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Showing posts from April, 2015

Too Much v. Too Little Description – Part 1

I’ve written about this subject before, back in 2011, but it still seems to endlessly confuse writers on what is deemed the right amount of description in a novel, particularly when the writer needs to get a lot of information across to the reader without destroying the fabric of the story or leaving the reader deflated with the lack of detail. But getting the balance right is quite a challenge. There is a multitude of advice available where description is concerned. Some advise writers to keep things minimal, while others agree that description is a necessity and writers shouldn’t compromise pertinent details, especially as it plays an important role in embellishing the story. There are advantages of using more description, but that doesn’t negate the use of brevity when it’s needed. I know I’ve mentioned this before in other articles, but the holy trinity of description, narrative and dialogue falls into what is known as the Goldilocks zone – not too much, not too little, but just about…

More on Chapter and Novel Lengths

By far, this subject has proved to be the most popular among writers, so due to popular demand, it’s time to revisit this very relevant subject, which I first wrote about in 2012.
Firstly, I’m going to repeat a snippet of advice I dispensed in the first article and that is novel lengths are dictated by the story itself, not the writer or the editor or a specific written formula. Secondly, writers don’t have to fit their word count into generic set amounts. The story will dictate how long the novel will be.
But plenty of writers still fret about the length of their chapters, let alone the length of the novel. There is a worry that they might be too long or not long enough, and that perfect ‘Goldilocks’ length just seems hard to pin down, but in truth, it’s not hard at all.
It’s all down to knowing when to stop at a relevant juncture to allow the narrative to breathe and to prepare the reader for the next chapter. The easiest thing to do is to just keep going with story, to get carried awa…

Fundamentals of Writing a Novel - Part 2

Continuing with the fundamentals of novel writing – those basics of any novel – we’ll take a look at a few more essentials that make up the list for authors to consider before embarking on writing a full length novel. Part 1 looked at things like Planning, length, plot, POV, characterisation, conflict and structure, so now it’s the turn of The Beginning, Ending, Dialogue, Exposition and Balance. The beginning/The Hook – the opening must have a good hook in order to draw the reader into the novel. If you don’t, the reader may not bother to read your story. The hook works like a fishing hook. You dangle it in front of the reader in order to lure them. The best novels do this with great opening lines and once hooked, the beginning gets right into the action. Don’t spend three pages explaining everything to the reader before anything interesting happens. Let that interesting thing happen right at the beginning, in the first paragraph. A life changing event, significant action or, literally,…