The books are listed alphabetically.
      1. 100 Things They Don’t Want You to Know by Daniel Smith (Quercus)
      2. Black Ops by Stephen Leather (Hodder & Stoughton)
      3. Blackout - The Eskom Crisis by James-Brent Styan (Jonathan Ball
      4. Brief Candle in the Dark by Richard Dawkins (Bantam Press)
      5. Detonator by Andy McNab (Penguin)
      6. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School by Jeff Kinney (Penguin)
      7. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff (William Heinemann)
      8. From Playground To Prostitute by Elanie Kruger with Jaco Hough-Coetzee (Delta)
      9. Golden Age by Jane Smiley (Pan Macmillan)
      10. Gruesome  by De Wet Potgieter (Zebra Press)
      11. Innovation: Shaping South Africa Through Science by Sarah Wild (Pan Macmillan) 
      12. Into The Fire by Manda Scott (Bantam Press) 
      13. Island of Dreams by Dan Boothby (Picador)
      14. Katy by Jacqueline Wilson (Puffin Books)
      15. Let’s Talk Frankly - Letters to influential South Africans by Onkgopotse JJ Tabane (Pan Macmillan) 
      16. Liar Liar - A DI Helen Grace Thriller by M.J. Arlidge (Penguin)
      17. Magicians Of The Gods by Graham Hancock (Coronet) 
      18. Magnus Chase And The Sword Of Summer by Rick Riordan (Puffin Books) 
      19. Me And Earl And The Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews (Allen & Unwin)
      20. Precious Gifts by Danielle Steel (Transworld)
      21. Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain (Pan Macmillan)
      22. Private Vegas by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro (Century)
      23. Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot (Macmillan)
      24. Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen (Penguin)
      25. Satin Island by Tom McCarthy (Jonathan Cape)
      26. Shopaholic To The Rescue by Sophie Kinsella (Bantam Press) 
      27. The Akimbo Adventures by Alexander McCall Smith (Edmont)
      28. The Book Of Human Emotions by Tiffany Watt Smith (Welcome collection)
      29. The Death Of Rex Nhongo by C.B George (Quercus)
      30. The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin (Mantle) 
      31. The Guilty by David Baldacci  (MacMillan) 
      32. The House On Cold Hill by Peter James (Macmillan)
      33. The Melody Lingers On by Mary Higgins Clark (Simon and Schuster)
      34. The Road to Rangoon by Lucy Cruickshanks (Heron)
      35. The Secret Society - Cecil John Rhodes’s Plan for a new World Order by Robin Brown (Penguin Books)
      36. The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett (DoubleDay) 
      37. The Way We Were by Sinead Moriarty (Penguin)
      38. Two Years Eight Months And Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie (Jonathan Cape
      39. Where’s Zuma? by Kobus Galloway (Zebra Press)
      40. Wine, Women and Good Hope - A History of Scandalous Behaviour at the Cape by June McKinnon (Zebra Press)

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      Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate

      Write Your Novel In A Year - Week 4: Getting to Grips With Research


      Goal setting

      1. Start the (fun) process of researching your novel.
      2. Keep a system to track your research.
      Breaking it down

      First-hand accounts are authentic
      Some genres demand a lot of research. Historical fiction, for one, requires a lot of study of past events. Police procedurals, political stories, and so forth always require you to know your facts.

      Other stories don’t require that much research. A modern romance, which focuses more on the relationship and sensual tension between the hero and heroine, probably won’t benefit from too much other detail — in fact, it may impair the narrative.

      At this stage of our journey, we’re not going to focus on doing all the research at once — rather than a specific and detailed investigation, we should be doing enough to get us comfortable with the story. No one likes to be writing in a vacuum, so some preliminary research is reassuring.

      Where is your novel set? My novel is set in Cape Town. Although I’m familiar with the setting — I can see it, feel it, and filter it through my imagination — I haven’t been to the city in almost a year. Fortunately, I have some good friends who live there and I’ve been picking their brains. Where are the coolest clubs? What’s the most desirable suburb to live in? Just jutting down notes as they chat leads me to more defined searches online or gives me an idea of what places to visit when I next go to Cape Town.

