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How to Get the Most from Your Ending

Writers know that the opening chapter must hook the reader, but that’s only half the battle because the ending of your book is just as important as the opening. An ending doesn’t just close a story. It does more than that – it ties up all the loose ends, it closes those subplots and gives the reader a satisfactory ending to a good story.But more importantly the ending serves to sell your next book because if the reader enjoyed the story, they will want to read more of what you can offer. The thing about endings, however, is that they are probably the most difficult things to get right because the ending of a novel isn’t always clear at the time of writing it. Sometimes the ending only becomes apparent as the story unfolds, while other writers have at least some idea how it might end. To get the most from your ending, it must accomplish several things – it must make sense and relate directly to the plot, without sounding convoluted. It must answer all the questions the story has posed, s…

How To Get The Most From Your Opening Chapter

Every writer knows how important it is to make the opening chapter work. It’s the difference between enticing the reader, agent or publisher to read your story, or not doing grabbing their attention at all. There’s a lot of advice about openings, and a lot of pressure to get them right, but how do you define what is ‘right’? In truth there is no ‘right’ way, because every reader is different and every agent/publisher is different, however, no one would argue that writers should open their stories in an interesting, dynamic or riveting way. Something that entices, something that shocks, maybe. Or something that sparks their curiosity. So you see, while there is no right way, there are many other ways that collectively make it seem right, but one thing is sure – you may only have a few paragraphs to grab your reader’s attention and win them over. That’s because readers tend to glance at the cover and strapline, then they might browse the first few paragraphs or quickly skip-read through th…

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…