Saturday, May 12, 2012

Finding My Style

Writing fiction is a lot like writing broadcast news.  Rule #1: Never let the facts get in the way of a good story. 

Only kidding.

Seriously, my work as a news producer has heavily influenced my style as a want-to-be published author.

It's A Diamond Ring!

In a news script, you begin with the most interesting part of the story.  Forget the slow reveal.  You want to hook the reader/viewer immediately.  A professor of mine gave this analogy: you wrap up a present, put it in pretty packaging and then hand it to your wife only to say "It's a diamond ring!"  She'll unwrap it right because she wants a diamond ring.

Let me show you what I mean when it comes to news stories.  Here are a couple of hook lines, or as we call them in the news biz, lead lines.

"One of the most powerful Mormons in America supports gay-marriage."

"The LDS Church broke ground on its second temple in Provo"

"The LDS Church is throwing a lot of money at the U's new law school"

"Less people are racing for the cure"

The idea is to tell people exactly what is inside the present.  You can then get to the details later, namely the Who, What, When, Where and Why.  Or if you prefer, the plot.  You hook/sell the reader and then you tell them your story. 

Who Says That Anyway?

Write conversationally.

I love reading.  News, non-fiction, fiction, editorials, blogs, scriptures, etc.  I devour the written word.  Sometimes though I read something and think, "Who talks like that?"  It pulls me out of the message the writer is trying to communicate.

If a character would talk like that, great, you've given him/her a unique voice.  Reading out loud is the best method for making sure you are writing conversationally. 

I would never say, "It was the best of times it was the worst of times" so you probably won't see me writing it. 

Save Me :03

I often will fish for extra time by tweaking a script.  I remove any repetitive lines.  After all, if you say it once, you don't need to say it again.  Let me repeat, if you say it once you don't need to say it again.  (Yes, I do find myself funny)  I also will phrase things differently.  Ideally I am making it more simple and as a result, more conversational. My goal is to save time.

"Really Tyson, you cut that line?  What?  It is going to save you three seconds."

"I know, if I do that enough I can fit in several more stories into my newscast."

I found it fascinating that publishers want "copy"(a news term) also known as the manuscript, as concise and precise as possible. 

Play Well With Others

Writing (fiction) is a hobby of mine.  Writing (news) is also a huge part of my career.  That's part of the reason I love what I do.  My training in news writing definitely has helped shape my fiction writing.  I try to write clearly, conversationally, concisely and compelling-ly(I know, I made that word up).

Do any of your hobbies play well with your career?

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