Use Storybreaking to Edit Your Novel

One of the hardest things about editing your book is keeping all of the information straight and in the right order. That’s one reason I advocate for outlining. A plain outline doesn’t suit everyone during the drafting process, but once we reach the editing phase, having a visual depiction of the story will help us edit more efficiently.

One technique that’s not often taught to novel writers is storybreaking, which is a screenwriting technique. Screenwriter Vik Rubenfeld calls storybreaking “The Most Important Hollywood Writing Technique You’ve Never Heard Of.”

When Rubenfeld wrote his article, he expressed surprise that more writers don’t know this technique. He linked to this interview with Vince Gilligan, a screenwriter for The X-Files and one of the creators of Breaking Bad. Continue reading

Maintaining Truth in Narrative Nonfiction

A special challenge of narrative nonfiction is deciding how closely you want to stick to the truth. Do you want to be fully dedicated to it, come what may? Or do you want to soften some blows, change some names to protect the guilty? Maybe you feel a little creative exaggeration will make for a more engaging story.

There is a very real danger in drifting from the truth when you write your story as narrative nonfiction. Remember that the difference between narrative nonfiction and other types is that narrative uses fiction techniques to tell a true story. That does imply that the story is still true.

true story

Illustration © neirfy • Fotolia

Continue reading

Populate Your Book with Engaging People

We’ve talked about what sort of nonfiction you may be writing and why it’s important to use stories to make your point. Now we’re ready to dig into the Nonfiction Checklist. The first category, Personality, is equivalent to Character in fiction.

The type of nonfiction you’re writing will determine whether you need to include characters or not. In most nonfiction genres, character development is not critical. If you’re just mentioning someone in an anecdote or case study, we only need to know enough about them to supply context for the illustration. Continue reading