Top Tips to Writing Success
by Shirleen Sando, Authorsource.biz
1. "Know your characters," says Frank Watson who teaches writing with Writers Digest Schools and Criticism Service and on the university level. "Build strong characters. "Lack of effective characterization is one of the most common shortcomings of fiction. No matter how original is your plot, or how brilliant is your writing, if your characters are not three-dimensional - if they do not seem like real people to the reader - then chances are your story will fail," Frank says.
2. Develop dynamic characters that draw in an audience because they promise to take the reader on a journey. The key issue to understand is that characters that resolve human issues are the ones that will engage readers. Characters must seem so real to readers that readers accept them as real, at least for the length of the story. These characters need human qualities such as love, hate, anger, acceptance, forgiveness, and other human traits. Even when characters are not completely human, they will most often have human strengths and weaknesses. As characters work on overcoming their weaknesses, they become stronger, more heroic, more compelling to readers.
3. Interview your characters. Many professional writers conduct interviews with characters before writing a story or novel. For one, character interviews are fun, and, more importantly, they allow you to write freely, allowing the mind to develop thought after thought. As you ask your characters questions, let your fingers type out the answers. You will be absolutely amazed at how much information your character will reveal to you with this technique. When you have 20-30-50 pages of information, you are ready to begin outlining your story.
4. Keep readers turning pages. Conflict is at the heart of fiction. To engage readers, plan your conflict carefully. A good story allows characters to unfold before the readers' eyes. Use the character arc to build conflict. As tension mounts, readers are more engaged.
5. Keep language fresh and strong. Use active verbs whenever possible and strong nouns. Keep images and details rich. Active verbs are action oriented, so they keep writing lively and strong. Action verbs often provide a rich mental image for readers, as do strong nouns.
6. Use sensory detail to your advantage. Readers want to see, hear, feel, taste, and touch along with characters. A rich dessert is far from being descriptive. A large, warm slice of sugar-crusted apple pie topped with melting vanilla ice cream will wet your readers' appetite.
7. Tossing characters into new, difficult worlds are methods that force characters to reveal their inner selves. Take characters from their ordinary, everyday world and place them into an extraordinary, out of their normal routine world, and watch them, if they are heroic, learn new survival skills. Readers want the main character (the protagonist) to gain knowledge, gain strength, and learn how to face whatever befalls them. As in life, those that learn are the only real winners, and they will engage readers, page after page. Those are the characters of best sellers.
8. Attend writing conferences. Writing conferences are places for writers to meet and talk with professionals in the publishing industry. Meeting these professions if often the link that makes the difference between a written manuscript and a book contract. One of the best conferences is Write on the Beach, this year moving to Branson, Missouri, and, of course, a new name will follow. Write on the Beach, previously held at beautiful Gulf Shores, Mississippi, has found a new home. I will be attending, as usual, and I would love to meet you there. For more information, visit www.writeonthebeach.com or email me at editor @ authorsource.biz , and I'll point you to the right contact person.
Editor, Shirleen Sando, Authorsource.biz