Showing posts from January, 2019

How to Stand Out For Agents and Publishers

It’s what every would-be author wants to know. The general advice is to stand out in order to make an impression. But how can aspiring authors stand out among thousands of others among the slush piles, especially as it’s so hard to get a foot on the publishing ladder? The simple answer is to write a great novel that is unique or different, with a standout story and standout characters and one that is well written. Agents are looking for a story that stands out from the crowd; a story worth reading. But of course, you have to stand out in the first place. Being noticed by agents isn’t just about writing a really tight, well thought out story. A good novel should be near perfect as it can be for an agent or publisher, one that has been edited a number of times and polished to perfection. That means there shouldn’t be any of the following: 1. Silly grammar mistakes. 2. Story structure issues.   3. Plot holes. 4. Lack of pace. 5. Lack of tension, drama or atmospher

The Fundamental Components for a Good Story

A good story isn’t down to just one magical ingredient, but instead it’s part of a whole cluster of ingredients that come together to make a story work well.   But how do you capture all those essential components? What are they?   And how do you make an average story into a great story? A Good Premise If a story is to work, the premise needs to be solid. Many stories fail to make an impression because the premise isn’t strong enough. From initial story ideas to a fully-fledged novel, the story needs to make sense - it needs to be logical rather than contrived. Many stories sound good, but on paper, they’re weak because the premise is flawed. Story ideas need to be strong in order to hold the whole story together. And if writers really want to stand out, the idea needs to be original.   If you have a strong premise, then you’ll have a strong story. Tight Plot Just as important as a solid premise, a tight plot can make or break a novel. That means the plot needs

Why Writers Shouldn’t Rush Their Novels

There’s a growing trend from self-help and ‘how to’ books to lure aspiring novelists into writing a novel in just a few months. There is one website that can help writers achieve a novel in just four weeks. Because it’s that easy to follow their ‘proven to work’ steps. Write, publish and on with the next book! Except that it’s nothing like that. Writing a really good novel should take at least 18 months/ 2 years, sometimes longer. Not a few months. And most definitely not four weeks. This is absurd and erroneous. Perhaps it’s a generational thing. But they forget the fact that ordinary people have jobs, families and a house to look after and simply don’t have time to write for long periods. If a first time author writes a book, edits it and publishes within a few months, the book will not be worth reading. That’s because it’s not just about sitting in front of a computer screen to write. A lot of time is spent on planning, researching, editing, re-writing and a huge amount of

What Makes a Good Writer?

Most people will assume that being creative and knowing how to tell a story makes a good writer. But being a good writer isn’t just about writing a good story with interesting narrative and believable characters, nor is it about having the technical skills or being able to connect with the readers. It’s much more than that. Writing is an art form, so people are either exceptionally good at it, or they’re not. While lots of elements about writing can be learned, effective writing is down to raw talent and a deep understanding of language. Less obvious things make a good writer. Much of what we write is down to observation. An effective writer – i.e. a good writer – uses observation to construct descriptions and create imagery. What we’ve seen in life and often what we’ve experienced forms the rich layers for our stories. We see things in everyday life that bring a sense reality to our writing, no matter how insignificant or innocuous they might seem. Observation of people is