The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 133 – Tips on How to Write Fiction Well
The more you write, the better you’ll get at it. Some think that you’re naturally born as a good writer, but that’s not the case. Practice is the only thing that’ll make you better.
In this episode of the Am Writing Fantasy podcast, Autumn and Jesper aim to make your journey a bit easier with some advice on fiction writing which you can go and implement right away.
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Read the full transcript below. (Please note that it's automatically generated and while the AI is super cool, it isn't perfect. There may be misspellings or incorrect words on occasion).
You're listening to The Am writing Fantasy Podcast in today's publishing landscape, you can reach fans all over the world. Query letters are a thing of the past. You don't even need an literary agent. There is nothing standing in the way of making a living from writing. Join two best selling authors who have self published more than 20 books between them now onto the show with your hosts, Autumn Birt and Jesper Schmidt.
Hello. I'm Jesper.
And I'm on,
This is episode 133 of the am writing fantasy podcast. And then we are talking about how it well today, Right? And the, I suppose this could be both a very broad topic as well as very narrow one. All of them.
Yes. When I saw the topic for this one this morning, I was like, oh, this was the one we were like, oh, you know, we'll, we'll, we'll come up with some tips. It'll be fine. I'm thinking, I wish we had done some more specifics of it. I sat down and I wrote out some tips. I did my homework for this one. I Ramez.
Jesper (1m 7s):
Wow. That's that's good. So you're probably gonna have some very, very good tips today.
Autumn (1m 12s):
Yeah. You sure this is a couple of them. I think you probably already have on your list and I know you already have a list, so I'm not that worried.
Jesper (1m 19s):
Yes, I do have the list yet.
Autumn (1m 20s):
So I just knew that this sort of melting away or we're there in the U S at the moment. So yeah, I don't like warm weather. I always laugh when I was in a science class and found it out there. There's a fly that you think that it gets below 85 degrees Fahrenheit. There is some protein in it's brain that unwinds, it, it kind of like fall's over and ex dead and you cool it down and be like, oh yeah, there really is it all. I heard that I'm like, its true. I always send my brain kinda just like go and it gets too warm and I get too warm and I've just not myself. And I'm like, is this true? It's about 85 degree is definitely my, my threshold.
Autumn (2m 3s):
And it's, it's not, it's probably, it's supposed to be cooler today as it goes to the upper eighties, it's been in the nineties, but it's high humidity.
Jesper (2m 11s):
Like literally there's tender storms around. So we're at ed, the 90% humidity. You walk out, say side and it's like breathing water and it's just, oh I can't do that. Just know.
Autumn (2m 24s):
So you're gonna fall over at any minute now. And the act it until somebody comes in, cools you down. Good.
Jesper (2m 30s):
Yeah. So if you are suddenly left in charge of the podcast on your own, if people are listening and you're like, where's all that up. Well, that's how I passed out. It's fine please. Don't I got a cool drink and to turn off my AC for the recording. So, you know, listeners I'm care about you, but the sound quality I turned off my AC, which means we are going to wrap this one up quick. In about 10 minutes. We are going to be done on out of here. Oh, but that's okay.
Autumn (3m 2s):
It'll be a, yeah. You don't know if you saw the Instagram picture, but I, I took my dog and Dalton very well. It took my dog to the vet and he did very well. And he was so excited to get out of the cabin because of the, you know, Adam has been away north. So it just makes me and him and it's been too warm to go for a walk. You, it looks like he looks like a fizzy gig with legs. Okay. If anyone needs to picture my dog and he's a Fizzigig with legs, small legs, you are a small X. And so I hadn't been walking him is way too hot for him. He's he was bred for the Northern Scotland. He does not like the heat either, but we knew he was so excited to go somewhere to the vet. He was like whining and the car. He never whined, but the whole time.
Autumn (3m 43s):
So you would just chattering away. Then finally we got back from the, but we got out of the vet and I looked at him and he looked at me and like, you wanna go walk you so it, you know, and so even though it was so hot, I drove him to a nice, there's only so many places around here that there is forested and water for. It does not have a ton of water compared to me and where it used to live. And so we did the hike around this lake and I throw him in, had him go chiefs, frogs. He is a M predator dogs. So he loves choosing small creatures like frogs, the defenseless creatures. He likes feeling things. He is a home murderer. I sleep the next door every night.
Autumn (4m 23s):
I mean the dragon he is. So that's where it he's been. He has been the inspiration for, to have of my small sidekick characters. And by the time we got to the top part of the hike, I just looked at him and then bring it swimsuit. But screw it. I jumped in with them and we had a little bit of a swim. It was good. So how are things on your side? Yeah, well, yeah, I think for the most part is just a lot of sports on TV these days to be all right. It's an exciting though. So we have sports again, right?
