Apr 19, 2011

P is for Prose

First up today, I'd like to properly pass on the award given to me by Karen Walker to another blogger whose posts I read almost religiously. Janice Hardy is the author of the Healing Wars series. Her posts on writing advice and techniques are invaluable to writers both new and experienced.

So Janice, I'd like to pass on the Creative Blog Award to you:

The awesomeness of Janice's posts lead nicely into today's topic, Prose.

Love it or hate it, we have to write within a certain framework. Keeping our prose clear, concise, but at the same time engaging and fluid, is key to writing a great book. The most original story in the world won't be worth a thing if you can't tell it right, and that's where prose comes in.

We live in an age where it's easier than ever to learn about any subject. We really can't afford any excuses for not using a spell or grammar check, or picking up a book on grammar and syntax. Words are our tools, and we need to make sure we know how to use them. This doesn't have to be a chore, however. It can be truly rewarding to start playing with writing conventions and using subtle techniques to alter how the reader experiences our work.

When you're writing a tense scene, consider using a longer sentence structure early on in. The flow of the words, carefully used, can instil either an initial sense of security and control. Then intersperse this with shorter sentences, perhaps even one or two-word phrases. These create uncertainty. Used well, the juxtaposition of slightly longer, rational description, and then a short, sharp emotional burst can ramp up the adrenaline and urge the reader on.

Take time to practice, use your beta readers and crit partners for advice and as sounding-boards. Let how you craft your words be as important to your writing as your themes and character motivation.


  1. Your blog exhibits examples of wonderful prose.

  2. Janice: You're welcome! I've gotten a lot from your blog since I started following.

    Karen: Thanks!

    Tracy: Glad you liked it.