Award-winning Western author, Dusty Richards, is entertaining and informative. He was a featured speaker during the Ozarks Writers Conference in Hollister, MO, August 18-20, 2011. These are some highlights of his topics “Common Mistakes Most People Make Trying to Write Fiction” and “Writing the Novel: An Overall View”. As always, any errors are mine, not the presenters.
- Writing smoothly comes from the constant interaction between your finger and your brain. The consistent practice awakens, builds, and hones the subconscious.
- Stumped by a plot twist? Dusty says to just write the book – all questions and concerns will be answered by the end of it. It’s perfectly acceptable to write “insert fight scene here” or similar note to get you over the bump in the road and back to writing.
- Scenes should not be a win-win for the protagonist. Readers want to follow a person with problems and see ‘what kind of hell’ is going to happen to them next. Scenes should require your character to have substance and make choices.
- Write a scene, then have a sequel. Action is followed by thought, ruminating, questioning by the character. Every action deserves a reaction; statements have replies. Don’t write things that go nowhere or serve no purpose to furthering the story.
- Keep your character’s actions immediate. For the reader, the story is happening right now – they are following right behind the characters to see what they are doing.
Example: As he reached the door, he drew his gun. (As or While throws the reader into slow motion.)
He reached the door and drew his gun. (The pages turn quickly when the writing is active.)
- Do not introduce too many characters in the beginning. Bring them in gradually so the reader can build a picture of who they are and relate them to the action. Also, limit the amount of history given for the character. It bores the reader and is better used when woven skillfully into other elements of the story.
- A word about POV… your main character is the only one doing the thinking in this story. Avoid author intrusion, speaking as a narrator or an omniscient being. Let your character tell his/her own story.
“A story is not about anything…it’s about a person.” – Swaine
Dusty is nearing the release of his 108th book! Visit his site for more information. Thanks Dusty!