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Posts tagged ‘Cormac McCarthy’

Test your story’s beginning with these five questions

Writing page one can be daunting considering how important it is to hook readers and reel them into our stories. Beginnings are where we establish a relationship with our readers. We want them to eagerly anticipate the journey we’ve created for them. So what does the beginning of your poem, memoir, novel, or short story telegraph to your reader?

Consider these elements as you begin writing or revising:

1. How can I surprise readers? One way of grabbing readers’ attention is by using contrast, unusual language, or upsetting their established view of something.

2.  What question will I answer? Every story — at its heart — has a mystery or question that we the writer must answer. Does your beginning hint at this mystery or question? Read more

Masters of emotion: five books that show how to convey character emotions

Recently, I wrote a post about character emotions and how to write about the body. Below are five books from my reading library that show different ways of conveying character emotions:

1. Bastard out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison. Note her use of specific detail, imagery, and metaphor to show bodily feelings and her characters’ emotions.

2. The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Notice how his spare language conveys the post-apocalyptic world of his setting and characters.

3. Elegy for Iris by John Bayley. The author writes about his wife Iris Murdoch, a well-known author, and her decent into Alzheimer’s disease. Notice the way he describes both her emotional state and his own through specific details.

4. Road Dogs by Elmore Leonard. Notice how the characters’ dialogue so effectively conveys their emotions and shows us who they are.

5. The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende. Allende is a passionate Chilean writer. Notice how her passion underlies every sentence of her work and how it pulls you into the story.

I hope you enjoy these! Please share some of your favorite books that are good examples of how to describe character emotions.