Our guest blogger today is award-winning author and college creative writing instructor David Pereda. He is the regional director of Florida Writers Association's Western North Carolina division and the founder of Asheville Writing Enthusiasts (AWE). His latest novel, However Long the Night, published by Eternal Press on February 7th, has won two awards already and has been earning excellent reviews.
LASR: What are some of the things beginning writers should do to improve their craft?
David: First thing they should do is know the basic tools of writing and learn how to use them properly.
LASR: Basic tools of writing – you mean like a hammer, nails, or a saw?
David: Good analogy. Good writers, like good carpenters, know their tools and know how to use them. While a carpenter’s basic tools might be a hammer, nails and a saw, a writer has basic tools too.
LASR: And what are those?
David: The three basic tools of a writer are narrative summary, description and dialogue.
LASR: That’s it?
David: That’s it. Those are the basic tools that help writers build memorable stories. The difference in the quality and poignancy of the stories has to do with how well or how badly writers use those tools – the techniques of writing.
LASR: Would you give a brief description of those tools for our readers?
David: Sure. Narrative summary tells readers what happens offstage. It’s a scene that is told rather than shown and is usually used to bring in the backstory – or “the history” of what happened before the story began. To use computer jargon, narrative summary takes place offline. The best use of narrative summary in modern fiction is simply to connect scenes. It should be brief and used with discretion. Too much narrative summary will bog down your story.
LASR: What about description and dialogue?
David: Description is the depiction of a locale or person. While description adds color and richness, it should be used sparingly. A hundred years ago, writers - who were often paid by the word -- indulged in pages and pages of description. Modern readers, "trained" by TV, film and the Internet, are much more impatient. So, however beautiful you believe you write description, don't overindulge or you'll lose your readers.
LASR: I’d better watch that. And what can you tell our readers about dialogue?
David: Dialogue is an invented language that resembles everyday speech. Dialogue in fiction breaks the monotony of lengthy descriptive passages, advances the action and lends insight and personality to characters. Pitch-perfect dialogue involves conflict, either internal or external.
LASR: Thank you for being our guest blogger today, David. It’s been quite informative. Would you consider being our guest again in the future to discuss more writing techniques?
David: It would be my pleasure. Thank you for inviting me to be your guest today.
To find out more about David Pereda or his new novel visit: www.davidpereda.com
A member of MENSA, Pereda is the regional director of the Florida Writers Association and the co-founder of AWE (Asheville Writing Enthusiasts). He loves sports and has won many prizes competing in track and show-jumping equestrian events.
This is the dilemma award-winning Miami Architect Cid Milan suddenly faces in this 90,000-word, mainstream novel. A Cuban immigrant forced to abandon his country as a teenager during the tumultuous Mariel boatlift of 1980, Cid is a self-made man who arrived in the United States with nothing. He’s an example of what can be accomplished in America through hard work and determination. He hobnobs with the Mayor, has a sexy model for his girlfriend, and is building the most luxurious condominium on Biscayne Bay. But when his dying father, Colonel Jose Milan, a well-known political dissident, confesses to him a shocking family secret from Cuba, Cid’s life implodes.
Colonel Milan reveals that in order to ensure Cid could leave Cuba unharmed, he collaborated with Castro’s police -- willfully betraying both Cid's best friend, Joaquin, and forsaking his pregnant girlfriend Sandra. Overnight, Cid’s world is turned upside down. Trying to unravel the mystery of his own past, Cid realizes there’s only one thing he can do: return to the land he abandoned. In his quest to learn the truth, Cid rediscovers himself and his roots as he reunites with Joaquin and searches frantically throughout Cuba for Sandra and the secret she has kept from him all these years: his son. In the process, Cid learns an invaluable lesson about love, forgiveness and redemption that changes his life forever.