Showing posts from August, 2015

Tricks to Use to Pace Your Novel

When it comes to pacing a novel, plenty of writers are unsure how to achieve it, especially when we think of pace to mean the speed of something. But of course, in reality the actual pace of the novel never changes, but rather the perception of pace does, and that’s what writers want to achieve. Pace isn’t just about the rate at which the story is told, it’s also a clever way of blending action, emotion, atmosphere and tension. The way to accomplish that is to choose the right words for the right scene. Writers also use the affectionately named 'elastic band' method - if you stretch an elastic band, it becomes taut and tense, but if you slacken it, it becomes relaxed and soft. This is how narrative should be, so the important elements of the story – crisis points, action scenes and conflict scenes – are tautened, and the pace alters to reflect that. This means the writing accelerates. Softer, reflective scenes or gentle emotional or romantic scenes represent a slower p

Problems with Multiple Viewpoints

There are a lot of writers out there that have still not got to grips with multiple POVs and are therefore still making avoidable errors such as switching POVs mid scene and having every character in the novel have a viewpoint. It might seem that multiple POVs are complicated, or they present the writer with all sorts of complications because of dealing with many characters, but that isn’t really the case. They are not complicated to deal with, if you know what you’re doing. It’s how well the writer approaches multiple viewpoints that matters. POV errors happen – and keep happening – because writers are not taking the time to learn about them and understand how they work. Fiction writing isn’t just about writing a story and self-publishing it on Amazon. Writing is complex. That means all the elements that go into writing are also just as complex. One of the faults when dealing with multiple viewpoints in a novel is the inability for the writer differentiate between chara

Where Exactly Should You Start Your Story?

The beginning isn’t necessarily the beginning. That might sound crazy, but there is a lot of sense in it. It means that authors don’t actually start their stories at the beginning. If anything, they start them part way through – what would normally be chapter three. The advice sounds contrary, but it actually isn’t. It means don’t start the story at the beginning, i.e. don’t spend time writing several pages of introduction to your characters and the background and the set up, way before you get to the core of the story. Start it at the core. In reality, the beginning would probably be chapter three or four, when things usually start get interesting in the story – but that’s where the story actually begins. Every writer wants to make an impact with their novel or short story, and that impact starts at the opening paragraph. There is no shortage of advice on how to make that impact – starting with a bang or an important turning point – but often the writer has to decide exac

10 Reasons Why Stories Fail

Why do some stories fail while others seem to do well? What sets them apart, what makes them so special? Why do agents and publishers not choose your story? Stories fail for numerous reasons, and they are usually the result of collective causes rather than just one specific reason, so here’s a list of 10 of the most common reasons why stories fail or are rejected by agents, editors and publishers: The Story is Rubbish Patently, the number one reason a story fails with readers, or it is rejected by agents or publishers, is because the story is just rubbish. No writer likes to hear that, but the truth is that some stories are just dire, even if the writers don’t realise it. Some writers can write, some writers can’t. And if you can’t, then the result will be awful, the story will be rubbish. To remedy this, the writer has to learn to write to a standard that is acceptable and publishable. And if self-publishing, where there are no quality controls, the need for quality writi

How to Avoid the Novel Slump – Part 2

In Part 1, we looked at the main reasons why writers tend to hit a slump halfway through writing their novels, and some of the ways to avoid this common problem, but more importantly, we looked at how writers can avoid these same problems. The main thing is that all serious writers should aim to prepare and plan. There are, however, times that even with the best preparation and planning, it becomes very difficult to move forward with writing the novel. It happens, there are no real answers to why, but if and when it does happen, writers can take practical steps to get the novel moving again. Take a break - One of the easiest things to do is to take a break from the novel and go and do something else for a few days. Sometimes a break from intense focus is what makes us focus better .   It’s a well-known fact that people work more efficiently with regular breaks. Any break – even if just for a day or two - lets your mind breathe, process and refocus.   You can then go back to