Tip #1

One rule of thumb in writing, particularly in fiction, that I adhere to is learning structure in writing. Would you trust a doctor to operate on you if he/she didn’t have a working knowledge of anatomy? Well, I liken that to writing – structure, structure, structure. Once you learn the elements of dialogue, narration, point of view, description, setting, time & place, etc. and the balance between all of these elements, you are off to a flying start whether you write non-fiction, literary or commercial fiction.

There are visual images that need to be addressed such as white space on a page. In today’s world, there is a greater push for white space (tends toward commercial) rather than dense words on every page (tends toward literary). Again, balance enters into this. Think of your audience. If writing more commercial fiction give your reader more white spaces, less description. Even in literary pieces, people raised on speed in computers, texting and iPads easily tire of long passages that go on and on about the landscape. Readers like to get to the story quickly and absorbed in the conflict that ensues whether it is physical or psychological or both. And don’t forget CONFLICT! That is the heart of your story.

There should also be adherence to reality – what motivates people in real life and how does that translate into fiction. Study human behavior for an understanding of human behavior even if writing commercial fiction. 

That is not to say you can’t experiment, but you need understanding of structural elements in order to innovate. Like great artists who have gone experimental, almost always they can do realistic work first. Picasso did realistic portraits before his famous bombastic pieces.

Statistically Independent

An article in The New York Times by Sam Roberts, January 16, 2007 said: “For what experts say is probably the first time, more American women are living without a husband than with one, according to a New York Times analysis of census results.
“In 2005, 51 percent of women said they were living without a spouse, up from 35 percent in 1950 and 49 percent in 2000.”
When divorces occur, men are much more likely to remarry than women. At ages 45 and plus, around 1/3 of men remarry and approximately 25% of women. I was intrigued by this statistic and curious as to the reasoning behind it, and looked at it from different angles.
Most women are reluctant to leave a marriage for reasons such as; family, economics, image of stability and fear of traumatizing children. For another thing, they don’t want the stigma of failure as problems in marriages are usually attributed to woman.
I find that women will live with many flaws in their marriage before committing to the heart-rending deed of divorce. There are many women who know their husbands are cheating (either with women or men) who might even be keeping a mistresses. Still, they stick with the marriage.
No doubt, there are women who leave marriages because they are on a mission to find themselves and although the union is good, they leave. I believe they are in the minority. For the most part, when a woman wants out there is good, solid reason. Perhaps once out of a bad marriage many are reluctant to jump in again – especially if they have the means of earning a decent income.
In this modern world where the sexes are supposedly equal, women are still doing the majority of household chores. Tie that into a husband who is unresponsive to their needs, is emotionally distanced and/or underlying it all has little respect for women. Yes, there is still a strong prejudice that women are not as smart as men. It might be a nasty holdover from yesteryear but there it is – in your face. Can we rid society of this deeply embedded and destructive perception? We need to explore many of the reasons before anything else.