FNs do not know their characters well enough, and have neither filled out a character chart nor written a biography of the major characters in their novel. As Somerset Maugham said, “You can never know your characters well enough.”
FNs do not realize that dialogue in fiction is nothing like dialogue in real life. Dialogue must sound like the way people really talk, only better, more interesting: i.e., charged. As Tonisays, God made enough boring people. Don’t put them in your novel.
FNs write from real life experience, but forget to include many significant details because they already see the real events in their minds, and assume the reader will, too. FNs need to learn to embellish the truth when writing fiction. In other words: lie.
FNs tend to jump from head to head, rather than sticking to one point of view per scene, or better yet, per chapter. Limiting the differing points of view intensifies the experience for the reader.
“Kill your darlings,” as the saying goes. In other words, find the passages that slow your pace, and, no matter how much you like them or how well written you find them to be, delete them. Be brutal. Failure to do so brands you an FN.
These ten steps are just a start. In her lecture, Toni offers a many ways for writers to improve. She teaches R.U.E. (resist the urge to explain). This can take many forms, but the mostcommon is the adverb in the attribution: “I hate you!” she said angrily; “Take one more step and I’ll shoot,” he said menacingly; “I’m just so happy to see you,” she said cheerily. Toni cautions against beginning your novel with weather, and poetic descriptions of the sun or the moon.
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