Tips for writing “flashbacks”













Tip 1: make it clear the character is going back in time.


Give the character a trigger – he sees an object, smells a scent, or experiences an action.

For stories written in past tense, use past perfect tense a few times when entering the flashback. Once in, switch to past tense until near the end of the flashback, then switch to past perfect a few times. After leaving the flashback, return to past tense. (Limits cumbersome past perfect.)

For stories written in present tense, use the simple past in the flashback.




Tip 2: Write the flashback so it:

*Serves a purpose – shows what shaped characters into who they are now or shows past story world.
*Engages the reader.

*Is limited to key moments.

Tip 3: Write ending sentences that transition the reader and character from the flashback.


*Use another trigger – abrupt or easing.

*Change verb tense as mentioned above.



Tip 4: After the flashback, the reader must see the character or story world in a new light as they read forward in the present.




General:

1.Don’t use flashbacks as a cop-out to avoid writing difficult present story.

2.Don’t include more than one or two flashbacks.

3.Let go of a merely interesting flashback from a character’s biography.

4.Use flashbacks only after the reader’s engaged in the story and knows the character (after several scenes).

5.Make sure a flashback advances the main story.

6.Make sure a flashback scene, like a main-story scene, has goals, motivations, and resolutions.

7.Give long flashbacks their own chapter or scene.

8.Hold back flashbacks until the reader must know the information – keep the suspense going.

9.Have flashbacks follow exciting scenes so the reader will want to return to the main story.


http://zoemmccarthy.com/writing/flashbacks-when-theyre-not-appropriate-and-tips-for-when-they-are

When to change paragraph in fiction 

For fiction, you’ll construct your paragraphs for setups, punches, and other desired effects. For example, the one-word paragraph.

THE RULE: Always start a new paragraph when you switch speakers in dialog.
GUIDELINES: Start a new paragraph when

1.a new character reacts or does something,

2.a new character thinks something,

3.a new idea enters,

4.a new event happens,

5.a new setting occurs,

6.the reader needs a break from a long paragraph,

7.the “camera” moves. Ray Bradbury suggested, as in movies, every time the camera angle changes, start a new paragraph,

 8.a portion of information isn’t closely related to another and needs to be distanced,

9. a change in emphasis or tone is needed in a topic,

10.the time moves forward or backward,

11.a description of one thing ends and something else is described,

12.a special effect is needed to add humor or drama.

Source: http://zoemmccarthy.com/writing/13-guidelines-for-when-to-start-a-new-paragraph-in-your-story?subscribe=opted_out#blog_subscription-2

The Ultimate Checklist for Editing Your Own Book

1. Develop a thick skin.Or at least to pretend to. It’s not easy. But we writers need to listen to our editors—even if that means listening to ourselves!
2. Avoid throat-clearing.

This is a literary term for a story or chapter that finally begins after a page or two of scene setting and background. Get on with it.
3. Choose the normal word over the obtuse.

When you’re tempted to show off your vocabulary or a fancy turn of phrase, think reader-first and keep your content king. Don’t intrude. Get out of the way of your message.
4. Omit needless words.

A rule that follows its own advice. This should be the hallmark of every writer.
5. Avoid subtle redundancies.

“She nodded her head in agreement.” Those last four words could be deleted. What else would she nod but her head? And when she nods, we need not be told she’s in agreement.
“He clapped his hands.” What else would he clap?
“She shrugged her shoulders.” What else?
“He blinked his eyes.” Same question.
“They heard the sound of a train whistle.” The sound of could be deleted.
6. Avoid the words up and down…

…unless they’re really needed. He rigged [up] the device. She sat [down] on the couch.
7. Usually delete the word that.

Use it only for clarity.
8. Give the reader credit.

Once you’ve established something, you don’t need to repeat it.
Example: “They walked through the open door and sat down across from each other in chairs.”
If they walked in and sat, we can assume the door was open, the direction was down, and—unless told otherwise—there were chairs. So you can write: “They walked in and sat across from each other.”
And avoid quotation marks around words used in another context, as if the reader wouldn’t “get it” otherwise. (Notice how subtly insulting that is.)
9. Avoid telling what’s not happening.

“He didn’t respond.”
“She didn’t say anything.”
“The crowded room never got quiet.”
If you don’t say these things happened, we’ll assume they didn’t.
10. Avoid being an adjectival maniac.

Good writing is a thing of strong nouns and verbs, not adjectives. Use them sparingly.
Novelist and editor Sol Stein says one plus one equals one-half (1+1=1/2), meaning the power of your words is diminished by not picking just the better one. “He proved a scrappy, active fighter,” is more powerful if you settle on the stronger of those two adjectives. Less is more. Which would you choose?
11. Avoid hedging verbs…

…like smiled slightly, almost laughed, frowned a bit, etc.
12. Avoid the term literally—when you mean figuratively.

“I literally died when I heard that.” R.I.P.
“My eyes literally fell out of my head.” There’s a story I’d like to read.
“I was literally climbing the walls.” You have a future in horror films.
13. Avoid too much stage direction.

You don’t need to tell every action of every character in each scene, what they’re doing with each hand, etc.
14. Maintain a single Point of View (POV) for every scene.

Failing to do so is one of the most common errors beginning writers make. Amateurs often defend themselves against this criticism by citing classics by famous authors who violated this. Times change. Readers’ tastes change. This is the rule for today, and it’s true of what sells.
15. Avoid clichés.

And not just words and phrases. There are also clichéd situations, like starting your story with the main character waking to an alarm clock; having a character describe herself while looking in a full-length mirror; having future love interests literally bump into each other upon first meeting, etc.
16. Resist the urge to explain (RUE).

Marian was mad. She pounded the table. “George, you’re going to drive me crazy,” she said, angrily.
“You can do it!” George encouraged said.
17. Show, don’t tell.

If Marian pounds the table and chooses those words, we don’t need to be told she’s mad. If George says she can do it, we know he was encouraging.

18. Avoid mannerisms of attribution.

People say things; they don’t wheeze, gasp, sigh, laugh, grunt, snort, reply, retort, exclaim, or declare them.
John dropped onto the couch. “I’m beat.”
Not: John was exhausted. He dropped onto the couch and exclaimed tiredly, “I’m beat.”
“I hate you,” Jill said, narrowing her eyes.
Not: “I hate you,” Jill blurted ferociously.
Sometimes people whisper or shout or mumble, but let your choice of words imply whether they are grumbling, etc. If it’s important that they sigh or laugh, separate the action from the dialogue:
Jim sighed. “I just can’t take any more,” he said. [Usually you can even drop the attribution he said if you have described his action first. We know who’s speaking.]
19. Specifics add the ring of truth.

Yes, even to fiction.
20. Avoid similar character names.

In fact, avoid even the same first initials.
21. Avoid mannerisms of punctuation, typestyles, and sizes.

“He…was…DEAD!” doesn’t make a character any more dramatically expired than “He was dead.”

Source: jerryjenkins.com

Tips for self-publishing your book

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If you want to be a successful self-published author, here are 10 tips that you should pay close attention to:

1) In addition to following this site, join self-published and/or Indie writer’s groups both on and offline. Go to your favorite search engine (notice how I didn’t automatically assume you ‘Google’ everything?), and type in “Independent Writers Group” or “Self Published Writers Group” and watch the world come alive! These are the ‘doers’ of the world, and you can get plenty of advice on anything and everything you ever wanted to know about self-publishing but were afraid to ask. And you don’t need to wait until you have a book out to join! Join now…watch, ask, and be informed.

2)I know this is subjective, but please write a good book! There is too much crap cluttering cyberspace as it is, so put your heart into your book. If you feel you have done your best, then that is all a man can ask.

3)You need to have a good title and a good cover. Remember that last comment about cybercrap? Well if you want to stand out amongst them, do yourself a favor and create an eye-appealing, professional-looking cover. Your cover should not only look good large, but it should catch the eye when it is set as a thumbnail, because if you sell online it’s likely that people will only see a thumbnail of your book.

4)Have your book proofread! You can have a great book, but if it is filled with typos and grammatical errors, guess what comments will be left on Amazon, B&N, iTunes, etc.? Do yourself a favor, even if you can’t afford to pay a lot for a professional, you should be able to 1) use spellcheck and 2) ask a friend or family member to take a look. A new set of eyes will go a long way.

5)BEFORE you hit the “go” button to get 1,000,000 copies printed, be sure to get a proof of your book first! Getting a proof is different from having it proofread. Once your book is finished and at the printer of your choice, request or purchase a copy of it before it goes into full production. When your proof arrives give it a thorough looksy. This is your labor of love, if something doesn’t look right, change it. Better make those changes now than having a garage full of books with your name spelled wrong.

6)Make sure the Price is Right! No, I’m not talking about the television game show with Drew Carrey. It’s important to make sure that your book is priced appropriately. If you are using a Print on Demand service such as CreateSpace, they will kind of force your hand by telling you the minimum price you can sell your book for. Anything about that should become profit for you. But don’t get crazy.

If you are selling an eBook, keep in mind that the “sweet spot” for eBooks is usually around $2.99. You may consider starting at .99 cents, letting your book get a little momentum then gradually increasing it to $1.99, then $2.99. If you are selling on Amazon, familiarize yourself with their Royalty policy since they have 35% and 70% rates.

7)Unlike at a bookstore or in a library, online potential buyers can’t thumb through your book so they will rely on other people’s reviews. Solicit reviews on Amazon.com. How? Easy, send free copies to anyone who may have an interest in your genre or topic (including family or friends) and ask that they write a review at Amazon. Getting reviews will help with your book ranking. If Amazon sees that people are reviewing your book, they will rank it higher.

8)And no matter what site you use to sell your book, make sure that your book description and your publisher’s comments are well thought out. Potential buyers will also look to these areas to decide whether they will buy your book or not. If the description doesn’t provide them with enough information on your book, they may likely pass on it. This is especially true when you don’t have many reviews.

9)Create a website for your book (or better yet, yourself!), and link it to any of the places that you may sell your book. Now that you are a self-published author, you are a brand, and no brand is complete without its own website.

10)Market, Market, MARKET! How can you sell your book if they don’t know it exists? There are 1001 ways to market, so find the best ways for your book. And don’t just think online, think offline marketing as well! I will have quite a few posts about marketing, so stay tuned.

Amir.H.Ghazi