SEVEN COMMON WRITING PROBLEMS
& HOW TO SOLVE THEM c)
Instructor: Patrika Vaughn
You are interested in this course because you recognize that some problem exists in your writing. Well, I want to congratulate you, because you could not have these problems unless you had actually been writing!
This means you've already put in all the hard work of writing your book, your short story or article. You've probably also gone through the frustration of at least one edit and revision and have probably gotten some feedback from others. At this point everyone seems to agree that it doesn't quite work. The question is, why not?
In this online class we're going to explore the seven most common writing problems that prevent manuscripts from being publishable. We'll discuss the elements of good writing and I'll share some examples with you. Then I'll show you how to turn your manuscript into what editors are looking for. As I point out these most common problems, I'll also explain how to avoid them. But first....
Week 1: What Editors and Publishers Look for in a Manuscript
In order to write something that will sell, you need to understand just what editors and publishers look for in a manuscript. What makes one piece of writing sell while others are thrown on the reject pile? Of course there is no single simple answer. But there is a single simple reaction that must be generated in those editors and publishers to inspire them to buy a manuscript. In this lesson, you'll find out what that reaction should be.
Week 2: The Hookless Beginning
All writings have a beginning, a middle and an end. Each of these has a function, a job to do. The job of your beginning is to hook your readers. The beginning is where you introduce your subject or characters and get readers involved. This is done by setting the tone, creating the scene and enticing readers with a promise of what your work will deliver You have only a few paragraphs to do this. You have to grab readers' attention fast, before they have a chance to lose interest and reach for the remote control. In this lesson, we'll perfect that hook.
WEEK 3: POINT OF VIEW
Your written work can be compared to the human body:
- Your thesis or plot sentence can be compared to the embryo. It is the promise of your work, the subject and focus from which your work will grow.
- Your outline is the skeleton, on which the form of your work hangs. The skeleton should reflect the weight to be given to each part.
- The actions of your work are its muscles
- The tone you choose to write in becomes the nervous system
- Your point of view (you, he, she, it) becomes the story's organs.
These represent your first two point-of-view choices. This choice decides who will tell your story.
Week #4: Wooden Characters: Characterizations
Fiction, biography, history, adventure stories ~ they all have one thing in common: they are all about people. Too often, such works are simply variations on the seven-word biography: he was born, grew up, & died. Such writing merely offers readers lists ~ of facts, of dates, places, relationships, experiences & accomplishments ~ what I call laundry lists. Writing like this is dull. It doesn't involve readers in the character's life, because it doesn't give readers the kind of inside information that allows them to get involved with the character. Laundry list writing doesn't reveal the character's inner person or tell what that person's life was about. It doesn't engage readers because it doesn't provide the intimate information that brings the character to life, right off the page. In this lesson, you'll learn how to "characterize" your characters.
Week #5: Wooden Characters: The Qualities of an Interesting Character
Every main character or protagonist needs to have qualities that readers can recognize and identify with ~ qualities that make the character's feelings understandable and that make readers CARE about what happens to him or her. You'll learn the five such qualities every main character should have.
Week #6: Unrealistic Dialogue
Dialogue isn't real conversation but it has to sound like it in the reader's head. It has to read like people sound. Remember that none of us speak perfect English. We speak in partial sentences, use contractions and ungrammatical word groupings. In this lesson, you'll learn about speech rhythms, vocabularies, and speech tags.
Week #7: Poor Research/Fluff & Repetition
You have to write what you know. In this lesson, you'll learn how important research is to the people, places and things you write about in your fiction work.
WEEK #8: The Rushed Ending
Every narration has a beginning, a middle and an end, and each of these parts has a job to do. The job of the ending is to satisfy the reader. That can happen in many ways. It usually involves some sort of conclusion. In this lesson, you'll learn to create the perfecting ending to your work.
Private Mentoring: $35
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Patrika Vaughn is President of A Cappela Publishing, Inc. and CEO of eLit Agent. She is a widely published author of articles, books, audiobooks and online classes for writers.
She has been awarded the Order of Excellence by Who's Who in the 21st Century and is listed in Outstanding People of the 21st Century and The International Authors and Writers Who's
A widely published author herself, Patrika is known as the world's foremost Author's Advocate. She guides authors through the processes of writing, marketing and publishing (see www.acappela.com) and is the pioneer of electronic literary agenting (www.eLitAgent.com).
Patrika's mission is to help new authors get published. To accomplish this, she has created a ‘"one-stop shop." Through A Cappela Publishing, Advocate House and eLitAgent, Patrika works with authors from concept through publication, offering both consulting and editing until a marketable work has been achieved. She also helps authors pinpoint their markets and can either produce books for self-publishers or represent them to publishing houses through her innovative electronic agenting service.
She holds a B.A. in Literature and Anthropology from New College (the honors program for the State of Florida) and did her postgraduate work in World Literature at the University of Arkansas.