Jesper (5m 0s):
Yeah. It's pretty cool. You know, and we, of course, so we're recording a bit ahead of time here. 'cause we are trying to bang some episodes to cover for some of the occasion we're of course we're still going to release episodes even though we're going to be on vacation. So we're trying to prerecord. So that's just to say that what I'm about to mention now already took place some time ago, by the time you listened to this. So that's why it might seem off a bit time wise. But anyway, we watched the world cup final in ice hockey this past weekend and it was between Canada and Finland. Oh, those are two good teams. So that's exciting. Yeah. Yeah. So it's a nerve wrecking experience.
Autumn (5m 41s):
You know, as the listeners might
Jesper (5m 43s):
Know my wife, his finished and my son's AR also finished citizens, ah, as well as Danish. So, you know, you, you can work out who we were rooting for it Canada. Not really, but honestly I feel so bad for my youngest son because during the, over it, it went to the overtime. And then I dunno if it was a couple of minutes of something into, I don't know, I don't remember it, but into the over-time one of the Finnish players makes like this slightest mistake. Oh, you know, and on this level and the world cup final, just the slightest mistake. It does not go on punished at the squat at the winning goal as sort of some of my youngest son, he was so sad that he started crying.
Jesper (6m 34s):
He was so, so sad. And even in the next day he woke up a and I ask it, I always asks him in the morning, went when the boys we go have all their way is to ask them how the slept not really good was so, so sad. I'm so sorry for this little guy you just met so much to him. Two when that final and that's he is going to need therapy is gonna remember this 20 years from now. He'll remember it. I'm sure it was like, I I'm pretty sure he was in there. It was, it was good. But we had a new channel now though, because of the European championship in sucker kicking off this week.
Jesper (7m 16s):
So nice. Actually on Saturday then Marc will play against Finland. Ow. Oh, that's cool. So who do you route for in the family? Just like, it's so much of a dilemma, but I actually, to be honest, I think its worst for my son. Then it is for me, 'cause, you know, I I'm born and raised and Denmark show. Yeah, of course I route for Denmark. Right. But that's, that's the tough one because they're both. So who do you roofer? I don't know. We can draw straws and the thing of switch halfway through this, just let the family too and to, and that's fair. No, that's just the way it is going to be.
Jesper (7m 58s):
My, my son, my son is a soccer coach. I actually asked him. So how are you gonna handle the fact that the Finland plays against them mark? And he, he is, he was sort of, you know, looking at, into the sky for the moment thinking, and then he said, well, I think I'm going to sort of paint down the middle and then I'll have Finland and then Denmark one on each side,
Autumn (8m 22s):
Narrator (8m 26s):
Oh, weak on the internet with The Am Writing Fantasy Podcast.
Jesper (8m 30s):
Okay. So I notice that the Am Writing Fantasy Facebook group has passed 5,000 members. Now I think we have 5,200 or something when I checked this morning and goodness knows. But at the time this has released, it's probably gonna be 6,000. Its crazy. There is so exciting. It's a lot of fantasy authors in one place really is. We are a very powerful and well I'd say the group, we're not even that quiet.
Autumn (8m 58s):
We're quite feisty. Like it it's fun and chatty and supportive and talk fitness, the art and characters and life and promotions. It's it's there there's always something going on in there, right?
Jesper (9m 12s):
Yeah, for sure. I, when I, I posted about the podcast episode where we talked about a worst things you can do to a character. And that was an episode 1 28 and I laughed so much. So Terri and the response, did you see that right?
Autumn (9m 27s):
No, no. I have to go in and see it. I haven't been in there. I had a small computer swapping issue that we'll discuss later, but I was kind of absorbed into fixing a problem. So no, I didn't go see it, but no, with Terry an say she is pretty funny. Yeah. And remember, we're talking about bad things to do against characters here. So, so disrespected from Terry on is of course in that nature and therefore also pretty nasty.
Jesper (9m 54s):
So can you just didn't wanna hear it?
Autumn (9m 56s):
So yes is definitely.
Jesper (9m 58s):
OK. So she said, quote, I have one that I didn't realize until after the fact that I killed every once you loves her parents, her had adoptive mother, one of her children. I'm pretty sure if she ever met me, she would slap me. And of course, oh yeah. I always, I could see that. I think in that episode I said, I always feel bad for my favorite characters because I'm so mean to them, but I know that it can take it out, but I'm so mean to them. And as you said, when I was going through my cursed phase this year and you're like, well, you're just the, you're the hero in some story. And the author thinks that you're going to, you need to be tortured a little bit for some character development.
Autumn (10m 39s):
Yeah. That's great. I love it. Yeah. I imagine, imagine you could talk to them in real life. They're like, why are you doing all this to me? Well, on the other side you will come out a better person. Just trust me. It was just like, no, I didn't want to try it. Just stopped doing it. I want an easy day, Darren. It. So whenever your yelling into the universe and this is so unfair and unjust, think about your characters talking to you. That's how they feel. Yeah. Could I just fall ones have one single chapter where nothing bad happens, please. It's a long healing because your unconscious no, no.