      Sometimes we don’t have access to familiar worlds. Five years ago, when I was writing a romance for a young adult audience, I had to approach some young women in their twenties to learn about their lifestyles, careers, finances, and fashion. I was amazed at how open, and eager, they were to share their thoughts with me over a coffee.

      People love talking about themselves — about their jobs, their hobbies, or their area of expertise. Perhaps you can ask at your local police station if you’re writing a cop story, or talk to a vet if your story features a rescue dog with a broken leg.

      Writers are often shy. The most daunting part is stepping up and asking for help — after that it’ll probably be a lot easier. Ask around: there’s always somebody who knows something about what you’re writing, or will point you in the right direction.
      Rendering fiction … not rehashing facts
      A lot of research can be done online and there are some great tips you can use to refine a Google search, simply by using different symbols and punctuation, and even ways to search faster when you’re on a website. So these may be worth investigating.

      There are excellent DVD documentaries you can stream or order online on just about any subject. YouTube may also be a great resource if you don’t like reading rivers of static text. Just a quick search on YouTube for ‘Cape Town night life’, for example, immediately produced some engaging videos I could use for background in my novel.

      You can also visit museums or university libraries, where you can ask professionals to help you. A friend who was writing a story about World War 2 found the official website for a museum of military history. Although it had some information, he emailed the curator of the site to ask specific questions — for the next few weeks, he was corresponding by email with some the best academic minds on his subject. In this way, specialist interest sites can be a great resource for an author.

      As writers, our aim should always be to use research to help us render the most authentic, striking details of time, place, people, or an event as fiction. It should never be to impress (or bore) the reader about how much we know about a particular subject. So even though we may uncover a lot of information during our research, it doesn’t mean we should use all of it in the story. (Just another reason to limit it at this early stage of the novel-writing process.) 
      Become a fabulist
      One of my favourite novels of the late 70s is Scruples by Judith Krantz. In this story, the heroine opens a fabulous fashion store in Beverly Hills. Her descriptions of this store were so lush, vivid, and enticing I couldn’t believe this place didn’t exist. Only years later, while reading a book on fashion, did I realise she must’ve been influenced by Barbara Hulanicki’s cult London fashion store, Biba.

      This taught me a powerful lesson about research. As a writer, we may draw from the real world and then mould it, reinvent it, or spin it out through our imagination until it fits the purpose of our story, our characters. We put our mark on it. This could even apply to historical stories or legends. What if James Dean hadn’t died in car crash? What would’ve become of this iconic star? What if JFK wasn’t assassinated — how would the destiny of a country be influenced? Sometimes research is the starting point to spark our own imagination.
      Timelock — 2 to 3 hours

      Spend perhaps one afternoon or evening on research — depending on your genre or type of story.

      5 Quick Hacks
      1. Create a list in a Word document or spreadsheet with headings for your research (Careers, Clothes, People, Places, and so forth). Copy the URLs of sites under each heading for easy reference later.
      2. Keep all your research books, DVDs, or magazines on one bookshelf so that you don’t have to waste time looking for them as you write.
      3. You may want to keep a concertina file or a separate folder for clippings or printed material for the same reason.
      4. Don’t forget to keep the names, dates, contact details, etc., of your sources of information — you’ll need it when you cross-check later on in the process.
      5. Collect maps, images, photographs, and other visual elements that will help you ‘see’ the research as you write your novel.
      Pin it, quote it, believe it:

      ‘Although the main part of the research is usually done before starting, a writer can never underestimate how many tiny details need to checked and re-checked during the writing of the manuscript.’  ~ Miriam Halahmy

      Read last week's post here and watch out for the fifth instalment of Write Your Novel In A Year next week.

       by Anthony Ehlers

      If you want to learn how to write a book, join our Writers Write course in Johannesburg. 

      If you enjoyed this post, read:

      ~~~

      Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate