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How to Get the Most from Your Themes

Every story has a theme or two that cover the main topics within the story, but they also convey deeper meanings within it. Stories need them in order to help the reader understand the concept of the story. Themes embody different subjects that might surface during writing, so it’s common for writers to uncover these themes as they write, but there’s nothing wrong with having certain main themes in mind before you begin writing, either. Themes such as love, hate, betrayal, deceit and lies are all very popular themes, as are ones about growing up, discovering the world or growing old. They can incorporate just about anything, but they must relate directly to the story. How to make the most of your themes? Know your audience. The genre, and what the plot is, often determines a main theme. For example, with two lovers who can’t be together, the main theme would be love. For a story about conflict between the main characters, the main theme might be hatred or bigotry. A crime novel might hav…

How to Get the Most Out of Your Dialogue

Every writer understands the importance of dialogue – it conveys information for the reader, it hints at things, it reveals character, creates conflict and it moves the story forward, so to get the most out of it, writers must use dialogue wisely. The idea of dialogue isn’t just there for your characters to say something. They have to say something because it matters to the story and because it’s part of the story. And that’s why well written dialogue can entice the reader to become involved with the characters. Poorly written dialogue, however, can devalue the story because often what the characters say isn’t part of the story and doesn’t matter to the story, which is why writers should use every element of dialogue available. Make it effective. Make It to the Point Your characters are telling part of the story with their conversations. Your story relies on their input, but they have no time to chit chat about mundane stuff like the weather or next door’s roses. Dialogue doesn’t need pad…

How to Get the Most Out of Creating Drama

All writers know that drama is a key component of any story.Drama, tension and conflict all go hand in hand, but drama is created in many ways and it brings depth to fiction because it covers story, dialogue, action and description. But how do you get the most from creating drama? The root of any dramatic story can be found in a provocative and interesting plot. Boring, mundane stories without much going on simply won’t have any drama to engage the reader. That’s why your story needs to stand out and grab the reader’s interest – it needs to instantly speak to them by being compelling. An interesting story with fascinating characters is a foundation stone to creating drama. Drama relies on different elements to make it effective.Drama is everything we create within the story, and to get the most out of it, you’ll need to use your story, characters, description and dialogue wisely. Story Situations This stems from your compelling plot. As the story unfolds, you’ll need to thrust your charact…

How to Get the Most from Your Plot – Part 2

Part 1 looked at the premise of the plot, the timelines and the characters that make up the story, so here we’ll look at a few other important aspects to help you get the most from your plot. Subplots The main plot is the crux of the story, but every novel needs additional layers of complexity to vary the story threads. Subplots are perfect for this. They are related story threads that are woven into the main plot and involve other characters. A couple of strong subplots will enhance a novel. Subplots can provide depth of character, impart necessary information and they create extra drama, conflict or suspense by focusing on secondary characters or the protagonist and a secondary character. For instance, let’s say the protagonist, who is working for the police, needs to find the whereabouts of a member of a drugs gang, and so he strikes up a relationship with one of them to glean information, but it blossoms into love. The subplot could be that the love interest isn’t really in love with …

How to Get the Most from Your Plot – Part 1

The plot is the premise of your entire story; the idea of what is it that makes it into a story. It’s the very first thing all writers need before they begin to write, because without a plot, the story will fail. A plot can be a simple or as complicated as the writer wants. That’s because every writer approaches their writing differently. But a clear cohesive plot before you begin your novel will prove beneficial – it will help you get the most from your plot. Plotting consists of the following main elements, which we’ll look at individually in this first part and in part 2: Premise Characters Timeline Subplots Opening/Hook Conflict Ending Premise Every plot begins with an idea for the story. Let’s say a character’s husband – John – vanishes one day and the wife – Laura – must prove she had nothing to do with it. This is the basic idea that will form the entire story. But already this idea can be expanded with sub-ideas, just to make it more interesting. The wife had nothing to do with his disap…

Problems with Creating Character Skillsets

There’s one thing I see with writers in my role as an editor, and that is the way writers instantly equip their protagonist with God-like skills when they are backed into seemingly inescapable situations.
Writers have a habit of making their characters invincible and super hero-like, with the specially trained skills. That’s great if you’re James Bond. But in reality, your characters are not always trained soldiers, spies or other secret government agents.
They’re just ordinary folks who find themselves in extraordinary situations.
The reality is – just like in real life – we all have different skills we’ve picked up in life or things we’ve learned while working. Some people are great with engines or machines or can build things. Some folks are skilled working a computer. Some know their way around boats or yachts. Some people can pilot an aeroplane or work with animals. Not only that, but people are born with certain talents. Some people are brilliant at sculpting or painting. Others ca…

How to Get the Most Out Of Your Characters – Part 2

Part 1 looked at creating a compelling character using realism, emotions, fears, goals and motivations. They’re elements that an interesting and memorable character should have. But there are even more ways to get the most from your characters. The one thing characters do in any given situation is they display certain behaviours, depending what is happening. Actions often speak louder than words, so the reader will be looking at how your character acts and what he says. If you have developed your character well, they will have their own personalities – which in turn determine how they act. How would they act in a tense scene, or a confrontation scene, an action or love scene?And what they say, and how they say it, is also important. That’s why dialogue plays such an important role in characterisation. Characters have to carry emotion not just in their actions, but also in their conversations – characters can sometimes be profound in what they say, in a way that resonates with the reade…