Jesper (11m 20s):
The, the group is definitely been so much fun recently. So I do love it over there. Yeah. So if you are a deal list, now haven't joined us yet. The just search for Am Writing Fantasy in the group section of Facebook and you will find us. Yes and no. Actually I noticed that Ernest Hemingway had the following tips when it comes to writing well, so I thought that was probably an interesting place to start. So he said sounds good, shoot.
Autumn (11m 54s):
Yeah. You said you should stop all. You should use short sentences and also right. Short, first paragraphs.
Jesper (12m 2s):
What do you think of those two tips to start off all of them?
Autumn (12m 6s):
I would say you use varied sentences, but I definitely think a short lead in sentence, especially with like your first, not how people worked so hard with that first line of their novel, but I sometimes think just a short kind of punchy one that makes you go ha is a fantastic way of opening a story and keeping that first paragraph kind of short. But I would definitely say I noticed this and I've talked with other authors about this currently because of the size of reading screens, like Kindle screens are kind of small and people need on their phones, shorter paragraphs and shorter sentences are definitely becoming the norm because you don't want to read something that is literally a wall of text on your phone screen.
Autumn (12m 50s):
So some paragraphs have gotten down to like two sentences, which sometimes I think that's crazy, but I also have to admit whenever I see something that's longer than like three sentences, I'm like, oh for goodness sakes. So in some way, or you could say it, Ernest Hemingway was way ahead of his time.
Jesper (13m 8s):
He was thinking about the Kindle before it even existed.
Autumn (13m 10s):
Exactly. And he just, he was a head of the curve.
Jesper (13m 14s):
He nailed it.
Autumn (13m 15s):
But I do you like some Hemingway quotes because he was the one who said write drunk, edit sober. I'm like, yeah, that is, that's the wonderful writing advice. So yeah. I'm not sure you're convinced About that one, but one at least, but then Right tipsy, then don't be drunk on writing. I did.
Jesper (13m 33s):
Autumn (13m 33s):
Actually just see that as a famous quote by somebody else to always be drunk on your writing because it'll keep you inspired. Okay. Yeah. That's one of those fancy quote things that sounds really good, but in reality it's right. You really like that, but probably not. But I mean, yeah. I don't know. I, I sort of have some things that sort of, it's both here and there and whatever. So I mean there was no particular order to do it.
Jesper (14m 5s):
Right. Tough. To be honest. Yeah. I did the same thing. It just, yeah. It's just some thoughts about this and that. He and they're right. Well, how come we both shared you share thought and I'll share a thought and I'm sure we have some thoughts in common because I know one of mine is, is totally already on your list. I already know it. Okay. Yeah. We can do that. So do you want me to start?
Autumn (14m 25s):
Sure. Since you've volunteered, go ahead of you or you can stop it. That's okay. If you want, you want to, if you feel like that's so important then right. If you're intimidated and want me to go first, I can do that just to make all of your mind, then you want to go, go, go, go. I'm going to melt here. Come on. Quick, quick, quick.
Jesper (14m 48s):
Yeah. Well I think for stop, there is something to be said about using like simple and direct language. I think clarity brings a lot in order to improve one's writing. So, but I think as well, I want to say that there are no like real fixed rules that you need to follow. And there's nothing like once you've learned these rules, then your writing will be the best it can ever be that this doesn't exist. And so I feel like that's probably the, one of the best things to get out there before we even get any further into this topic.
Autumn (15m 25s):
No, I totally agree. And actually that was one of the, it's not on my list, but it, it was one of my thoughts is there, there are a few rules for writing, but at the same time, there really aren't. Like I said, one of my favorite poems as the Jabber walkie, which is a hundred percent nonsensical words, but I love it cause its so much fun to say, so you don't have to even use real language. You can completely make it up and be famous for centuries. 'cause it is such a fun poem. So there really aren't any rules, but you need to take everything we say and everything that editors other authors, other readers say and figure out what fits your style and what you want to create with your writing.
Autumn (16m 8s):
But you should also, you know, if you're just learning, following some of the top guidelines will help you maybe figure out where your going with your own author, voice and style.
Jesper (16m 24s):
Yeah. I agree in that. I think as well that, I mean, of course we're going to, we're going to share some tips here and of course is not that wants you just ignore tips and I, it, it's a good take on board, the good advice and so on and, and, and figure out what works for you. But at the same time, I think the point is just don't follow it blindly, you know?
