Category Archives: Write a novel

3 Tips To Writing Page-Turning Fiction, Starting Today

3 Tips To Writing Page-Turning Fiction, Starting Today

Want to write page-turning fiction?

Start by writing in scenes.

Then focus on the emotions.

Fiction is all about emotion

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

Fiction is all about emotion, and that emotion has reasons, which derive from action. You’ll often see novels which critics hate on top of various bestseller lists. Remember the fuss about the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy? Critics hated the books. However, those books sold in their millions. Why? Simple. Emotion. The books gave readers an emotional experience: they entertained readers, so the novels sold — and sold some more.

They’ll go on selling, because readers will always want entertainment.

Let’s look at some tips to help you to write fiction that readers love.

1. Focus on emotion while you write

We talked about outlining for emotion here:

Consider the emotions you want your reader to feel. Keep reminding yourself of the emotions as you write – this will soon become automatic. I’ve found that if I’m getting bored as I write, it’s always because I’ve lost the emotional thread. Throw in more conflict. Make your characters fight for what they want.

2. Find the feeling in each scene

It’s vital that you write in scenes, so that you can focus on the emotions, because readers are reading for emotion. When you focus on each scene, you can ask yourself:

  • Who wants what, here, in this scene?
  • What are they feeling?
  • Why?
  • What changes in the scene?

3. Think about what your characters want, before writing a scene

From Fiction Writing Basics: Focus On EMOTION:

Your characters have GOALS. If they don’t have goals, you don’t have a story. They also need to be motivated to achieve their goals: no motivation, no story. And of course, your characters don’t get an easy ride. Their goals are hard to achieve.

This means that your novels and short stories need to be about something important — important, that is, to the characters — important enough to raise strong emotions.

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

Want to write better fiction? Know yourself emotionally

Writing fiction can be difficult, because (if you’re writing good fiction) you’re dealing with emotions, day after day. It’s wearing.

You may find yourself avoiding scenes which you know you need to write, because you don’t want to feel those emotions. That’s OK. Over time, you’ll become accustomed to manipulating readers’ emotions, and will understand your own emotions on a deeper level.

So you could say that writing fiction is therapeutic, and good for you. Remember to have fun with it. 🙂

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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Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

$4.99
Author:
Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 4
Genre: Writing
Tag: writing fiction

You want to write a novel. Perhaps you can't get started. Or maybe you got started, and then you stopped.You need a plan, broken down into easy steps. This program began as a 30-day challenge which I organized for readers in 2010. Hundreds of writers joined the challenge and completed it. They wrote novels.

More info →

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.

3 Quick NaNoWriMo Writing Tips To Boost Your Inspiration

3 Quick NaNoWriMo Writing Tips To Boost Your Inspiration

Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? If you are, you’re around a week into your novel, and your inspiration is flagging.

Professional novelists know that after a week or two of writing, or at around 10,000 words, they’ll hit “the wall.”

The wall is the point at which you think you’re writing the wrong novel.

You CAN complete a NaNoWriMo (or any novel) when your inspiration flags

Amazingly, the wall can seem like fresh inspiration.

A charmingly seductive voice whispers: your novel is boring. You made a mistake. Here’s a MUCH better idea… It’s a guaranteed bestseller. Drop the dreck, and write THIS NOW…

Dismiss the voice, please.

ALL novels hit the wall sooner or later. A “better idea” isn’t. You’ll hit the wall with that idea too.

Here are some tips to give your inspiration a swift kick up the derriere, so that you can complete your novel (whether it’s NaNoWriMo or not) in style.

1. Power through by outlining fresh scenes (even if you don’t know where they’ll fit)

Although the voice intends to derail you, it sometimes has a point about the “better idea.”

Thank the voice, and make a note of the idea it brought you. Tell it that you’ll work on its “idea” next, after you complete this novel.

Now, ask the voice, because it’s the part of your creative self which specializes in ideas, for fresh ideas for wonderful scenes for this novel. Tell the voice that the scenes can be for the setup, the middle portion, or the final quarter of your novel. You don’t care.

Ideas for new scenes will come to you.

Add the ideas where they fit. If you’re not sure, put the ideas into a “unplaced scenes” folder. Scrivener, if you’re using the app, makes creating folders easy.

2. Create differently: dictate, handwrite, or sketch-write to generate words

You can often break through the wall by changing the way you write.

You can:

  • Write in a coffee shop, or write on your phone;
  • Dictate the next few scenes;
  • Write several scenes by hand; or
  • “Sketch-write” the scenes.

When you “sketch write” you write your scenes in all dialogue, or jot notes for them. Tell yourself you’re just playing around, you’re not really writing anything at all.

Oddly enough, when you tell yourself that you’re not writing, you’re playing, your resistance dissolves. It’s a trick, and it works.

3. Rethink: what do you REALLY want to write? (A subplot may help)

The wall gifts you with clarity on all the holes in your plot, as well as insights into problems with your characters.

Don’t panic. Although the voice can be brutal, it’s helpful too, as long as you don’t dissolve into a puddle of tears and despair.

