The next regular Granbury Writers’ Bloc meeting will take place on Monday March 26th at:
- The Point at Waterview – 2nd Floor
- 5:00 p.m. Critique
- 7:00 p.m. Business Meeting
- 7:30 p.m. presentation from MaryLou Condike
Skill Building Using Short Stories
A writer’s tool for excellence
101 Watermark Blvd., South Side of Pearl Street, Near the Hilton Garden Inn
A “critique only” session will take place on Monday March 12.
Condensed intro from a free booklet, Emotional Amplifiers, by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi, 2012
A writer’s job is to create a meaningful emotional experience for readers. One way to do this is through their thoughts, body language, and visceral reactions. When readers are pulled in by emotional intensity, they can’t help but fall in love with, or hate our characters and their stories.
Emotion can be manipulated by internal and external stimuli—circumstances that amplify what a character is feeling. Hunger or extreme heat can increase strain and deplete the body to the point where goals seem insurmountable. Stress can unbalance the most stable of characters, opening them up to raw emotion, rash decisions and ultimately, mistakes that send them on a crash course with disaster.
Amplifiers also can evoke memories for readers because of their commonality. At some point, every reader has felt a burst of energy that propels them to tackle a task, or has experienced pain that sends a jarring throb through flesh and bone. Universal experiences like these help forge an empathetic link between reader and character.
Written thoughtfully, the difficulties that arise from an amplifier will trigger a stronger emotional reader response that feels both authentic and credible. Compromising your character’s physical and mental state also creates tension, planting doubt in the reader’s mind about the hero’s ability to succeed.
Just as characters show emotion uniquely, they should also respond in their own way to the different amplifiers. Discomfort and inconvenience can create a more poignant opportunity to show your character’s true feelings.
(Amplifiers Described: Addiction, Attraction, Boredom, Cold, Dehydration, Distraction, Exhaustion, Heat, Hunger, Illness, Inebriation, Lethargy, Pain, Relaxation, Stress)
Go to their website shown below and download a free copy.
A flashback can bring to life to a key event in your character’s past. But, constructed poorly or plopped in the wrong place, a flashback can irk a reader more than impress him.
Your Flashback Might Be Flashy If…
- Your flashback occurs at the right time. To pack a punch, flashbacks must be timed at precisely the right moment. Don’t give readers info in the flashback until you’ve made them curious.
- Your flashback is necessary. The bulk of Margaret Atwood’s The Robber Bride is comprised of three giant flashbacks from the respective POVs of the three protagonists. In this book, the flashbacks are necessary. Without them there would be no story.
- It’s length is appropriate. The length of a good flashback will depend greatly on the demands of the story. Some will be hundreds of pages, and some will be only a few sentences.
- It’s clearly a flashback. Use past participle verbs and other signals such as “and then she remembered…” or “back two years ago when…” so readers understand the flashback is a past event in your character’s life.
Your flashback might be flabby if…
- Your flashback would be more powerful told in “real time.” In an attempt to begin their stories in medias res, new authors will sometimes open their stories with a flashback that dumps backstory or sums up the story’s most interesting information. If your flashback begins just before your story and is the first domino in your row of falling dominos make it your first scene.
- Your flashback is too long. Although some books use large flashbacks, the vast majority of flashbacks should be no longer than a paragraph or two. Don’t jar readers out of the present narrative by dropping them into a new and disconnected scene.
- Your flashback is unnecessary. Authors tend to find their characters’ backstories more interesting than their readers do. If your character’s event doesn’t critically influence the plot, don’t flash back to it.
- Your flashback is unclear. If your flashbacks are so subtle readers don’t know you’re flashing back, they’re not going help your story. Signal the reader when your story is entering a flashback. Use past participle verbs (“she had washed the dishes that fateful day”) and don’t feel bad telling readers that your character is remembering.
Flashbacks are fun and can bring a new depth to your story’s palette. If you use them correctly, your readers will love these delightful little peeks into your characters’ pasts.
(Summarized from a Writer’s Digest Blog)
The next Granbury Writers’ Bloc meeting will take place at:
- The Point at Waterview – 2nd Floor
- 5:00 p.m. Monday February 26th
- Double Critique
- 101 Watermark Blvd.
- South Side of Pearl Street
- Near the Hilton Garden Inn
You can find our meeting place here:
February 3, 2018 – Kendel Lynn Will Speak at the Dallas Mystery Writers
Kendel Lynn is a Southern California native who now parks her flip-flops in Dallas, Texas. She read her first Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators at the age of seven and has loved mysteries ever since. Her debut novel, Board Stiff, was an Agatha Award nominee for Best First Novel. It features Elliott Lisbon, a mostly amateur sleuth who has a slight aversion to all things germy and is only five thousand hours away from getting her PI license. Kendel is the Vice President of Sisters in Crime, the Immediate Past President of SinC North Dallas, the Vice Chair of Bouchercon Dallas, and the Managing Editor of Henery Press, where she spends her days editing, designing, and figuring out ways to avoid the gym but still eat cupcakes for dinner. Catch up with her at kendellynn.com.
Eliminate Distancing Verbs aka Filter Words
Distancing verbs are words that filter the reader’s experience by placing them one step away from the narrative. How do they do this?
-They hedge. These words can appear hesitant or unconfident. Just say it, don’t hedge.
-They remind the reader that he/she is reading. You want to draw the reader in so he/she is absorbed into the character’s thoughts and actions.
-They are weak verbs. You can use strong verbs without turning to purple prose.
Examples of distancing verbs and words:
Noticed Was/were able to
Problem: The water seemed to be cloudier than ever.
Fix: The water was cloudier than ever.
Problem: He thought he’d never seen a cuter dog.
Fix: He’d never seen a cuter dog.
Problem: She felt sad when she lost the race.
Fix: Tears ran down her face when she crossed the finish line in second place.
Problem: They saw two buzzards eating a dead skunk.
Fix: Two buzzards pecked at a dead skunk.
ANNOUNCEMENT! Granbury Writers’ Bloc is proud to announce that we are now members of W.O.R.D. – Writers Organizations ‘Round Dallas (https://www.wordwriters.org )
WORD is a network of 30 writing organizations in North Texas consisting of over 1,000 people interested in and involved in all aspects of writing, from critiquing to editing to screenwriting to education and even more exciting stuff like contests and conferences.
GWB’s membership in WORD will afford our members access to a large pool of like-minded individuals with which we can network, and from which we can continue our growth and learning of all things writing.
We look forward to seeing GWB’s ‘teardrop’ on their map along with all our fellow organizations.
Critique at 5:30 PM and program presentation at 7:00 PM
Where: America’s SBDC (Small Business Development Center) at the Langdon Campus, 105 N. Stockton St., Granbury.
Program Title: A Self-Publishing Demo – Make and Take
- Grow Your Social Media – a necessity in today’s world
- Setting up your CreateSpace.com account
- Downloading a CreateSpace template and uploading a pdf or word file
- Create or upload your book cover
- Publish your book, order copies, and get paid
Bring your laptop, tablet or phone, a document and a preliminary title.
We will set up a book project for everyone who wants the practice. You can delete it later if desired.
Eight laptops will be available for your use. A large screen will enable everyone to see the process.
105 N. Stockton St. (Stockton and Pearl Street) at the Small Business building on the Langdon Campus. Program presentation 7:00 PM January 22, 2018.