Autumn (16m 49s):
Oh, he's be purposeful. Yes. But do you think that makes sense, but for your first one where you talked about brevity, I mean, I agree that's such a, I mean there's so many, there are so many quotes about you. No kill your darlings, cut out the flour and the language. You know, if it, the fewer words that you can use to say something really helps you don't need to be over prosaic. There are some genres, maybe the literary genres and stuff where you, where those flowery prosaic languages are fun and they're more accepted, but mostly, I mean, fantasy has some beautiful descriptions, but then it has a lot of, you know, action and things happening and punchy language.
Autumn (17m 30s):
I especially love short, punchy sentences. It helps me to know some really long ones. Yeah. So figure out you'd do some varied, but I definitely, I recently had an editor say that they had never read a story. I think how did she say it that, you know, use their was so well-described and so vivid and real, but you such minimal amount of words. Very I'm very minimalistic, I guess in my word choice, I don't repeat myself, but I don't have tons of weird new words. I just, I want the story to shine. Not how I say the story, right? No. Yeah. It makes a lot of sense. Alright. So are you ready for my first tip?
Jesper (18m 12s):
Yep. For sure.
Autumn (18m 13s):
Some how this became a competition again.
Jesper (18m 14s):
I think so. Well, yeah, that's it. I was just thinking about it before and then I thought, well, I'm not going to say anything because I don't want to draw attention because the point of this episode is really not to make one of our top 10 coroner, the source of competition listed at all. So I'm going to stay away from that. And I'm just going to listen to your advice now.
Autumn (18m 32s):
All right. Well, mine is, is a typical one that you'll hear everywhere, but I have a specific purpose for it, but I would say if you want to learn to write, well, you do need to read and read in your genre. But I would say don't just read. My advice is actually to take your favorite book and rip it apart and find out why does your favorite book? What makes it tick? What is the plot? How are characters introduced? What are the sentence likes? What is your favorite scene? Don't just read it, but actually pull it apart and look under the hood and see what's there. It's like your own little study. You know, if you're in high school is your, your private study tasks or whatever when you're going to work on your own.
Autumn (19m 14s):
So do that. It really helps. I think to look at something you absolutely adore and not just say I love it. That's my favorite book with is find out why one in it. Do you really love? And you will learn probably more from that than I think I did in my college classes on the writing. So go and go and tear it apart.
Jesper (19m 36s):
Look it adverb reuse. That'll really tell you and your genre, how may or how often you should be using adverbs, how often you, you should be using SED versus growled or whispered, looked at your favorite story and don't mimic it, but pull it apart. C why you like it? I put it back together in your own style and see what you create. Yeah, I think I remember you said at some point as well, that when you need it to get your head into the right sort of writing mentality or writing space, then you read, or you read a bit of George RR Martin, I think you set at some point and then your right back into where you want to be.
Autumn (20m 10s):
Yeah. He, there is something about his writing that is so fluid and concrete in this deep point of view that I can re I have a few favorite paragraphs and some pages that I can read one of his, and it's just, it instantly resets my mind at this is the level of writing I want to do and I can get back into my own voice, but it reminds me of the voice that I'm trying to find.
Jesper (20m 34s):
Yeah. I'm still struggling with that. To be honest, I fully agree with, with your response or you advise in terms of reading aloud in this genre. And I do that as well. I, I always, I'm always reading a book, one book on the other, but I think, I don't know why, but I'm really struggling with finding something that I really like. Mmm. Most of it, I try to even pick up the stories that are hugely popular and stuff like that. And I just don't, I don't, I don't, they don't engage me very well. I don't know what's going on. Maybe I'm just weird. I don't know. I don't disagree. The last three or four books I've picked up.
Jesper (21m 16s):
I've been frustrated and the little disappointed and yeah, its I'm in a definitely, I'm trying really hard to find something I'm enjoying. I'm actually thinking, I want to go read some open sticking to it like an epic fantasy and regular fantasy, you know, heroic fantasy.
Autumn (21m 34s):
I actually think I want to go read some literary fantasy, which has a stronger emphasis on foreshadowing and really deep plots as well as really strong characters. So you sometimes don't do as well in the characters, but I think I just want to cut my teeth on something with some really strong plot lines. Cause if I read something else that is nonsensical, I'm going to bash my head against the wall or my kid at all or something.
Jesper (21m 58s):
Yeah. I'm not going to mention the name of either of the book or the author here, but I am reading the one that is insanely popular right now at the moment. I, I, I'm only okay. To be honest, I'm an only like 15% into it. It it's a very, very long book, like fantasy books sometimes. Huh. But if it's just not engaging at all, I mean the writing is okay, but it it's in the past episode we talked about writing and the point of view and with just the way we ride and that is so much more engaging and this is not really. And the point of view is so it's a bit like, yeah, I dunno. It's a bit boring, but that's off topic now, but I just want to, yeah, it was just your tip there made me think about how even sometimes if you pick up some very, very popular books and you start reading them, they might not really do much for you.
