Category Archives: Fiction

New Novelist: 4 Tips To Help You Avoid Fiction’s Common Pitfalls

New Novelist: 4 Tips To Help You Avoid Fiction’s Common Pitfalls

You’re a new novelist, writing your first book. Kudos to you. Yes, writing a novel can be intimidating, so avoid thinking about all the words you need to write.

Focus only on the words you’ll write today. Do that tomorrow as well — do it every day. As long as you’re moving forward, you’re making progress.

You’re a new novelist: map the terrain

We’ve talked about a novel’s milestones. Be aware that you must hit them:

The setup (at the 25 per cent point of the novel);

The midpoint, where everything changes, at 50 per cent;

The OOPS milestone: the kick in the pants. Think of it as a sharp jolt, or the dark moment. It occurs at the 80 per cent point.

The climax: the BIG scene, in which the hero does battle for what he wants. Alternatively (in mysteries for example), the big reveal — the sleuth unmasks the killer. You should hit this at the 90 per cent point.

Read the complete article. It’s vital that you understand the terrain of your novel.

Now let’s look at the tips.

1. Keep going, even if you get a “better idea” for a new novel

Everyone gets ideas. Writing begets ideas.

Unfortunately an idea for a new novel can seem like a solution when you’ve hit a challenging scene, or think your novel’s running off the rails. It’s tempting to trash your current novel and begin something new.

Your idea is a mirage. Write it on a sticky note, and look at it tomorrow. It’s doubtful that it will look as wonderful tomorrow as it does today.

Ideas are nothing in themselves. No single idea can support a complete novel. Create a Collection for new ideas in your novel’s bullet journal, and get back to writing.

2. Recognize “the wall” and bulldoze through it

Every novel hits the wall sooner or later.

Suddenly you hate your novel. You want your characters dead. You’re certain that your plot is the biggest load of trash any author has ever tried to foist onto an unsuspecting public…

This feeling of hatred is another mirage. Just like the “better idea” mirage, it’s not real. My walls usually loom up at around 25,000 words. I’ve no idea why.

From Writing A Novel You Hate: 3 Tips To Help You To Keep Writing:

When you hit the wall, you’ll know it. It’s a deep, visceral dislike for your book. As we’ve said, it’s not a bad novel just because you hate it at this moment in time.

Keep writing, even if it takes you an hour to produce a paragraph. Read through what you’ve written, and write.

Avoid the thought that: “I just need to wait for inspiration”. Trust me, when you hit the wall, inspiration won’t come. You’ve got to go through it, so be brave. Grit your teeth if you must, but write anyway.

3. Make your fiction real by using your senses

Where are you?

Look around for a moment. Perhaps you’re in a coffee shop. What can you see, smell, hear, touch?

Practice grounding yourself in this way several times a day, so that you can do the same in your fiction. You make your fiction real by putting the reader into your novel, right into the action, via his senses.

4. Yes, you really do need a “story question”

I was chatting with a new novelist the other week. He’d lost faith in his story question, and want to know whether he really needed one? He’s writing a science fiction space opera, and wanted to get on with the next galactic battle in the novel.

Yes, you do need a story question. 🙂

No matter how episodic your tale, something keeps your main character going, and that’s the story question. You’ve planted this question (we hope) sometime in the setup phase — the first 25% of your novel.

Maybe your character’s beset by vampires, or accused of murder, or wants something desperately. Maybe it’s a coming of age story, and your character’s troubles and travails help him to grow up.

Your character has goals. Aways. He must achieve those goals or die, literally, or metaphorically.

My new novelist friend wasn’t aware of the suspense devices you can use to bring the story question alive — both for you, and for your readers.

In this article, I offered some suggestions for devices, like the ticking clock, you can use to create suspense in your fiction:

… let’s say you’re writing a thriller, and a child goes missing. Every minute counts — the longer a child remains missing the less chance there is that the child will be found alive.

Your main character is a detective. You could start your chapters: Missing Three Hours… Missing Five Hours, etc.

In the “missing child” story, your story question might not concern the child at all. Maybe your main character is a female detective. Everything’s gone wrong for her. She wants to quit. The story question, which you might never state explicitly, is: will she overcome all her challenges and stay in her job?

As long as you know what the story question is, you’re good. It’s common for the story question to change several times. When it does, go back and revise, so that the your question fits seamlessly into your novel.

Plan, Write, And Publish Serial Fiction In Four Weeks

Plan, Write, And Publish Serial Fiction In Four Weeks

eBook: $5.99

Why write serial fiction?

Everyone's busy today. A serial is by its nature, faster to write, and publish, than a novel.

It's a quicker read too, and many readers appreciate this. While a reader may hesitate before committing hours to a novel, he can read an episode of your serial in minutes.

