Lucid Writing Advice II
by Antavius S. Flagg
Page 1 of 2
The five things that creates a better manuscript
- Closeness to reality
- Great Characters
When writing a manuscript, you have a lot of topics to consider. This
section of Lucid Writing Advice will touch upon these topics, and hopefully
steer you in the right direction.
Everywhere you look in a bookstore you see books of all shapes and sizes.
Tall ones, small ones, thick ones, and slim ones. If you are an avid reader,
the size of the book is directly equivalent to your span of interest. To the
writer, the size of the book has to do with the pacing.
Seldom do you find the ending at the beginning or vice versa. The pace of
the book has to do with how much action is happening and what is essential to
the manuscript. Starting a story that has nothing to do with the main topic of
the work is quite ridiculous. You should always judge your pace, and the faster
the better. But haste makes waste.
When writing vital scenes you want them to be just that: vital. Below is an
example of a scene that has been rushed:
Max stood in the center of the sandbox with Big Willy looking him
squarely in the eye. Dozens of classmates surrounded them in a corral of
hooting and hollering. Big Willy rose his fist in the heat of the action. Max
ducked, and ran through a spilt in the crowd. Big Willy spotted his escape, and
charged, but tumbled to a thunderous fall on his shoe laces.
As you can tell, the above passage is rushed. We are given no description of
why the fight has broken out. Perhaps Max was throwing sand on Big Willy? Maybe
he accidentally knocked down his sand castle? Who knows, and we’ll never know
unless the pace can be shortened and there is more description. The entire
scene went by without an ounce of detail going into the fight. The reader will
weep at the fact.
Below is the exact scene, but will a slower pace, and more description of
Max lugged the remaining sand from his phial on top of the sand mound.
Big Willy eyed him closely as he was putting the finishing touches on his own
creation, a sand castle, a few feet off. Max smiled at the fact of the mound
growing to a least his three foot height. But it had to be bigger.
With a sigh, he gathered more sand, filling the phial to the brim. He was
breathless once he finally heaved it from the ground. Big Willy stood back to
marvel at his show of strength. Max stammered to the mound. Between clenched
teeth he emptied the sand on top.
There was an avalanche of sand. The cone of the sand mound disappeared as
the sand bled away. In a silent rush, Big Willy sand castle was smothered
beneath the sudden avalanche.
And if we were to connect this passage with the one above, you see that they
each flow smoothly, and we are thus given the reason for the fight.
Closeness to Reality
Your writing fantasy or science-fiction, so what if your story as nothing to
do with the real world? It should have a lot to do with it. Just because it’s
something that your making up, is no excuse for it to be down right alien.
Fantasy and science-fiction writers run into this problem all the time, unless
your a professional..
Trees sway in the wind, as do grass and flowers. Birds sing in the morning,
and rarely in the afternoon. Summer nights are warm, winter nights are bitterly
cold. Big cities are festering with high crime, small towns keep mostly to
Such basics have to be the root of her story. Even if its F/SF, you must
always create a believe foundation that will force your readers to believe that
such things just might have a chance at happening.
Here is an example of no reality:
Evelyn walked through the moonlit forest. The sound of her steps rustling
the undergrowth filled the silence.
Filled the silence? Why is there silence in a forest at night to began with?
In the real world, this cannot happen. Surely, there were insect chirping away
as Evelyn thread her way through.
Unreality errors can arise when we least expect them, so it is best to
observe each scene of your story thoroughly, and rewrite it without prejudice
when such instances occur.Next Page
Copyright© 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 Antavius S. Flagg, sffworld.com. All rights reserved. No part of this may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the author.