Autumn (22m 49s):
So yeah. But again, that only just support the fact that you should read a lot because your, you know, keep reading different books and so on. Yeah. And that's why I said, yeah, don't just read. Don't just pull apart any books or whatever it is. Your favorite book, you read that one, figure it out. Why it's your favorite? That's the worst.
Jesper (23m 9s):
Yeah. That's a good advice. All right. Okay. Then the next one here is it might be the one that I feel is the most important one, to be honest, maybe because this is very simple, in some extent, in some sense, but also very complicated, but it is really figuring out what you want to say.
Autumn (23m 31s):
Oh, I like that because anyone can string sentences together, but you need to have a story to tell. Yes. And outlining really helps here. To be honest, I was going to ask you you're into that. You should learn the plot and we'll all right.
Jesper (23m 48s):
Yeah. We, of course, do we have a full step-by-step hook on how to plot a novel, but if you're interested, you, you can search for plot development on Amazon and you'll find it, but we should really not why it was mentioning it. The reason I'm mentioning it is that going through the motions of trying to understand your story before you just start writing, even if you, even if you're not applaud and you don't wanna do like a full of plot or whatever, but trying to get your mind around, what is this story really all about? And what is it that I really want to say that will help your writing tremendously and make this story so, so much better then when you just sort of doing a brain dump on the page.
Jesper (24m 29s):
Autumn (24m 29s):
I agree. Yeah. I mean, whether you outline or like I said, I, I, we have YouTube videos on just a 15 minute, half an hour outline, which can do so much for guiding you in a direction, even if you're a pantser. But yeah, I think knowing the purpose of the story and maybe the theme of the story, all of those things can really want, it will help you right. Faster. 'cause you'll know you're going and the right direction. Your not just wondering leaf through the maze lost, but it'll really help you make a better story. And you'll write better. Because I mean, the point is, is to write a story and to tell tales, there's times that I'm like, oh, this is so cool. I want to go into that, but I don't have to be a short story of somewhere else.
Autumn (25m 12s):
It, it doesn't really involve what is important for the story. And this plot are the subplot. It, it doesn't really need to be in there. So that'll help you with your writing. And so that you're not having readers, I work coaching with other authors and you don't want your, we are going, why didn't you mention this name? Why did you bring this up? And then you never mentioned it again. Oh my gosh. I hate it. When I read that as a reader, that your, like, why didn't you tell me this? If you never do anything with it, and that's a good point about the YouTube videos. So then we have like, I dunno, I will guess like modern 150 video is probably on the Am Writing as a YouTube channel.
Jesper (25m 48s):
So if you need to find some inspiration about how to do a plot four series or a shorter plot overview or what, probably whatever you can think of almost go to the Am, Writing Fantasy as a YouTube channel, because they're actually YouTube videos on their that is not on this podcast feed. Right. It's all right. That's the first one is before we switched to you.
Autumn (26m 10s):
Yeah. Yeah. Before we switched to podcasting, we did YouTube videos. So there's probably like a hundred videos, I would guess that it's not on the podcast feet. So yeah. Go, go and explore a bit then if you, if you need some help, so you'll definitely find videos. That'll help you. You taught me what B rolls, where we had those or some really good videos.
Jesper (26m 29s):
So I think we still get comments on them. So I know people are still watching though. So yeah. Only wanting is to some of those videos are very old. So the first video is on the channel. They with those, well, not professionally reduced in this political like that, the advice are good, but the production value is not right. I mean, we all improve in time.
Autumn (26m 50s):
Right, right. Yeah. Yeah. Indeed. You ready for my second tip?
Jesper (26m 56s):
Yup. Go ahead.
Autumn (26m 57s):
All right. Mine is learn the craft, very vivid characters. And I was going to say realistic, but I don't actually mean realistic because I hate to say it real people, real people could be a little boring. It. So you want someone who is personality, who a friend once said, this, describe this other person to me that they were like a motorboat when everyone else was at the canoe. And like their weight just kinda topples you right over. That's kind of what you want your characters to be that whole idea of larger than life. But you also want them to feel like they really could exist. So there are three dimensional. They have likes and dislikes.
Autumn (27m 39s):
Those are really important to you by creating a character that is just beautiful overpowers, maybe, and so many ways, but it also feels like someone, you really want them to be your friend or you desperately do not want them to be your enemy. Create those types of characters and people are gonna be like, whoa. Wow. That is amazing. Right?
Jesper (28m 1s):
No agree. And characters with the characters. Those are why people come back to the stories. It, it is not the old wall plopped on the day. What really engaged as the reader is to character. So fully agreed at, at this insane, the important it, it might not be directly.
Autumn (28m 20s):
Well. Yeah, just some, it depends on how we interpret improving the writing. It, it, it's not specific writing.
