The New Year started out so brightly. You resolved to get that novel written this year! You were going to write EVERY day. Oh, and you were going to finally lose those last ten pounds, too . . . Now it’s Jan 21st, and you’ve gotten exactly ten words on the page, and somehow managed to gain two pounds!
Well, I can’t help you with the weight thing—I’m fighting my own valiant Battle of the Pudge. But if you still want to get that novel written, maybe I can help.
Can you see the story in your head, but find it impossible to get it on paper?
Do you begin writing excitedly, then burnout almost immediately?
The following suggestions should help:
1.Outline, Outline, Outline
Some people say they can just start writing and it all flows smoothly and evenly to become the perfect piece. If you can write your novel this way, great! You can probably stop reading this article now, and we may have a contract for you!
The rest of the world needs to put their ideas into some kind of order and that’s where an outline comes into the picture. Keep it simple, it shouldn’t include every detail, just the framework. You will add and modify as you go along.
Decide what point of view you are going to use in a scene and stick with it. Please, don’t jump back and forth, it’s too confusing to your reader. Use the “omniscient” viewpoint sparingly and have a limited number of POV characters. Never tell the POV of an insignificant character.
Read the conversations aloud. Better yet, have someone else read them aloud for you. Now ask yourself: Do they sound natural? Do the conversations flow? Do people really talk like that?
4. Dramatic Concept
Imagine you are writing the blurb for your novel. Can you sum it all up in just a few sentences? If not, you need a stronger dramatic concept.
5. Tension & Escalation
A good story needs conflict but it is equally as important that your conflict escalate. It should gradually build up to a critical level.
6. Show me, don’t tell me
If a character is angry, don’t just tell me she is mad. Put her in a situation that will make her mad and SHOW ME how she reacts.
7. It’s all about the presentation!
This is is sometimes the most important tip of all. No matter how great your spellcheck or grammar check program is, or how many times you proofread your manuscript yourself, you will likely miss some spelling, grammatical, or punctuation mistakes.
Once you’ve written, edited, revised, re-written and polished your story like a jewel, you should have someone (READ: a professional editor) proofread your work. If you don’t know an editor personally, you can hire someone. It is well worth the price. Nothing will get your manuscript tossed into the reject pile faster, than a lot of errors.
Now, good luck, and as I tell our authors at Buddhapuss Ink: Butt in chair. WRITE!