If you’re a new author, a serial serves to introduce you to readers. A reader may not be willing to commit to a novel by a new author, but be willing to read an episode of a serial.

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Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

eBook: $5.99

I developed the tactics and strategies in this book to help myself. My students have found them essential to producing both fiction and nonfiction almost effortlessly.

More info →
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Plot Hot-Selling Fiction The Easy Way

Plot Hot-Selling Fiction The Easy Way

$5.99
Author:
Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 3
Genre: Writing

How To Write Novels And Short Stories Readers Love: You're about to discover the easiest, fastest, and most fun plotting method ever. You can use it for all your fiction, whether you're writing short stories, novellas or novels. Take control of your fiction now, and publish more, more easily.

More info →
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Resources to build your writing career

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Need help with your writing? Visit our online store, or check out Angela’s books for writers.

New Author? 3 Tips To Help You To Outline Your Novel

New Author? 3 Tips To Help You To Outline Your Novel

Hate writing outlines? If you’re a new author, do your best to write an outline anyway. If nothing else, an outline assures you that yes, by heavens, you’re writing a novel, rather than a mass of words.

The following tips will help.

Why outline? One simple reason: you’ll avoid a horrible fate… Unlike the vast majority of new authors, you’ll write a real novel, one that has a real story.

The most common new author pitfall: nothing happens

Here’s your challenge, if you’re a new author.

You must make something happen. Preferably on every page. Moreover, that “something” must be relevant — integral to your story.

Does that sound easy? It is. However, when you’re a new author, you’re all about the pretty words. Experienced authors don’t care about the words — they care about the story.

An experienced author knows that you can fix your word choices, scene construction and grammar, but if nothing happens in your novel, then you’ve just wasted all the time you spent writing.

1. Make something happen NOW

You’re a new author, so you want to start writing NOW.

Please don’t…

If you go ahead anyway, please avoid these kinds of common and horrid novel beginnings…

  • The “waking up in the morning” novel opening. Trust me, no one cares. As I’ve said before, if you don’t wake up with a space alien bending over you, or beside a corpse… we don’t care.
  • “Poor me, I’m having SUCH a bad day…” — romance novelists love this opening. Sadly, similarly to the above, we don’t care. If your main female character spills hot coffee over her new silk blouse, rear-ends a car, gets fired… Nope, we don’t care.
  • Please also avoid the “bang, bang, you’re dead…” — the dead bodies/ or car crash opening, loved by new thriller authors… We’re reading a novel, not the news, so we’re not interested in dead people before you’ve made us care about them.

An experienced author may have the skills to begin his novel with these kinds of first pages, but you don’t — attempt them later in your career.

Write your novel’s opening pages after you’ve outlined a real story.

Start by thinking about your novel as a STORY

Before you think about your novel’s first page, think about the novel, as a whole. What happens? What’s the story?

From How to Write a Novel Even if You’re a New Writer:

Now you have your title, it’s time to brainstorm a fantastically crazy situation.

Mysteries usually involve a crime of some sort, often murder. So, who’s your victim? Why was he/ she murdered?

How was he/ she murdered? Where was he/ she murdered?

At this stage, you don’t need a complete plot, you just need enough material to become enthusiastic and inspired.

Choose a genre (category) and dream up some situations which would be appropriate for the genre you’ve chosen.

Choose one situation.

2. Create your milestones: they’re the bones of your outline

After you’ve chosen a situation, list your milestones:

• The setup (at the 25 per cent point of the novel);

• The midpoint, where everything changes, at 50 per cent;

• The OOPS milestone: the kick in the pants. Think of it as a sharp jolt, or the dark moment. It occurs at the 80 per cent point.

Etc…

This article tells you about milestones; I don’t want to repeat the information here.

3. Choose your Point of View character: your novel starts when his life changes

Well done, new author! You’ve got the bare bones of a real story.

Next, choose your primary character, your Point of View (POV) person — the one through whose experiences you’ll tell your story.

For example, in a mystery, your POV character is usually the sleuth. In a romance, the female protagonist is your POV person.

You may even choose to create an “unreliable” main character. An unreliable POV character is common in psychological thrillers.

Plot out several scenes, new author, then start writing

Got your main story, and POV character? Excellent. Note down a couple of scenes in your outline, if you wish.

Alternatively, just start writing.

Your process will probably change with each novel. My goal is always to start writing as soon as I have an intriguing idea for a story, plus a main character, because I know that new ideas will develop while I write.

You may want to develop your outline further. Whatever you choose… onward. 🙂

Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic

Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic

eBook: $5.99

Your readers want to enter your novel's world. They want to experience your book -- they want to live your book with your main characters.

More info →
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Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

eBook: $5.99

I developed the tactics and strategies in this book to help myself. My students have found them essential to producing both fiction and nonfiction almost effortlessly.

