Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Wednesday's Writer's Tip -Writing ABC - Opening Scenes or chapters #MFRWauthor #amwriting

Now we come to what I was going to write about when I began this series. I judge a contest every year that looks at the first three pages of a manuscript and there are some things that need to be in the story's opening to entice a reader to read beyond the first paragraph. I've really expanded this to mean the opening scene and even the first chapter. If certain things aren't found the reader will turn away. This will take me several weeks but learning bit by bit is important.

The contest in question has a number of areas focused on and if by the end of the chapter they aren't there the story will fall flat. So let's look at them one by one starting today with the appearanceof the manuscript.

Here we find not only matters like spacing. I've seen pages where this is hard. Once there was one sent single spaced with no breaks for paragraphs. Just long pages of material. Not pleasant to the eye or to being able to read. Sometimes people send me excerpts for my blog where this occurs and I must go through and make the changes before the material goes up on my blog.

Next comes spelling. Remember this rule. The Spell Check doesn't always find the mispellings. For example. Lion and Loin. I've seen this mistake in my own mss and had to beat myself. He captured her hand like the loin captures its prey. Possible but producing a laugh. There are other words that are words that find themselves threaded into a mss. This needs to be checked as carefully as possible. There are times when the wrong word goes through a mss, like flare and flair. She had a flare for drams. Should be flair for drama. So look for these kind of mistakes.

Punctuation is another thing that turns readers off. Now there are commas and commas and there's a lot of talk about what is the right way to use them. I know I often suffer from the missing ?. I try very hard to put in the ones that are needed.

So ends the first part of showing the reader a book they would like to read.

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