1.) GREAT WORD CHOICES:
It’s not how many big words you know, but carefully choosing words that fit perfectly.
2.) THE ABILITY TO STRIKE THE READER'S FUNNY BONE:
The above two can be combined. Take Victor's quip from my last post:
"Alice tells me that blood is really warm. It's like drinking hot chocolate ... but with more screaming."
3.) READ GREAT WRITERS:
There’s no magic involved here.
The more great writing you can soak up every day, the more your writing will improve.
Read great writers in your genre, out of your genre, in fiction, and in non-fiction.
4.) NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH:
Even if you are writing Fantasy, you must write true to the human heart. After all, Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It is a way of understanding it.
5.) CHARACTERS READERS WOULD WANT TO HANG WITH:
STORY is important of course.
But first and foremost you have to craft interesting, fun characters.
I mean, I would gladly watch a 90 minute movie of the Avengers hanging together as they did in the first 50 seconds of this trailer:
6.) WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
That should be the question in the mind at the end of every page in your novel. That is the essence of RIVETING writing.
7.) SPARKLING DIALOGUE:
Each character should speak in her or his individualistic way with favorite pet phrases and ways of approaching problems.
Each character should express different viewpoints, senses of humor (or lack thereof), and choice of colorful metaphors (or lack thereof).
When two people speak, it becomes a dance with individualistic rhythms, repetitions, and rants.
8.) SETTING IS A CHARACTER TOO
DEATH IN THE HOUSE OF LIFE occurs in the Victorian Age for a hectic three days
in 1895 Egypt
that is boiling over in the conflict of a nation fighting against its foreign overlords ...
unaware that an ancient evil has awakened to destroy both the invaders and the invaded.
I suggest that if you do nothing else that you ask yourself the following four questions:
- “Where in time does my story take place?”
- “When does my story begin and end?”
- “Where does my story take place?”
- “What obstacles does my main character need to overcome?”
But above all: HAVE FUN! :-)