Monday, October 3, 2011

Writing Tip ABCs, Part 8, V to Z

We have finally reached the final post in my Writing Tip ABCs series of blogs.

Thanks for the positive feedback on this project. I'm glad it's been of help to so many of you.

Letters V to Z coming up.


Readers want to live VICARIOUSLY through your characters. They don't get to be super heroes, villains, FBI agents, temptresses, doctors, chamber maids,dog trainers, natives of Venus and Pluto, astronauts, cowboys or ballerinas in their normal lives. While they're reading your book, however, they can do or be anything. Give them a good ride.

The VOICE you use to tell your story depends on your book's genre, the time period it's set in, its setting, the type of writing you want to convey, etc.

Achieving VERISIMILITUDE in your writing is critically important if you want readers to believe your manufactured world, people, premise, etc. are believable.


Heroes and heroines shouldn't WAFFLE when it's time for them to make decisions. Decisiveness even in the face of fear is a trait readers admire in protagonists.

When a violent or erotic scene is required by the plot, authors who intend their book for a PG type of audience may have to WHITEWASH the scene in order to make it less objectionable to sensitive readers.

Choose your WAYS AND MEANS of telling your story carefully. The methods and resources you use should suit your genre and your audience.


A XENOPHOBE can make an interesting archetype, whether he is a hero or a villain. A political drama (or comedy) comes to mind because hardline party members are often contemptuous or even afraid of the competition.


Sidekicks who are YES MEN add comedy (Lex Luther/Otis) or insight (Sherlock Holms/Watson)to stories.

When spinning your YARN be sure to knit your scenes together smoothly.

The use of YOKELS and their vernacular will make a setting which is foreign to readers seem clearer, more believable.


The battles of protagonists against antagonists result in ZERO SUM GAMES. One side wins, the other loses. The best stories allow victories and losses on both sides.

Once your story has reached its ZENITH, resolutions and an ending should follow quickly.

Decide whether readers should see a scene in macro view or if you should ZOOM in on a critical action within a broad situation.

As always, for more Writing Tip ABCs, go to my Twitter page at:

Thanks for sticking with me throughout my Writing Tip ABCs series.

Remember, later this month I'll be starting a blog series on Independent Publishing. You won't want to miss it!


Fran Shaff, Award-Winning Author

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