Friday, October 30, 2015

PNWA 2015 Workshop Review #12: Using Language to Enhance Story

(Image from:  Last Kiss by John Lustig)

One of the main reasons why I love comics and graphic novels is how the blend of words and pictures can tell a story.  Even a one-panel image, like the one above, implies a lot.  I liked how a common expression is paired with a gothic image for comedic effect--not to mention being in the spirit of Halloween.

Anyway, the title of the next-to-last workshop I attended at this year's PNWA Summer Conference my seem self explanatory. 

However, even if you string words together in a coherent manner your narrative may turn out to be as exciting as a technical manual.

Varying language, sometimes by bending, or even breaking grammatical rules could enhance your work.

This workshop was the second one in the conference hosted byTerry Persun and Nicole Persun.

True, the father and daughter duo didn't discuss graphic novels.  However, I found it beneficial listening to Terry and Nicole read select passages from the piles of books they brought as examples on how you can mold words more creatively to create a more vivid mental imagery.

Terry even read from a cookbook.

Who'd a thought making mashed potatoes could be so poetic?

It was impossible to write down all the prose, and I even forgot to scribble down the authors' works they read from. 

I did manage to jot down some keynotes to keep in mind if you decide make alterations to grammatical rules...

No matter what you write, or how you write it, without your work you have nothing to market.

Varying your language usage can affect a story's pacing, characterization and plot.

Make use of foreshadowing, that is, give a hint at what's to come.

You can sprinkle a leitmotif, that is, a recurring idea or image, throughout your story.

Use of fragment sentences--

--Used to focus on an image.
--Focus on emotions.
--Convey the spanning of time.

Long sentences can be--

--Used for lengthy descriptions, which gives flavor to the setting.
--Can be action-based, especially when describing complicated movement.
--Can convey thought.

While short sentences--

--Emphasis on what is currently happening.
--Often appears as dialogue, and can be used as such.

Repeated words--

--Brings the reader closer to the scene.
--Can be used to overlap descriptions, to reinforce imagery.
--Establishes a rhythm.

Most writing instructions recommend banishing adverbs from your work.  However, if done properly, adverbs can set the tone of your story.

Use descriptions specific to each character.

One final word of advice:

If your style is out of the ordinary, be sure to talk to your agent/editor and express your concerns about wordage.

In the meantime, continue writing and Happy Halloween!

(Image from:  Last Kiss by John Lustig)

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