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Saturday, January 9, 2016

5 KEYS TO WRITING A BEST-SELLING NOVEL


 Think back on the last novel that wowed you, and you will find these 5 elements:

1.) AN INTRIGUING STORY LINE

No retreads are riveting.  Originality will snare the interest of the browsing reader.  

This is a hectic world filled with head-turning headlines.  Use them as a catalyst to ask WHAT IF?

The beginning of a novel sets the stage and introduces the characters and basis of the plot. 

The body of the novel builds the plot up to the climax and resolution of the story line.

Along the way set the reader's expectations on their ears.


2.) RIVETING CHARACTERS

The Old Laughing Lady ... 

the police cannot find her.  Whenever people spot her outside their homes, they lose their shadows, slowly waste away, and finally die.

 Let the reader become the character or be in the scene with the character viewing the action. 

Bring the reader into each scene through powerful, intimate relationships with the key characters. 

Make your characters three-dimensional. Give them weaknesses and flaws and show them evolve with a sense of realism.


3.) ENTHRALLING SCENES

Take Mark Twain's remembrance of Hawaii:

 “For me its balmy airs are always blowing, 

its summer seas flashing in the sun; 

the pulsing of its surf is in my ear; 

I can see its garlanded crags, its leaping cascades, its plumy palms drowsing by the shore, 

its remote summits floating like islands above the cloud-rack.”

Bestselling authors transform readers into people who are mentally experiencing their story.

 The readers visualize being present as the story unfolds. 

Photographs and videos are a godsend to allow writers to describe scenes in realistic detail. 

Stimulate the reader’s senses with sounds, odors, tastes, and tactile experiences. 

Bring your readers into the real world.


4.) A DOWNHILL RACER WITH THE BRAKES CUT

Readers want an emotional impact with tension, high stakes, and powerful conflicts. 

 They want to live the thrill with your characters. 

End each scene with a hook that will grab your readers by the throat and make them turn the page. 


5.) AN ENDING THAT PAYS OFF

 A perfect ending: everyone one has read at least one and, as writers, we all strive to write one.

The first and most important key to a great ending is inevitability.

Even in surprise or twist endings, each scene must interlock and weave the pattern that will become the ending.  

 Characters' actions create the ending. 

The ending should come as the result of a choice that the main characters make.

Even in a series, the Ending must end ... something.  

It doesn't have to tie everything up, but most of the characters must be brought to end of their current circumstances. 

HAPPY WRITING! 

18 comments:

  1. In other words, leave out the stuff the readers would skip over. :)

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    1. As Elmore Leonard said: "Leave all the boring stuff out!" :-)

      It was another 12 400 mile today which is why I am so late. Sorry.

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  2. All important, but the last one can make or break a writer.

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    1. Yes, many movies are ruined by that last one!

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  3. Hi Roland ... having just written my recent post about very ancient landscape - I quoted from Charles Kingsley and his Westward Ho! - I then wondered why I'd bothered to write my post!!

    Bringing the words to life and story to mean a story ... so true and cheers Hilary

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    1. You are a great writer. Working the hours I do, the world is mostly a blur when I get home which is why I have such a hard time visiting my friends. Right now my head is spinning, and Iam still on call!

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  4. Getting the reader emotionally involved is so important. If he's there with the characters, he's invested.

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    1. That is the hardest and yet most important thing as you say!

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  5. Love this, perfectly said. And the meme makes me laugh so, freaking, hard!

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    1. Yes, I laughed as well when I saw it on FB, so I had to share. Be careful skiing!! :-)

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  6. Loved the Leia message.

    I hope all these elements come through in my stories, but I'm biased and subjective and don't know until a few readers give me feedback. Happily they like my two Charity books, and I'm keeping that in mind as I slog through a final proofing/polishing of the first volume.

    But as tired as I am, I can't compare to your own exhaustion, Roland. Get some rest now!

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    1. Heading off to bed right now! :-)

      Leia made me smile. It's true, too.

      All we can do is write the best we can today and try to improve in some small way tomorrow.

      And tired is tired. I imagine some intern in his 16th hour straight in ER would laugh at my tiredness!

      Best of luck in the editing. I am off to slumber, praying that the hospitals have called their last for tonight! :-)

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  7. Those 5 points make the best, most exciting and engaging stories. I try my hardest to get all of those in my stories...and believe I do. I hope. ;)

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    1. Of course you do. You are a great writer. Only the highest sales for you!

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  8. All good points! Also, love the Leia pic:)

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    1. Wasn't that Leia meme dead on? Shame of you Skywalker men!!

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  9. Great post, Roland! I like the ideas of reading headlines and wondering "what if?" The world is certainly interesting these days.

    Thank you for sharing some of your background in Detroit with me. That would certainly make a person do everything possible not to stand out. (And create a lot of inner strength).

    Happy writing, Jen

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    1. Thanks for liking my post, Jennifer. The world is certainly taking a lot of strange turns lately!!

      Never meet the eyes of a potential predator, yes!And may your sales be of the highest!! :-)

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