Jesper (28m 29s):
So, but, but again, my, my, my point about figuring out what you want to say, it's not Pacific Pacific to the sentences either.
Autumn (28m 36s):
Right. So, but it's yeah. It's about storytelling, I guess. Yes. How do we know how to tell your story better? How's that? Yeah. Yeah, indeed. So when you have two ones that I'm like short and quick, one of them we already touched upon too. I'll just get those out of the way. And then I'll move on to the T two to another one. Okay. So the first one you talked upon that don't use the complicated words. So I had that one as well. And then another variation of that is use different metaphors. That what you used, you used to see, you know, find new ways of saying something that, that will improve the writing quite a lot as well. And so that, that was to small, easy ones, but that's a good one.
Jesper (29m 17s):
We get out the way. And then the next one I have here is any words that can be stripped out without losing the meaning. Cut it out every time as the more, once you remove the bed and the story we'll get.
Autumn (29m 34s):
All right. I agree. I was just probably a point where you have removed too many, but occasionally losing meaning that's true. It without losing, meaning it, occasionally I do it because I'm, you know, the, the editor hat usually on, in the two of us and I'm often taking it out words, but then all of a sometimes stop and be like, I needed that, right. I'll be like this, I'm adding something massively something, or being a massively booming. You, you know, something I'm adding in there because those words are fun. It's good to remember to put in some of those fun adverbs, the occasionally, but it is. And there's times where I'm editing and I'm like, okay, there's four words that I can turn into one.
Autumn (30m 18s):
And I will always switch to something that is, or miss Ernest Hemingway must be, you know, I'm channeling him at times. I just really likes, just shortened up the sentences to drop all of the does. They call it sticky sentences, which is what I learned through pro writing aid. I didn't know they had a term, but when you have something that has all those filler words, like in the, a, all of those little ones that we really don't have, meaning there, the, just the little bit's there, that kinda connect everything with two, the more of this stuff, you can remove the sh punchier in more concrete, your sentences, our, and the more you get out of them, you don't get lost. And all of those little words that your, like, why are we, are we going with the sentence?
Autumn (31m 1s):
You don't want it to have those sticky ones. They make people just stop and go, wait, I have to start over again. I don't know what you were saying.
Jesper (31m 9s):
No, I agree. Absolutely.
Autumn (31m 11s):
All right. Yeah. So I actually went to the ones on my list was learned, apply it, but I think we kinda, we kinda covered that one is important, but I would say for fantasy again, this is not a sentence structure, one, which is funny. I'm employed, I'm the editor and I'm avoiding all the sentence structure ones, but I would say, learn to world, build something unique and then learn how to share it with readers without info dumping or confusing the crap out of them. What are the stories I just recently read, which is interesting, because I actually meant to mention this one with the characters as well. But again, I won't mention any names, but it was an impressive world and this was not Brandon Sanderson.
Autumn (31m 55s):
I would say that it, it was someone else and very impressive world. And really in depth, all this history, I was so freaking confused, you know, horrible job explaining any of how it related to the world and how old, who these people and God's in all of these things. We're I literally had two, I finish the book and I kinda had an idea of it. And then I read through the glossary and then I'm like, oh, they'll still don't get it. It's sad. I had to literally just suspend my own questioning or I would never have gotten past probably the third chapter, because I'm like, this doesn't make sense where you please explain what the frig you were talking about.
Autumn (32m 40s):
He just horrible. And he was the same way with some character. Is he literally didn't describe the character, a sidekick. It's all three quarters of the worst of the novel. Up until that point. I knew one thing about the sidekick. Okay. Well, how it looked at three quarters of the ways through the novel, I've finally got a description. It was like, thank you read. I've got an hour to revise everything, but I just thought of till now, but he also did the same thing with it. It was one of the first times I've read a book where I can, honestly, I see a lot of authors saying, you know, I don't know how to right. Men, if they're all women or a woman saying, I don't know how to write.
Autumn (33m 22s):
So men take it. I don't know how to right women. So all of the few times I can say you have two types of women in your novel assassin coldhearted or mousy and an insane. And was it, so then I say it, right? Vivid characters, right? Vivid characters of every genre at color race, no one should be one of two characteristics because I finished it going. I don't care who is buying this book. They're not women. I read it. And I'm kind of like this almost insulting I'm either. So these are my two types of characters. So learn the moral build and learn how to describe things.
Autumn (34m 3s):
It makes sure you described things appropriately, but tone info dump it. So that's, that's, that's circled back to what my point was is you should create something amazing in this world that I just read was really, truly unique and amazing. I think for what the hits I caught out of it. I, I assume it, it seemed it under the hood from what I was gathering. I just don't know how it works.
Jesper (34m 30s):
It reminds me of the advice to give when you are to Reed, the Silmarillion, have you ever read that one?
Autumn (34m 37s):
No, I haven't. I will. I swear.
