Showing posts from May, 2012

Quantity over Quality?

Are you one of those writers who can produce a copious amount of stories, rather like an unstoppable conveyor belt?   Or are you the type of writer whose output is a little less frenetic and rather more sedate? We all fall into different types of writers, because we are all different.   Some of us work at a pace where we might only produce a story every few months or so, or perhaps a new novel every 12- 18 months.   Other writers seem to be able to upload a novel onto Amazon Kindle every couple of months, or be able to churn out a short story every other week. But as writers, one question to ask yourself is this - are you a quality over quantity kind of writer?   Or is the quantity more important?   Can you have both? You might well be able to produce a high turnover of work, but is it to the highest standard?   Writers can push out as many stories as they want in the space of a month, but are they really good enough for conventional publication?   By conventional, I don’

Finding Balance

Many of the questions asked about fiction writing – such as how do I know how many chapters to have, how much description should I write, is there enough dialogue or enough conflict? – can all be answered with just one word: balance .   Story writing is all about balance and finding stability within the writing.   It’s what keeps everything in check, so that writers don’t go overboard with one element over another, thus leading to an imbalance.   Why have balance? Balance allows the writer to keep control of many writing elements – like those mentioned above.   There are no set rules where fiction is concerned, but it is purely a guide for writers to help them write better.   Whether it’s dialogue, description, the amount of scenes or chapters, the amount of tension and conflict that is balanced against the relief and emotion, whether there is enough background balanced with foreground, or whether you have action and inaction within the story, there should be some definit

Chapter & Novel Lengths

Just how long should a chapter be? What’s the best length? And does a novel have to fit into a set amount of words? These are just two of the most common questions asked by writers.   They assume they have to work to a strict template of X amount of words and X amount of chapters, usually because most novels have around 30 or 40 chapters and around 80,000 words.   Novel Lengths Firstly, let’s dispel a few myths - 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.   Again, the story will dictate how long the novel will be. It’s also worth knowing the different types of novels that work well with different word counts.   Uncomplicated stories containing minimal characters tend to be short – usually around 20,000 to 60,000 words.   These are called novellas. Longer, more complex stories, which contain a handful of main characters and periphe

Why Titles Matter

There are several factors that make us choose a novel from the endless books available to us.   One factor is the cover – its job is to initially entice the reader’s eye.   Then there is the blurb – the couple of lines on the front cover or the back that hook you.   Then of course, there is the title. But a title isn’t just there to tell your audience what your story is called. Titles have a number of uses which a writer should always take advantage of, and titles matter - they are an integral factor when getting your work noticed by agents and editors. Book and story titles act as a lure.   Great titles always grab our attention – think To Kill a Mockingbird. Or A Clockwork Orange.   They tempt us to want to know what the story is about; there is a sense of intrigue and fascination that entices us. But what if they were called Scout and Jem’s Adventure?   Or The Droogs?   Would they lure us in the same way?   Probably not.   They certainly wouldn’t have the same allure.   If a