3 Things To Be Mindful of as You Write

Three things to be mindful of as you write . . .

1. Be mindful of overusing backstory and flashback as you write.

Be careful not to overuse backstory and flashbacks as devices for storytelling. Readers want to live in the “here and now” of the present story. As you write, think of ways to weave backstory and flashback into the current life of the characters, always asking: Is this information absolutely necessary to tell this particular story? You might discover backstory and flashback written during the first draft is not essential to the final story. Often, during editing and revision, entire blocks of backstory and flashback are cut. As you write, if you feel strongly about including a component of backstory or flashback, look for opportunities to incorporate the information in ways that don’t depart from the throughline of the story which takes your readers out of the present action and into long passages of text that’s often little more than info-dumping.

2. As you write, be mindful of characters beginning to do something.

Be mindful of characters beginning to do something. She began to cry. He began shaking his head. Use of the word ‘began’ freezes your characters in the stagnant state of setting out to do something. Instead, have them do it.  Not ‘she began climbing the stairs,’ but ‘she climbed the stairs.’

3. When writing, be mindful of overuse of the words: felt, realized, and seemed.

Watch overuse of the words: felt, realized, and seemed. He felt sad. She realized she didn’t love him anymore. They seemed ready to break up. Delete these crutch words and instead show the character experiencing your story through active verbs and descriptions. Not, ‘she felt cold,’ but ‘she shivered, pulling the woolen shawl tight across her shoulders.’

Julie Valerie

Julie Valerie

85K Writing Challenge: Embracing the writing life by advancing the practice of productive writing from the first word to the first reader.

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