Writing Techniques: Master Post
June 23, 2015
In this series, I share writing techniques on various topics. I think it's important for writers to share knowledge with each other, since in most of the creative writing classes that I've attended . . . I wasn't really ever taught any writing techniques.
If you've ever attended a creative writing class you'll know this phenomenon. A friend once described it to me perfectly: In a cooking class, you are taught how to make a soufflé during the lesson. In a creative writing class you're usually asked to make a soufflé at home without a recipe, then bring it in to class, and then everyone sits around and critiques the soufflé, and there's always someone who says things like, "This isn't a good roast chicken". Sometimes you will even discuss soufflé theory. But at no point does anyone ever actually teach you how to make a soufflé.
So writers are stuck learning alone, desperately extrapolating and reverse-engineering techniques from reading other people's books, the same techniques that other writers have learned before them, and before them.
I expect the techniques to range from the simple to the more complex, with topics like pacing, plotting, character creation, dialogue, narrative traction, or just how to achieve specific effects. If I come across an interesting technique in a fiction book I'm reading, I'll try to break it down and work out how it is accomplished technically by the writer in a way that is understandable and reproducible.
A complete list of writing technique posts
How to start writing when you have no ideas