Writers of stories give each other advice all the time on how to write better. You won't have to search very hard to find more than enough blogs to read on the subject of writing, written by writers. Since I am not a writer of fiction, I can't join in that crowd of experienced advisors, but I do read fiction and perhaps some advice from a reader instead of another writer might be an unusual change of pace - not that readers know anything about the finer points of writing, but I do know that I start to read many books and never get past the first couple of chapters, and I do know why I finish the ones I finish. Here are the 10 reasons, in order of importance, that make me finish a book:
This is some exaggeration, but my point is that a good story makes me overlook a considerable lack of writing skills, and I seldom remark on how well an author with no story to tell puts together wonderful sentences, or how vividly he describes his characters.
Character development is important (though not number one) and I don't mean to make it seem less important than it is. Sometimes, though, I find some writers get caught up with character development attributes and forget to have the characters DO something. I must admit that I like a good character, and the first step in the character's introduction into the story is his initial description.
Recently, I wrote (copied down, I mean) in this blog, or one of my blogs, the beginning pages of Charles Dickens' description of his main character, Ebenezer Scrooge. Dickens (as all writers of the classics are) was a master at description. I really enjoyed his first description of Scrooge. It made me want to find other famous characters in famous stories and read how the authors had initially described them when they introduced the characters into their story. I found a few and set them aside until a later day which has now come. Here is one.
"He was tall, but exceedingly lank, with narrow shoulders, long arms and legs, hands that dangled a mile out of his sleeves, feet that might have served for shovels, and his whole frame most loosely hung together. His head was small, and flat at top, with huge ears, large green glassy eyes, and a long snipe nose, so that it looked like a weather-cock perched upon his spindle neck to tell which way the wind blew. To see him striding along the profile of a hill on a windy day, with his clothes bagging and fluttering about him, one might have mistaken him for the genius of famine descending upon the earth, or some scarecrow eloped from a cornfield."
Since this is an American author, the above may not be instantly familiar to non-American readers. The earlier one was from Dickens, though, so it is the American author's turn.
The above example is too easy and too obvious, but I am asking anyway.