I have good news and bad news; there’s always bad news.
First the bad news.
For years, teachers (whether at school or in creative writing workshops) have been teaching you the wrong stuff about the best way to write. You’ve been given a bum steer, as my grandfather used to say.
You’ve been sold a dud.
You see, all that stuff about flowery prose, about having a narrator tell the story and about powerful words has crept into your brain and made your writing bad.
There, I’ve said it.
Let’s not blame the teachers. Like all well-meaning busybodies, they know no better. They are just teaching you what they think is right.
Devastating I know, but dry your tears. Here comes the good news.
In the following pages, I am going to teach you how to write like a pro. I’ll show you the techniques that famous authors, such as Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, developed and used to create some of the most memorable work in literature.
And here’s the best news. It’s easy.
Well, that’s not true; it is simple but not always that easy. But I don’t think you were ready to hear that just yet, so let’s stick with easy.
You don’t believe me?
OK, here’s a simple technique that you can immediately apply to your writing. Without reading another chapter of this book, this one technique will make you a better author. Later on, we will delve into the theory behind this technique, but, at this moment, I just want to show you that I’m the real deal.
It goes like this …
Take a scene from your book (any scene, I don’t care) and then reimagine the scene as if the narrator is looking through a camera. Picture the scene in your mind’s eye. See the action and hear the words.
Now … rewrite the scene JUST describing what the narrator can see. If the narrator can’t see it, it stays off the page.
If the narrator can’t see something, it can’t go into the scene. That means, no thoughts and no internal dialogue, just plain old action and conversation.
You will be forced to describe the action as it happens.
Perhaps what is more important is what you are NOT forced to write.
If describing only what the camera can see, then two important elements are immediately removed from your writing: internal dialogue and backstory. If you need to pass on a vital nugget of information about the main character’s past, then the only option you have is to do it via dialogue. If you want to tell the reader that the main character is sad, you must SHOW the reader how the character is sad (tears, etc.), with description and actions. That means more tears and the removal of the classic “he was sad” line.
And that’s it.
If you are able to apply this Camera Technique to your work, you will be a better author.
Promise. Just try it.
The Camera Technique is the foundation of the way you will be taught to write by this book, a method of writing that will stimulate emotion in your readers and help produce memorable books.
The remainder of this book is a description of how and why this technique works so well. Yet it is not dry theory; instead, you will be given detailed and pragmatic examples of how you can apply the theory to your writing.