Making Your Novel Great

Featured Image -- 6779I attended a seminar recently with author Sophie Jordan.  The session was entitled, How to Take a Good Book and Make it Great. She offered a lot of worthwhile information to consider when writing a novel, and I’m going to share some of those ideas with you. Hopefully you will find them helpful.

  1. The craft. Build your craft by reading and writing.  Write distinctly, read books on writing, and designate time for writing.
  2. The voice. Your voice evolves as you write. Own it and be conscientious of it.
  3. The market. Read everything you like and everything the world is talking about. Stay up to date on what’s hot in the market. Watch the latest movies, mini-series, and TV shows. Stay informed.
  4. The id. Write like no one’s reading. Write what’s deep within you. Fantasize, break away from the guidelines. Find that pleasure principle and entertain yourself.  Your audience will be there.
  5. The identifier. Make the reader identify with the hero/ heroine. Make the characters bad, but not too bad. Give them redeeming qualities to make them likeable. Bad choices make good stories, but the characters must have a reason for making those bad choices.
  6. The concept. Take a familiar concept and turn it on its head.  Think: If your book was a movie trailer, what three or four sentences would you get out of it?
  7. The beginning. Pull the reader in within the first ten pages. The beginning should be memorable and have high impact. Make the shit hit the fan right from the start.
  8.  The black moment. Make bad things happen.  Make the character’s goal seem impossible to achieve. Create that moment when all is lost, that moment when their is no chance they will ever meet their goal.
  9. The love scene. If your book has a love scene, make it uniquely personal between the characters.
  10. The dialogue. Dialogue must reflect the characters and build their relationships. It should expose them.
  11. The ending. Let the reader know what happened to these people. Give them that breath of fresh air.
  12. The packaging. What do people see when they look at your book? They will judge your book by the way it is packaged.

Overcome Your Writer’s Block: Key Strategies On Pushing Past Your Mental Brick Wall

Writers block can be detrimental to a writer. Here are some tips to help overcome your block.

Kobo Writing Life

Writing can be a difficult and trying task even for the most seasoned of writers. At some point or another it’s inevitable that you’ll “hit the wall” and suffer from the dreaded curse of writer’s block. However, there’s no reason that your bout with writer’s block should spell disaster because there are some strategies that can help you push past that wall and allow those creative juices to start flowing freely again. Here’s some things to help get you started.

1) Don’t Stress It

The first strategy is not to let writers block stress you out. Yes, your deadline may be quickly approaching, but stressing and panicking about it certainly won’t help. In fact, if you let the stress consume you then you’ll find it even harder to push past this wall and get back to writing. Stress only serves to make the mental brick wall even harder to break…

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Let’s Talk: Grit as a Writer

Commit and persevere. Great article by my amazing formatter and cover designer.

Fiction by Rachael Ritchey

Grit. This word keeps popping up all around me lately. The idea has been around a looooong time, but for some reason grit has become the little bell dinging in my ear like a wake up alarm.

What is grit? Well, Merriam-Webster says:

: firmness of mind or spirit :  unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger

Or dictionary.com

firmnessofcharacter;indomitablespirit;pluck:

Here’s what Angela Lee Duckworth has to say about grit:

Have you ever bought a car and suddenly you see the same exact car everywhere? Well, grit is like that car. It piqued my interest one day, and now I keep hearing it and seeing it everywhere.

Grit, in my mind, is a component of perseverance, defined at dictionary.com:

steadypersistenceinacourseofaction,apurpose,astate,etc.,especiallyinspiteofdifficulties,obstacles,ordiscouragement.

Do we have…

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Mastering Character Development

Character development is the most important part of fiction writing, yet the hardest to master.  This article explains why.

by Meg Dowell On a page, you are in control of time. Outside of it, you aren’t. I have read and experienced many fascinating stories in my lifetime. I have also experienced many poorly executed stories. The deal breaker for me are a story’s characters. If, by the climax of a story, I do not care […]

via This is Why Character Development Takes So Long to Master — A Writer’s Path

Color Meanings for Writers

Insightful information about colors.

Writers After Dark

Using colors in your writing is a fantastic way to add symbolism and foreshadowing to your story. They can enrich your scenes by adding deeper meaning, variation, and  help with mood amongst other things. Be sure to check out the upcoming post on using the five senses next Monday! This chart is a little gift for the “Sight” portion of it. 

I hope you find it as useful as I do! 😉

WAD Color Meaning Chart

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Ten Tips For Creating the Perfect Pace in Your Novel

marathon_mouse_spot-2Sometimes as writers, it’s hard to create the perfect pace in our stories.  I attended a writing workshop recently and learned a few things about pacing. Here’s what I walked away with.

  1. Impose a deadline. Your characters must have an urgency and a time constraint to accomplish their task. Give them a timeframe.
  2. Up the ante. Make the task harder, danger greater, or stakes higher. Challenge your character, create tension and throw things at them that get in the way.
  3. Create a mystery. Leave open questions. Create doubt and uncertainty. Why was he here? What was he doing with that person?
  4. Swap point of view. Change the voice. Alter from heavy to humorous.
  5. Leave white space. Keep paragraphs short. Vary sentence length. Create chunks.
  6. Create an unsettled feeling. End chapters by leaving readers on edge.  Make them want to know what’s going to happen next.
  7. Interlock episodes. Every scene connects to the other. Dive into important stuff and make each scene action or emotion related. Description and action must flow. Don’t write a scene readers will skip. If it’s not important, don’t include it.
  8. Introspection. Put your reader into the thick of your character’s emotions. Climb inside the character’s head and pull the reader in with you.
  9. Punctuation power. Make punctuation pull the flow of the story.  Dashes quicken the pace, semicolons slow the reader down.
  10. Ignore the noise. Make the writing yours and be your own voice. Don’t compare yourself to others. Be true to your own stories.