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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

How to Write Introspection Well (+updates)

Hi everyone! For this week's tip, I'm over coaching at WritersHelpingWriters.net and talking about introspection. You can read it here.

If you are into teasers, however, here is the beginning part of it:

Nothing can quite kill a story’s pacing like a big hunk of rambling introspection, except, of course, its cousin, the info dump. The reason for this is that the more time we spend reading a character’s thoughts, the less immediacy the story has, which means the less the audience cares about it. And yet some stories have whole passages of introspection. So what gives?

Here are some tips to help you master introspection that makes your writing stronger, not weaker.

Less is More

Because beginning writers love character depth (who doesn’t?) and are trying hard to get the audience to feel close to their characters, they will often write huge chunks of introspection, especially in the opening.

In reality, writing less is more. If you truly want your audience to love your character as much as you do, you need to let them discover the character themselves—you don’t need to spoon-feed them with chunks of introspection. You need to let them come to their own conclusions about your character.

To get your audience interested in your character’s interior, you need to show them just enough. Keep it short enough to stay interesting, but long enough to cover the character’s point. A glimpse of an interesting interior will make us want to come back, without slowing the pacing in your story so much we want to get away.

You can sneak in bigger chunks after we already know and care about the person. But almost never put big chunks in the story’s opening.

Look Forward, Not Back

A mistake that is easy to make is to only include introspection that looks back at something—something that happened earlier in the story, or, that really naughty thing, a flashback, and have the character relive it in his or her thoughts.

Since introspection naturally takes away immediacy, it’s often better to have your character think forward on something.

. . .You can read the rest here.


In other news, I'll be teaching at LDStorymakers this year in Provo, Utah! This has been my third time pitching to them, but since they get 300+ pitches a year and 400+ this year, competition can be a little tough, so I'm excited to finally be able to teach!

I'll be teaching about tone on Friday, May 4th.

If you haven't heard of LDStorymakers, it's perhaps my favorite writing conference, and I'd argue that it's the most professional one here in Utah, and the most professional one you can get at such a great price--which is probably why it sells out so fast. All the tickets are already gone (but you can join the wait list!).

I'll also have a vendor table for my editing work, which I'm pretty excited about, because it will be my first time. :)

Other than Storymakers, I now have a Facebook Page for Fawkes Editing, my editing business. I've resisted having a Facebook Page up to this point, but some features on Facebook you can only use if you have a page. So, if you are interested, you can like my page here.

See you guys next week for my next writing tip post. It's a special one because it's my 300th blog post!


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