Jesper (34m 40s):
Yeah, I have it all my Kindle. And I'm going to read it for the second time, but it, it is, it's a very nerdy book to read, of course, because it's not really a story as such. It's more like a wool compendium, but their advice when reading the Silmarillion. So I can give this to you now. That is, since you haven't read it, but the device is just read it. You know, you're going to get like 250 names of this, on this father to that blah, and do not try to understand who is, who just read and ignore it because you're gonna get so lost and you have no idea, five pay it later. What the heck is actually who, here we go, it's impossible to follow full glossary's and all that, but I just forget it.
Jesper (35m 22s):
I just read it for, you know, the history of the world and just ignore.
Autumn (35m 27s):
All right. Okay. All right. It that's the only way to read the Silmarillion the, without going insane, right.
Jesper (35m 34s):
Autumn (35m 35s):
I will keep that in mind this speaking of that, and don't know if you're, so I just saw and share it on Patriot and Patriot how to create your own magic book. I'm just going to stick with my own philosophy of how to do that. And I'll ignore the similarity. I can't even pronounce it today. And I told you what my brain is slowly, this proteins, all we need to speed it up. All right. But yeah, so I'm going to, I will save that for later in cooler weather.
Jesper (36m 5s):
Okay. I found a piece of advice from George Orwell. Now this is not something new to most of us, I think, but at the same time, it's, it's a good reminder. That is not to use passive voice when you can use active voice.
Autumn (36m 26s):
That's a good reminder.
Jesper (36m 28s):
Yeah. So the example all with all wheel uses was the Mann was spitting by the dock that is very passive at this very passive and not very engaging. And it is better to say the DOK with the man is active and it's much more engaging. And again, we talked about the point of view we early on, and if you right, and the point of view, you usually do not have the passive voice problem as much at least.
Autumn (36m 52s):
Yes. And I, I, it's funny. I have seen that with editing a lot of books. I do it too, that I often see something in passive voice that you don't need to have to switch to the now. And they have, like, she was sitting down. You can just change that to, as she sat down. Yeah. I've noticed that if you see a was, and then a verb adding an ending and an I a T G I can guarantee you that is the verb. That should be where the was was, or was it is most, what is it just became a talk to her Susan episode. And I I've just seen it so many times. I maybe, because I'm like editing like crazy since like may or April or something, but I just I've seen that so often.
Autumn (37m 38s):
And so many different authors that I'm like, this is really, it could just be, I don't see any one else having this roll, but if you have a was, and some of the verb finding and ending an ING, it is just getting rid of the, was it turned the verb into the act of choice. That's all you need is perfect. It'll be like, you're writing that much stronger because you'll be an active voice and it will not be this kind of passive. Oh, is that she was sitting down? No, she sat, she just sat down. So it's fine. Yeah, no, and dude.
Jesper (38m 8s):
Yeah. And it was funny. My next one was M to right. Informative and punchy dialogue. So I think we covered that. All right.
Autumn (38m 16s):
Yeah, I did. Yeah. I like punchy dialogue. My editor sometimes does it like my punchy dialogue, but I like my punchy dial. OK. But so my, as one is actually my last one on my list is to add humor to your writing. So yeah, a lot of is a tough one for a of people. I mean, a lot of authors use romance or friendship as a good subplot as a way of binding characters is getting an emotional event investment from the reader. But there's that old saying that if you can laugh together, you can stay together. When they talk about marriages, it's also true with your characters and with your readers.
Autumn (38m 57s):
If you can make them laugh out loud, they will kind of love your book just the little bit more of than even a romance scene. So keep that in mind. I liked snarkey characters and I loved sarcasm. So I, you know, you're gonna definitely find that on my books. But then at times it's, I've had a few Maverick meanie at kind of characters. And even in the book, I just read that I couldn't understand the world. And I didn't really like some of the female characters because there were like one of two types, except for the main, the hero's wife who ended up in prison for three quarters of the novel doing absolutely nothing. But anyway, there were parts the parts of the book.
Autumn (39m 38s):
I absolutely adored because some of the banter between characters and this kind of devil may care, sarcastic attitude. I'm like, dude, I like you. So that overcomes quite a lot of sins.
Jesper (39m 53s):
No, I agree. I agree. Fully a M adding human makes a huge difference, but I personally find it very, very difficult also to come up with something that feels like smart enough, if you know what I mean, my name of humor is it's difficult. I think so. And so I do think it's funny cause I know when the best scenes I come up with our, one of those, one's like, you know, your in the middle of the cooking dinner or something, you're like, oh, this was the perfect dialogue. And you have to basically burn everything is shut everything off and do you run it right? It down. There's something about humor where I think it just is something that comes, you can create it at another thing.