More info →
Buy from Apple iBooks
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Buy from Scribd
Buy from Kobo
Buy from Inktera
Buy from Amazon Kindle

Resources to build your writing career

Get daily writing news and tips on the blog’s Facebook page.

Need help with your writing? Visit our online store, or check out Angela’s books for writers.

Write Fiction: 3 Tips To Kickstart Your Bestselling Novel Today

Write Fiction: 3 Tips To Kickstart Your Bestselling Novel Today

You want to write fiction — a bestselling novel. It’s your dream, but how do you get started? Your novel may turn out be a bestseller, or a dud, but you’ll never know until you complete it, and it’s published.

Of course, something is holding you back, otherwise you’d have started your novel the first time the thought occurred to you.

Here’s the thing. Writing fiction is simple.

Truly, it is, as long as you remember to daydream.

If you want to write fiction, start daydreaming stories

Consider that you’re already an expert on stories. You’ve read thousands of novels. (If you haven’t… start reading, today.) Stories are everywhere. Movies, TV, Netflix.

Story starters are everywhere too; just watch any reality show to get dozens. Choose someone you hate on a reality show, and daydream about them. Or choose someone who intrigues you in a coffee shop, and daydream about the kind of person they are.

If you can daydream, you can write fiction.

These tips will help you to write fiction.

1. Sit down somewhere: grab your computer, or a notepad

This tip is vital. Put your rear end in a chair — chances are, you’ve heard this suggestion before. Please — DO IT.

I like to start my novels and short stories with a pen and notepad, but use a computer if you’re more comfortable.

OK. Let’s start writing your novel.

Write:

  • About a movie you saw. Think about someone in the movie, and write a description of them. Let your mind wander… and imagine something horrible happening to that person. Write your imaginings down.
  • A list of words. Any words you like. Just write them down the page — aim for 20. Choose any five words from your list, and use them in a paragraph. Close your eyes, and daydream. Keep writing.
  • A description of an acquaintance — someone at work, or a neighbor. Write about this person’s biggest secret. It’s a huge secret, a secret that they would literally kill to keep.

See what you did there? You were writing.

Anyone can write fiction, but don’t say to yourself: I’m writing a novel. That’s fatal. You’ll immediately become self-conscious, and your fears will crowd in.

Just start writing, without expectations of anything.

You’ll be surprised at the result.

2. Build a treasury of ideas to help you to write fiction

We read fiction for an emotional experience. Before bedtime tonight, you can pick up your Kindle, or a paperback novel, and you can immerse yourself in someone else’s world.

You might become:

  • A gladiator in ancient rome;
  • A submarine mariner in a nuclear submarine;
  • An astronaut, setting foot on Mars for the very first time.

To write fiction, you need a treasury of ideas. Each of these ideas must have emotional resonance for you — that’s essential. Something about an idea intrigues you, and before you know it, you’re daydreaming…

Pay close attention to how you feel. Most people avoid their emotions, and that’s sad. If you’re doing this, keep a gratitude journal, so that you can start familiarizing yourself with your emotions.

Ideas are everywhere:

  • Look out the window. What do you see?
  • Read the news. Put yourself in the shoes of someone who has made the news;
  • Listen to people. Most people like to gossip. Squirrel away the stories they tell you.

Write down your ideas, just a sentence or three, in an idea notebook.

3. WRITE fiction every day: start by creating characters

Remember: avoid saying — to yourself and others — I am writing a novel. Tempting yes, but it might be fatal too.

To write a novel, you need:

  • Characters
  • Those characters do things, because they MUST and that creates…
  • A plot.

Every short story or novel begins with a character who has a huge problem. He can’t avoid the problem.

So, start writing about a character who has a problem.

Then create another character with a problem.

And another…

See? You already know how to write fiction.

Get started.

The Journaling Habit: Achieve Your Goals And Change Your Life In Just Ten Minutes A Day

The Journaling Habit: Achieve Your Goals And Change Your Life In Just Ten Minutes A Day

eBook: $5.99

Do you love your life?

If you don't ADORE your life, you can change it — more easily than you can imagine.

More info →
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Plot Hot-Selling Fiction The Easy Way

Plot Hot-Selling Fiction The Easy Way

$5.99
Author:
Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 3
Genre: Writing

How To Write Novels And Short Stories Readers Love: You're about to discover the easiest, fastest, and most fun plotting method ever. You can use it for all your fiction, whether you're writing short stories, novellas or novels. Take control of your fiction now, and publish more, more easily.

More info →
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Buy from Scribd
Buy from Kobo
Buy from Apple iBooks
Buy from Amazon Kindle

Resources to build your writing career

Get daily writing news and tips on the blog’s Facebook page.

Need help with your writing? Visit our online store, or check out Angela’s books for writers.