Saturday, August 29, 2015

Description: Is it hard to write?

The Description Challenge

I was in a conversation recently with a group of writers and authors. One person stated he had a difficult time writing description. How much is too much? And, how does he make it fit in to the story.

My off-the-wall brain came up with an instant exercise. If you are having trouble writing description, especially expanding description to go with the overall story you may want to try this exercise.

The Fight Scene Description Model

Write a fight scene, breaking it down action, by action. Time slows down and small details drive the sentences.

Now use the same detailed technique for description. 
  • What elements stand out?
  • What one thing stands out from everything around? In a landscape it may be a mountain or bluff. In a kitchen it may be the sparkling coffee carafe or the old, stained electric percolator. On a sailing ship, it may be the mainmast towering over the deck and reaching for the sky.
  • After you identify the one thing. Start detailing everything else in the setting with the same attention to specifics.
You can use the image of a Belgian farm here to start your exercise.

Here's how Joseph Conrad incorporates the sea, a steamer, and a deck chair in the opening of The End of the Tether.
For a long time after the course of the steamer Sofala had been altered for the land, the low swampy coast had retained its appearance of a mere smudge of darkness beyond a belt of glitter. The sunrays seemed to fall violently upon the calm sea—seemed to shatter themselves upon an adamantine surface into sparkling dust, into a dazzling vapor of light that blinded the eye and wearied the brain with its unsteady brightness.
Captain Whalley did not look at it. When his Serang, approaching the roomy cane arm-chair which he filled capably, had informed him in a low voice that the course was to be altered, he had risen at once and had remained on his feet, face forward, while the head of his ship swung through a quarter of a circle.

I'd love to here about your experience with this exercise.

Keep writing!


Monday, August 24, 2015

Author Tim Hammill

How to Work With A Cat

Author Tim Hammill tells how his character Max came to him fully formed. Tim reads excerpts from Tails From The Park (Series2). A delightful collection of stories told by Max the cat. Trouble finds him.

Authors! The Story Bodyguard will host a book party for you.

  •  Hosted on Crowdcast: Audience can attend with FaceBook, Twitter, or Google+ account. 
  •  Live questions and answers. 
  •  Create a poll for your readers. 
  •  Use the video to promote your book. Host video clips on your Amazon Author Page. 
 Create more buzz about your book.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Hosting a Book Party - Tails From The Park

The Story Bodyguard is hosting a Book Party. 

Come meet the author +Tim Hammill

+Max Tails and +Tim Hammill are releasing Book 2 of Tails From The Park Saturday, August 22. They are having a Book Party to celebrate. Tim will talk about working with a cat as co-author. He'll be reading from the book.

Come join the fun. RSVP at Then join us at 10 AM PT/ 12 Noon ET/ 6 PM BST.

Meet Max, a cat who tells stories, collected in a series of humorous, adventure tales full of laughter, tenderness, and escapes in Tails From The Park.

Max has an abundance of hereditary feline curiosity.  What starts out as innocent exploration often leads to unintended escapades. He lives with his human Mom and Dad in a mobile home park where life is simple, unless you are a cat.

Full of colorful characters whose sentiments can turn Max from quiet napping intermission to extraordinary mayhem each story sets its own pace.

Best of all, you’ll discover Maxitude. Max has a way of telling which is full of curiosity and vigor. Life is best with Maxitude.
No Where Man: A misty morning.
All Buicks Great and Small: A Buick and a lost friend.
The Fortune Teller: Max get’s his fortune read and creates some word magic.
The Earth Moved Under My Paws: A leash, a quake, a dream, a run.
Pete and Repeat: Short and snappy.
Ka-Bing: Max goes to jail.
Heidi Fang: Adventure with a beauty.
The Burglar:

Of course, Max has trouble interfacing with computers and their periphery. His best skill is waiting patiently for paper to come out of the printer so he can pounce. He enlists his human friend, Tim Hammill, as an intermediary to put the stories into words.

Curl up for lighthearted entertainment and get your Maxitude.

If you are an author and want to hold a Book Party get in touch  

We love authors and book parties.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Why Write In The Third Person?

Story Power

Control Your Story

Screenwriters use third person voice exclusively. Many narrative fiction writers start by writing in the first person using "I," and "we" and don't know how to switch. They feel that using the third person point of view is somehow distancing.

One of the main reasons to use the third person voice of "he/she" and "they" is carry the voice and point of view of various characters in a longer, more complicated story. Each character is personified in a representative tone and language, but narrated in the third person. 

Third person voice is instrumental in a long story to sustain the story tone while creating scenes that transition between different characters.

Representative Emotions

For many writers the most difficult transition is to represent corresponding emotions in third person. While writing in the first person character feelings come unbidden. But when attempting to personify those emotions, the feeling does not flow.

The goal of every scene is to move the story forward. If writing in the third person is a challenge here are some ways to loosen up and get into character. Use the old adage: show, don't tell.

  • Show the feelings in dialogue. Let your character talk it out.
  • Write action that displays the feeling.
  • Take a scene written in first person and transform it into third person.
For each situation your character encounters, identify the feelings and then demonstrate them in dialogue and action. 

Appoint Yourself as the Observer and Recorder

Record the scene as you see it in your mind. 
  • What does your character do? 
  • What verbs do you use to display emotion?
  • Let your character talk to herself?
  • How does your character respond to other characters? to physical obstacles?
  • What minor action personifies the character's emotion in the scene?

Study Other Writers

Find writers in your genre who write in third person point of view. Note how they covey tension, emotions, and actions. Copy the techniques.

I hope these notes help those who are struggling with third person point of view.

Special offer. The first person who can tell me why The Third Man may not have been the best illustration for this topic, will receive free Story Notes on the first ten pages of your fictional work. First or third person, narrative fiction or screenplay.

Zara Altair
The Story Bodyguard