Autumn (40m 34s):
It comes from inspiration. But when it comes, you're like, oh, this is the perfect. So I do think, but it, if you could develop that, learn it. I don't know. Do it learn the improv? That would be a good class to learn, to do some fun humor and you just come up with some stuff. Yeah. But I think it will really, it would add a lot to a lot of stories that I read and they seem good, but man, if you can make me laugh and especially if you start T my goal and every, every interaction with people is to make them snort the hot or very cold liquid. That is perfect. Oh yeah.
Jesper (41m 14s):
That's good advice. I have two more and then I think that's it they're short. So the first one is just very simple, but make sure to hook the reader.
Autumn (41m 24s):
Oh yes. That's simple, but very effective. It is. And I think M not to make you take longer, but we say hook and people understand concept, but I think sometimes they don't realize what that actually means and concrete advice. And its, it can be anything that you just want to make them read the next sentence, whether its curiosity, whether it's and emotional outcome, you just wanna make some, keep reading and all hooking. It is it's, there's a lot of different ways of doing it from emotions to curiosity to, I don't know.
Jesper (41m 58s):
So shadowing excitement. Yeah. That's all you do. It's finding that reason that the, you hit the paragraph or the period and you go, no, I got to know what comes next. Yeah. I mean, especially with the first chapter,
Autumn (42m 11s):
Of course that's important
Jesper (42m 15s):
And the next one is also a very short, but I just sort of general good advice. Just not really about the writing itself, but it's more taking a break from it and you know, walk away from your writing, leave it alone for a bit and then come back and have a look at it with a fresh pair of eyes. That's usually going to help a lot to improve the text. I think so too, especially if you're editing or you're writing and you do hit that wall, especially to me editing, if you, if the words are starting to run together and you were just kind of fed up or you're, if you find yourself trying to finish on an artificial deadline, that you were completely a hundred percent in control of walk away from it don't force yourself.
Autumn (43m 0s):
I admit, I just kind of took a weekend break. I meant to like edit a zillion chapters and instead I finished reading a book and then I did a really good drawing. Sorry, Jesper. I didn't get my editing done, but I've felt so much better when I opened it up on Monday, I was like, oh, you know, boom, boom, boom. Just got stuff done. It floats so nicely. So yeah. Everyone needs a break every once in a while, once and awhile for sure of it. Yeah. And I think sort of maybe to round things off, I think it's worth saying that the more you're right, the better you'll get at it and why I'm saying that it is because some, some people think that you were like natural born as a good writer, but that's not the case.
Jesper (43m 49s):
You know, practice is the only thing that'll make you better. Yeah. And of course it is challenging, especially because writing is very objective. Then that only makes it even more challenging, but you get better as you go along and it also gets easier as you go along.
Autumn (44m 5s):
So it looked at me. I sometimes we could do things in reverse, but in general it gets easier, but you have to. So I live in reverse sometimes too, but I agree. I mean, when I look back at my debut novel versus what I'm writing, now you get a better, you get better. Your next book. There's a certain point where you have done the best you can for your skill level right now. Just go to your next story. It's okay. And just keep writing.
Jesper (44m 40s):
So amen. So next Monday we are doing something slightly different because we have collected a bunch of questions from our listeners and we are going to answer as many as we
Narrator (44m 54s):
Can. If you like what you just heard, there's a few things you can do to SUPPORT THE AM WRITING FANTASY PODCAST. Please tell a fellow author about the show and visit us at Apple podcast and leave a rating and review. You can also join Autumn and Jesper on patrion.com/AmwritingFantasy For as little as a dollar a month, you'll get awesome rewards and keep The Am Writing Fantasy Podcast, going, stay safe out there and see you next Monday.
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 143 – Tips on Book Marketing to Different Generations
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 142 – What to do Every Day to Become a Better Writer
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 141 –Top 10 WORST Powers to Have
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 140 – How to Get a Literary Agent for Your Book (with Jane Friedman)
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 139 – Does Race & Gender REALLY Matter in Fantasy?
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 138 – Book Pre sales vs Pre orders
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 137 – How to Maintain Your Story's Flow
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 136 – Top 10 Worst Characters EVER!
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 135 – How Beta Readers Improve Your Writing—with Pam Burleson & Paul Kilpatrick
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 134 – A Bit About Our Writing—Listener Q&A!
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 132 – Top 10 WORST People to Ever Teach Magic
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 131 – Jeff Wheeler on Amazon as a Publisher and Writing Fantasy
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 130 – What is the Emotional Plot?
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 129 – Our Favorite Book Sales Tracker and Why You Need One
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 128 – Top 10 Reasons Why Your Character Will HATE You
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 127 – What Fantasy Readers are Looking For—with Damon Courtney
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 126 – Magic Systems Explained
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 125 – What is Deep POV and How Can it Help Your Story?
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 124 – Will Social Media Actually Help to Sell Books?
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