Author: Hope Ann

Three Ways to Use Subtext to “Show, Don’t Tell”

“Show, don’t tell.” Writers hear these three simple words over and over again as they learn to write. But how do you actually show details and when? One word: subtext. Subtext is the lifeblood of “show, don’t tell.” It is the art of understating—causing readers to feel or know a fact without mentioning it. Subtext is woven through many aspects of storytelling, but you can capitalize on it in three main areas. 1. Descriptions Every story contains descriptions, but portraying a setting is merely one function. They can also set the mood of your character, his voice, and even...

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Between Two Worlds

I lost myself in the mazes of my mind. I forgot the world around me in the whisperings of my heart. There was so much to hold me captive in the realms no one could see. Soft glowing windows; laughter and song. Cold moonless streets; betrayal and fear. Tattered parchments of legends old; treason and sacrifice, hope and despair. Brothers and fathers mentors and kings. Flashing steel glints in the rain. Hooves thunder through the storm. Dawn hushes in breathless anticipation; watchful eyes flit through the gloaming. Fireflies glitter at dusk. Blood spilt across the snow; silent tears like...

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How to Use Personality Types to Deepen Your Characters

If you’ve been an author for any length of time, you’ve probably heard about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Maybe you’re enthralled with it. Maybe you’ve glanced at the confusing muddle of letters and given up deciphering it. Or maybe you’ve heard others talk about it. Whatever the case, if you aren’t acquainted with MBTI, welcome to your introduction to personality types. Although other personality tests and categories exist, MBTI is one of the most popular. With eight letters in pairs of two (Introvert or Extrovert, iNtuitive or Sensing, Feeling or Thinking, Perceiving or Judging) and sixteen possible combinations, the...

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Three Ways You May Be Wasting Your Descriptions

Once upon a time, I thought descriptions were merely a way to give characters faces and emblazon a hazy setting. The challenge was to figure out how to balance descriptions with action so the story never stopped, while still providing a clear vision of the surroundings. Once that’s been accomplished, the writer’s work is done, right? No, not in the least (as I learned from a few beta readers who previewed one of my recent novels). Action and description do need equilibrium, and portraying the setting through a character’s observations can be a great place to start. But descriptions...

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Twenty-Seven Examples of Ways to Bend Clichés

Although some clichés used to be powerful writing tropes, they have become trite with age, bringing as much life to your story as a dead doornail. Writers are advised to avoid clichés like the plague, but don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. When manipulated properly, clichés can be worth their weight in gold. A cliché is anything that has been overused to exhaustion and beyond: a character (the villain garbed in black who chuckles evilly while petting his cat), a plot device (the mentor who inevitably perishes), or a phrase/description/metaphor (“deader than a doornail”) so timeworn that...

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