Since the voice tends to toss ideas at you, ask for an idea for a subplot.

Subplots are fun to write. They also make your novel richer.

In Writing Fiction: 3 Easy Tips For Subplots, we suggested some ideas for subplots:

… whatever your genre and main plot, a subplot can add a needed change of pace. Shakespeare often added humorous scenes to his tragedies. When there’s too much gloom and doom, you need a contrast so that readers appreciate the next horror scene.

Whatever your genre, humor is always welcome. Try creating a character or two for comic relief.

Consider adding a romantic subplot, if you’re writing in a genre (science fiction, thrillers, mysteries) which doesn’t need romance. In these genres, a romantic subplot not only aids character development, it also provides a useful change of pace.

NaNoWriMo: onward, ever onward. Keep writing

If you refuse to stop writing when you hit the wall, you’ll discover that you’ll tap into fresh inspiration and will power through your novel.

Use the above tips to regain your enthusiasm.

Have fun. 🙂

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 →
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Buy from Scribd
Buy from Kobo
Buy from Apple iBooks
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

$4.99
Author:
Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 4
Genre: Writing
Tag: writing fiction

You want to write a novel. Perhaps you can't get started. Or maybe you got started, and then you stopped.You need a plan, broken down into easy steps. This program began as a 30-day challenge which I organized for readers in 2010. Hundreds of writers joined the challenge and completed it. They wrote novels.

More info →

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.

Fiction Writing: 3 Ways To Find Novel-Worthy Ideas

Fiction Writing: 3 Ways To Find Novel-Worthy Ideas

Hunting for ideas for your fiction writing? Finding novel-worthy ideas can be challenging.

You find a brilliant idea today. Then you look at it tomorrow, and wonder what you were thinking. The idea has died for you.

So, how do you find ideas for fiction writing which are worth exploring in 50,000 or more words?

Start by watching for what fascinates you.

Fiction writing: ideas from things that fascinate you

Not only do you want “great” ideas, you want to find ideas which will hold your interest. So, watch for things which grab your attention. If something holds your attention for more than an hour or two, there might be an idea hiding in it somewhere.

I read a lot of nonfiction to help me with my fiction. A month ago, I read a biography which described an event which made me go… “hmmmm….” After doing a little more research, I found that the event had never (to my knowledge) been covered in fiction.

This idea may well turn into a series of novels in a few months, because I haven’t lost interest in the event, and find myself thinking about it several times a day.

Now let’s look at some quick tips for finding novel-worthy ideas.

1. Read the news: who’s doing what? Why? Where?

Global and national news is depressing. Murder, mayhem, misery, and politics… For me, it’s also useless as a source of ideas.

However, if you write thrillers, crime fiction or adventure novels (or even fantasy) you might find the headlines fascinating for your next “snatched from the headlines” idea.

I prefer local news for idea exploration, because (generally speaking) it’s more relatable. Also useful to me: magazines which cover psychology and science.

When you find yourself reading a news article, and looking for more information, ask yourself: who? and why? You may find an idea. Be sure to keep the information you’ve gathered. And if you find yourself thinking of the news story a week from now, hunt for a potential character, and a story question in your idea.

2. Nonfiction can be a wonderful source of ideas

Over the years, I’ve collected my own reference library which I should browse for ideas more than I do. Frankly, I’m scared that I’ll find ideas which intrigue me so much that I’m forced to revise my current publishing program.

Explore your local library. I’ve found novel-worthy ideas in recipe books, history books, autobiographies and biographies… If you find a book which captures your attention, either make notes from it immediately, or check it out of the library. (If a book is truly useful, buy your own copy.)

3. You may find novel-worthy ideas in fiction

I’m not suggesting that you plagiarize a recent or past bestseller. However, every genre has tropes, which readers love.

In mysteries, common tropes include:

  • The closed room mystery;
  • A mysterious book, letter, or confession;
  • Strange case: the primary suspect who couldn’t have done it because… (but yes, he did it, in a very clever way)

Fiction writing from your life: can you fictionalize real life events?

I’ve had many questions about this over the years. My answer is usually: find something else to write about.

Here’s why:

  • You may get stuck on what “really happened” and forget to add drama and suspense (I know one author-to-be who’s been obsessing about something that happened in her life for the past ten years, and no novel in sight);
  • It’s challenging to write fiction about an event if any of the people concerned (or their relatives) are still alive;
  • My instinct and experience tell me that it’s almost impossible to do well if you’re a new author. Fiction is telling lies, and finding truths. Fictionalizing a real event takes a lot of distance from the event, as well as the ability to find meaning in it, and create drama from it. Experienced authors can do this. A new author often can’t.

Does this mean you should never try to fictionalize people or events from your own life?

No — definitely not. Every author can only write from his own experience, and only you are the judge of what works for your fiction writing.

Yes, You’re Creative: How To Unlock Your Imagination And Build The Writing Career Of Your Dreams

Yes, You’re Creative: How To Unlock Your Imagination And Build The Writing Career Of Your Dreams

eBook: $5.99

In this book we'll aim to increase your creativity to unlock your imagination and build the writing career of your dreams.

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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.