The Short Humour Site

Home : Writers' Showcase : Submission Guidelines : A Man of a Few More Words : Links

Writers' Showcase

How to Write Fiction
by Wayne Scheer

Throw away all your how-to-write books. This series on the art of fiction will tell you everything you need to know about pleasing editors--because it's editors you're writing for, not real people. The author of forty three self-published novels has spent many years honing his craft. Now for a mere $4.99 a month, you can get writing tips you won't believe.

Here are a few gems to get you started on the write road. (Editors love puns.)

You're always told to hook your reader with the first sentence, but never how to do this. Offer a weather report. What does the sky look like? The temperature? Barometric pressure.

Impress editors with your meteorological knowledge. Weather reports also offer a chance to start with a long paragraph, and who doesn't love a long paragraph? If you can toss in a big word or two, all the better. Remember, you're a writer, not a mime, so show off your vocabulary. Don't just say the sky was gray, tell whether the clouds were cirrus or cumulus. Even better, were they cumulonimbus or nimbustratus?

Once the editor is caught like a fastball in a catcher's mitt, let the story flow--flow being a technical term for long sentences with lots of commas.

Use similes and metaphors whenever possible. Don't worry. Hardly anyone knows the difference. Just compare stuff to other stuff. Like a ringing telephone to a yodeling mountaineer. That's called literary style.

Never mind a plot. It's more important to have an interesting voice. This is where fiction and political speech writers join hands.

Make your characters unique. Do this by giving them interesting names-- first, middle and last names, including maiden names. The Russians do it; no reason you shouldn't.

And ascribe each of them memorable characteristics. Limping, stuttering and lisping work well.

Don't write dull, he said/she said dialogue. No one reads Hemingway anymore. Interject whenever possible. “ I love that about you,” she smiled sardonically.”

Whenever you're not sure of a particular point of grammar or punctuation, remember this:  Proofreading is a bore/That's what editors are for.

When it's time to conclude your story, surprise your reader. “Franklin woke up and it was all a dream.” I suggest an additional twist: “Or was it?”  Editors lap up this kind of story.

This should kickstart your literary caboose. Next installment, only $4.99, will offer tips on writing nasty letters to unappreciative editors.