Writing a story is tough; making it credible and preparing the manuscript for editing add more challenge. Savvy novelists have a well-stocked home library, containing (for Americans) at least these reference works.
Just as writing children’s books has a unique set of rules to follow, there are some things you should never do. Don’t even consider doing any of the following in a book for children:
Keep the following 12 commandments in mind. (As with most commandments, you may be able to dance around one or two, but you’d better have a good reason.)
If you’re an author who has worked hard to make your characters realistic and believable, be careful with fight scenes. Too often credulity is spoiled when people suddenly become idiots or superheroes.
Congratulations! So What Are Your Next Steps? If you’ve finished writing a novel, then you know the great feeling that comes with typing THE END, making sure the file is saved (and hopefully backed up at least a couple other places), and pushing back from your desk with a smile. You did the work and […]
So, the plot of what began as a simple-enough story has become less a sturdy structure and more a jungle, complete with crossed and tangled vines. If this has happened to you, you may have no idea how you got here. You only remember adding a reflective scene or two to...
Successful science fiction and fantasy books tend to have similarities in their plots. Characters go through some variation of events, generally in this order:
If you’re a novelist and looking for a good book on the craft of writing, you likely have realized after perusing the Internet that you have about a bazillion choices. So, where do you start? Well, it may grate on some people’s beliefs but, technically, you don’t need any books on writing to be an […]
Imagine an interesting person with a serious problem. Ideally this is a problem you know something about, if not, do some research. The problem ought to be something that people care about and can picture themselves facing, even if it takes place on another planet, or is set in a world where magic is mainstream. […]
A problem I often encounter in novels, whether writing or editing them, is great ideas that don’t work logistically. Readers are good at spotting bloopers, and once they’ve found one, they usually don’t trust the author for the rest of the novel. They might even stop reading or pan the book in a review. So […]
Film and literature are two different media. They each have their strengths and weaknesses. When you choose the novel as your medium, make the most of its particular strengths.
A so-called “quiet book” is cause for many a rejection in today’s publishing market. If you’ve received feedback that your novel is too quiet, rest assured that most likely the problem can be solved with revision. Often just a few significant additions and adjustments will make a difference in the way your novel is received. […]