Inside a Writer's Mind

Inside a Writer's Mind
“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” -- Oscar Wilde

Monday, 13 August 2012

Writing Tips (Recipe for Writing a Novel)

  1. Write often, preferably at the same time everyday. Cultivate a writing writing habit as you would with exercise or any other activity you want to get better at.
  2. Write without the expectation of producing something good.
  3. Conceive of your story by constructing a one sentence embryo of your story: a one sentence synopsis (A wants/needs B but must overcome C to get it.) Develop this into a one paragraph (three sentence) synopsis. Develop this into a page (five to seven paragraph) synopsis.  
  4. Vary chapter beginnings and endings. Make them strong and memorable.
  5. Have your reader enter scenes as late as possible and get them out out as early as you can.
  6. Choose a setting that amplifies and resonates key themes.
  7. Be well researched and versed in all areas and aspects of your characters' story-world; their lives and your credibility depend on it.
  8. Have a clear central plot (storyline) and interweave subplots that are subordinate. Subplots should somehow reflect and enhance the main storyline.
  9. Characters be constructed so they have depth. Consider assigning characters conflicting habits, traits and features. Each character should represent a part of the human condition.
  10. All characters should change in some way in the course of the story.
  11. The protagonist must change and develop the most. He must face and overcome fears, obstacles, and the antagonist.
  12. Ways for the reader to learn about characters include: what a character does; what a character says; what other characters say about him; how other characters behave in response to him.
  13. The most effective settings are a crucible that protagonist and antagonist cannot readily escape.
  14. Conflict should be present on multiple levels: internal; interpersonal; external.
  15. Write your own story. Don't try to second guess popular trends.
  16. Incorporate a three act structure into your plot.
  17. Insert/include backstory only where necessary and only when the reader needs to know. Use a variety of techniques for delivering backstory. And drip-feed, don't info dump. Do not begin your novel with backstory.
  18. Start your story in motion -- in medias res for you Latin speaking winkers -- in the middle of some compelling conflict, action, or event.
  19. Be sure to include conflict, imagery, character and plot development on every page.
  20. Strong verbs and unusual verb and noun combinations power a story at word level.
  21. Vary sentence structure (syntax) and use it to 'pace' story and events. The same goes for paragraph structure, though briefer is almost always better. 
  22. Edit and repeat.
  23. Edit and repeat.
  24. Edit and repeat.
  25. Edit and repeat.
  26. Learn who and how to query.
  27. Continue learning who and how to query.
  28. Edit and repeat again.
  29. Whilst trying to solicit interest in completed project begin writing a new one. See step one. 

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