Showing posts from July, 2015

How to Avoid the Novel Slump – Part 1

Has your novel sagged in the middle? Stuck half way and just can’t seem to move on? You’re not on your own. At some stage during the novel writing process, every writer goes through what’s known as a novel slump. This usually occurs mid way through the novel – since that is where the majority of the story knits together – and there are several things that can happen to make the story stutter or grind to a halt. There are lots of reasons why this happens, but in order to avoid hitting that novel slump, writers should become aware of the signs that things are not going according to plan, so they can take steps to overcome them or avoid them altogether. Reasons for the Slump One of the most obvious reasons a novel might begin to sag is that the narrative simply runs out of steam. All the freshness at the beginning of story has dried up and the ideas have vanished. When the narrative stutters, it’s usually a sign that the writer hasn’t planned ahead. This is also true if the wr

Does Poor Word Choice Kill a Story?

How often do you think about how your sentences are structured? How much thought do you put into using the right words? How effective do you want those words to be? Often, poor word choice – instead of helping support the story you are trying to tell – can weaken the story and lead to ‘telling’. In some cases it can kill a story dead. So what is considered poor word choice? Word choice refers to the right words for the right meaning and the right effect, and the example below uses the wrong words and incorrect sentence structure, so it doesn’t do a great job of conveying much: ‘John ran to the end of the road, saw the crowd, who were moving towards the main building with everyone inside, so he grabbed his gun...’ By using the right word choice, however, the sentences become stronger, the intended meaning has relevance and the overall story will be that little bit stronger, for instance: ‘John ran to the end of the road and saw the angry, bloodied crowd moving towards th

How to Create a Convincing Good Guy - Part 3

In this final part about how to write a convincing good guy, we’ll look at some of the other interesting components that go towards creating an interesting main character, and a convincing one at that. As writers, we have to find ways of drawing the reader into the story and getting them to like, understand and follow the good guy right to the end of the story. We have to make the good guys as real as possible, so that they are not only believable in what they do, but people want would like to be. Give the Good Guy a Weakness As mentioned before, good guys are not perfect; they come with all sorts of flaws, foibles and weaknesses. But why give them weaknesses? Weakness is one of the things that make them human, and it’s these things that readers completely understand. Weaknesses endear the reader to your main character like no other facet, because we all have weaknesses. No one is perfect. Weakness also brings out strength in the most amazing ways.   In other words, what

How to Create a Convincing Good Guy – Part 2

In the second part of this series, we’ll take a look at importance of motives to the protagonist and the kind of aspects that makes a ‘good guy’ good. Not only does the main character carry the story, he or she must move the story forward, and to do that you must establish motivation. There must be a reason the character is part of the story and why he or she acts or reacts to certain situations. There are many possible motives for a protagonist, but let’s look at the most common ones found in novels, ones we universally recognise and understand: Something to Lose The main character has something or someone to lose, and the thought of losing someone close or something that means a lot to them is a dominant motivator. The fear of losing something forces the protagonist to behave in different and make certain choices, and they won’t care about consequences. If your child was in danger, for instance, you would move heaven and earth to protect them, no matter the risk. This i