Before addressing people who read books for information, inspiration, or entertainment, I want to address the difference between Beta Readers and Editors. There used to be a clear definition and description between the two, but somewhere along the way, the lines became blurred. This has become quite a frustration to both Beta Readers and Editors.
Why? Because Beta Readers are not editors. They are not skilled writers who are necessarily knowledgeable about the technical/mechanical aspects of writing. Beta Readers are simply regular readers who love to read, and though they may have some knowledge of spelling, grammar, punctuation, and the rest of the technical/mechanical aspects of a story, many do not, and they aren’t interested in trying to find those errors for the writer and report them to the writer.
As one may have noticed who has read any of my stories, they often (possibly always) involve something of darkness in them. This is indeed part of my life’s focus, near to heart, and part of the fundamental aim of OOM.
It recently occurred to me that dark things can fall into three categories:
In the first part of this article, previously posted here, I mostly addressed why a Christian writer should write well, though I also touched on some ways we can do that. In this article, I will address more ways in which we actually can write well.
In the first article, I mentioned learning. What do we need to learn? Every writer should have a fairly good knowledge of the basics of writing: spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and how to know when to begin and end a paragraph. Every writer should also know how to properly write dialogue. These are the mechanics of writing, and if you find any of these items difficult, you can still be a good writer. How? You will need to hire an editor. I will address editors more in depth later in this article.
What do writers need to know, in addition to the technical or mechanical aspects of writing? Writers need to know how to tell a story: how to choose the best words to write descriptions, action, dialogue, conflict; how to create deep characters that readers can relate to and how to give these characters strengths and weaknesses, as well as showing character growth in the main characters from the beginning of the story to the end of the story; and above all, how to weave the story together in a way that will grip the reader’s attention from the very first sentence until the very last sentence of the novel.
That all sounds like a tall order, and it is. If you are a writer, you, most likely, are also a reader, or, at least, you should be. Reading books is one way to learn how to write a good book. Reading books should also show you what not to do as a writer. I’m sure all readers have read at least one poorly written book in their reading time: a book that had lots of grammatical errors or had parts where the reader became bored or confused, or the book rushed the ending leaving the reader feeling as though some important information or action was missing, or names of characters or places were written differently in sections of the book—either changing the names or the spelling of the names, or a change in the description of a main character. Maybe the ending left the reader hanging and there is no sequel; the book is supposed to be a stand-alone.
There are many things that can pull a reader out of the story or disappoint a reader.
As a writer, do you know that you make a promise to your reader with every book you write, no matter what genre you write?
Hello, This post was written by Patrick Lauser who is doing some traveling right now and had problems with computer connections, so I am posting this for him.
I’ve thought for some time about an idea I like to think of as “word painting”: the idea of just having description, with story only occurring as a part of the description rather than the other way around. The idea of description is to paint a picture after all (or perhaps a map or diagram or what have you).
It would be a good exercise, yes, but also a finished product, a goal. You wouldn’t necessarily be able to take it in in a glance like a painting (made with paint), but it would have its own advantages over other mediums.
In a way people already do this: in the house we’re staying in they have decorations (the like of which I’ve seen before) which are words like “love” and “relax”, and they have duvets with writing all over them like “new day, new start” and “life is better in pyjamas”, and abstract artists will include words in pictures as part of the art. But I wonder what it would be like to hang something like this on the wall:
Doesn’t the man in the photo above look engaged in what he is reading? As a reader, don’t you want a book to draw you into its story like that? As a writer, don’t you want your book to draw readers into your story that deeply?
So, what is it about a book that draws readers in so deeply they can’t put it down; so deeply they feel like one of the characters in the story; so deeply they literally sit on the edge or their seat; so deeply tears slide down their cheeks; or so deeply they hear no one speaking around them?