Showing posts from July, 2009

The Basic Building Blocks of Good Story Structure

I'm over at Cheryl Wyatt's blog today talking about the Basic Building Blocks of Good Story Structure: Hey there! This is Camy Tang, and Cheryl is letting me guest blog today! She wanted me to talk about the basic building blocks of good story structure because I tend to naturally look at stories on a structural level. When I do telephone consultations for my Story Sensei critique service, most of my clients are looking for help to fix their novels’ story structures. Click here to read the rest of the article

Q&A: Deep point of view versus omniscient point of view

A few weeks ago, Roxo left this question in the comments section of my Head Hopping article: Hi! Maybe it sounds a little stupid, but my question is: why deep point of view is better than omniscient point of view? In school we don't even learn about the former. It's not that I don't like it, I love it actually (deep point of view I mean) but I would like to know what is it that makes it better than omniscient. Thanks ! I answered in the comments section, but then thought that other writers might also be interested in the answer: Hi Roxo, It's not a stupid question! Deep point of view inserts the reader into the character's body, which often creates a more deeply emotional reading experience and consequently makes the book a bit richer emotionally. Epics told in omniscient point of view tend to be very sweeping in scope but sometimes a little shallow in terms of emotion. Most readers don't realize that the publishing industry has moved more toward deep point of

Rewards Per Page - article by Vince Mooney

Forgive me if I gush but this is one of the best articles I've read in a long time, and I promise it's not because he quoted my book in it. His list of Rewards Per Page is absolutely stellar, because it's a very concise list of things I point out to my clients when I critique manuscripts. In future, I intend to point them to this article since it's so comprehensive and well written. How Rewarding is the ‘Reading Experience’ Provided by Your Writing? Measuring “Rewards-Per-Page” Can Give You an Indication of this Important Success Factor. Click here for the rest of the article

Talking to Editors and Agents at conferences

I was at Seekerville yesterday talking about talking to editors and agents at conferences: Camy here, talking about pitching (both formal and informal) since many of you are probably at the Romance Writers of America National Convention right now! I'm not a natural extrovert, but I force myself to be one at conferences in order to meet writers, editors and agents. I want to present a professional demeanor and make a good impression. That's kind of hard to do when my mouth has suddenly become the Mojave desert and my legs have rooted through my Nine Wests into the floor. Click here to read the rest of the article.

Show versus Tell, example fourteen

From contest entries and critiques that I’ve done, I’ve noticed that often people don’t quite understand what exactly is “showing” and what exactly is “telling.” So, I’m doing this series to give numerous examples so that you can see for yourself the various kinds of “telling” that can occur in your own manuscript, and suggestions for fixing it. This example is from my own proposal. It’s an Inspirational romantic suspense. (From Jorge's point of view) Jorge explained, “My brother still visits some of his old friends to try to get them to come to church with him.” “Oh.” Her eyes skittered away as she renewed her vigor in sweeping. She had never been comfortable talking about her faith. They’d rarely talked about God when they were dating, but she had said she was a strong Christian. The last paragraph is all telling. There’s a more dynamic and interesting way to show this information, plus you can use this as a way to deepen the point of view. I decided to anchor the information in

Grammar, Punctuation, and Style for Fiction

Recently, a friend had witnessed a heated discussion between writers about the MLA Style book and the Chicago Manual of Style. She suggested I write an article on it. If you're not a fiction writer, this won't apply to you, but if you do write fiction, here's important information for you about style standards at major publishing houses. This article, which I wrote, originally appeared on Suite101. Grammar, Punctuation, and Style for Market Fiction Some Tips on Style Used By Publishing Houses Writers should be aware that the style books used at colleges may be different from the style book used by a publishing house for novels. Many colleges use the MLA (Modern Language Association) Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, also known as the MLA Style book. However, the style book used by most major publishing houses is the The Chicago Manual of Style . (At the time of this writing, this link is for the 16th edition. You should go with the most recent edition.) Fic

Finding "Telling" and Fixing It

This article that I wrote originally appeared on Suite101. Finding “Telling” and Fixing It How to Show Instead of Tell Here are some tips for identifying when a novelist “tells” instead of “shows” and how to fix it. Many times, writers hear the injunction, “Show, don’t tell.” But how to know when you’re “telling” instead of showing, and what do you do about it? Finding “Telling” “Telling” is always difficult for writers to discover in their own writing, so a writer shouldn’t be discouraged if he can’t see it during revisions. There are many online articles to explain “showing” versus “telling,” including this one which lists examples of “showing” and “telling.” Be aware that there are some instances where “telling” is needed rather than showing. However, in many cases, the “telling” is unnecessary and should be “shown” instead. Critique partners are good resources for pointing out “telling” in a manuscript. An objective outside reader will usually be able to find “t

The first page, part 9 - Make every word count

This is continuing my series on things to look for in your first page. Click here for part eight. Make every word count This goes back to how you only have one page to hook an editor. If that editor isn’t hooked by that first page, he or she will move the entire manuscript to the Reject pile without even bothering to go to page two. That being the case, you should expend considerable effort to not have any useless words on that first page. Make every description juicy and unique, without any “throw-away” words or phrases. Make every line of dialogue snappy and emotional, without unnecessary tags or adverbs. Make every sentence concise and precise—nothing meandering or vague or fluffy. Introduce your character with clear but unique descriptors, whether in dialogue or by action. Don’t waste time with backstory and “telling” the reader what’s happening—suck the reader in to “show” them what’s happening as it happens to the character. Dwight Swain has an entire chapter in his book Techniq

Pubbing 1.0 How I did it by Camy Tang

I’m on the Steeple Hill blog in an interview with advice for writers, especially those targeting Steeple Hill. 1. What’s your sale story? How did you end up selling to Steeple Hill? I’ve been reading Steeple Hill books since the 1990s, so when I first started writing seriously, I targeted Steeple Hill as a publisher. Click here for the rest of the interview


This article I wrote originally appeared on Suite101. Head-Hopping What It Is and Why To Avoid It Many beginning writers utilize quick switches in point of view, which is not used as often these days in the publishing industry. Twenty years ago, omniscient point of view was commonly used in fiction. However, these days, a deep third person point of view is preferred most of the time (there are exceptions, naturally). In deep third person point of view, the writing is in third person but the language drops the reader into the character’s head and body. When the point of view shifts to a different character in the midst of a scene, this is called head-hopping because the reader feels as if he is hopped from one character’s head into another. Moving the reader from one character to the other so many times will often disorient the reader. This will also not allow the reader to feel connected with any one character in the scene. This reduces character sympathy and the reader m