I’m so excited to spotlight J. Scott Savage for Utah Book Month! When I saw him posting writing tips on his blog, I knew I had to share a few of them. I also found this gem on his blog: Apparently he got mistaken for Rick Riordan at BEA. I think they totally look alike!! I bet people were like “Hey Rick. When did you get glasses??” Anyway. Here are some of my favorite writing tips from J. Scott Savage:
The key to a good beginning is to pull the reader in. It doesn’t need to be an explosion or other shocking event. It can be as simple as interesting dialog, an argument, or a first day at school. But it has to be immediate. It has to make the reader interested enough that they will turn the page. One great way to start your story is with a conflict that is not the major conflict. If you’ve never watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer, go online and watch a couple of old episodes. Notice how often there is a side story going on that ends up tying into the main story and eventually being replaced by the primary conflict. In Zombie Kid it was the new Halloween costumes. In Water Keep, it was Marcus getting attached by the bullies at his school. The great thing about a minor conflict is that it grans the reader’s attention, but doesn’t give away the whole plot. It sets up the main conflict.
You hear that? Watching Buffy the Vampire slayer is homework. I’ve never seen it. I know I’m a slacker.
You hear it all the time, but it’s still one of the mistakes I see most often with beginning writers. “Show don’t tell.” What does that mean? I’ll start by saying what it doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean only use action. It doesn’t mean you can’t use description or internal dialogue. It doesn’t mean everything has to be visual. What it does mean is that every time you find yourself telling the reader what is happening, stop and ask yourself if it would be more effective to show the scene to the reader. …. Showing is harder than telling, but it’s what makes the story come a alive in the reader’s head.
Check out his blog for many more tips. He’s doing 100 tips in 100 days so there are lots more! Be sure to check out some of his books, too. I haven’t read them yet, but they look like really fun middle grade fantasy books. (These are affiliate links that go to Amazon and I will get a very tiny amount of money if you buy anything from these links).