“He told me that he loved me, but in that broken moment, I knew he was lying. There are no words to express the pain in knowing he could never love me. But again, I find it comforting to know the truth of the man I once knew. Maybe another time, he could love, but I will not wait for it. Too many times he’s broken my heart, and too many times I’ve given away parts of my waning life. I shall move on and hopefully find the happiness I have been searching for before I die.”
Today, I will like to discuss the basics of a novel: what makes it good and why. A novelist is a storyteller, plain and simple, and being a storyteller does not mean you must be the best editor of grammar and style (though knowing the basics of grammar is necessary).
What makes a great read are your characters. The hero and heroine must have well rounded personalities, so readers can easily identify with them. The best way to do this is to interview your character. Yup, I said interview them and discover who they really are. Here are some great questions to get you going:
What do they look like? Are they attractive, plain, tall, short, thin, fat? What are their names? Where are they from? What are their quirks and habits? What is their family background? Have they had a good up bringing? What frightens them? What are their strengths and weaknesses?
Basically, you must find out every little detail about your characters. It’s great if you can determine what sort of tragedy (if any) has happened in their life. This last thought brings us to our next topic of what makes a great read: Conflict.
Conflict in a novel is your best friend. The more you add; the better. I know you love your hero and want him to succeed, but throw him in as many predicaments you can without over doing it. Now, there are two kinds of conflict you should know: Internal and external conflict.
Internal conflict deals with what is going on within your character emotionally and psychologically. Here’s an example: Your main character has finally found his match, but his recently tattered heart won’t allow him to either trust women or feel comfortable with anything risky like matrimony. Internal conflict can aid in creating external conflict.
External conflict is exactly what it says. It deals with tension outside of you characters mind. Remember your tattered hero? Maybe he is robbed and beaten on the same day he becomes bankrupt. This, again, ties in with internal conflict because emotionally the hero will believe he is not worthy or capable to support a wife.
Now the best sort of conflict is tension between your hero and heroine. Make them angry, make them fight, yet struggle to protect one another. Now, think back to all your relationships and try to remember what sort of tension there was and put it in your novel. The best sort of conflict is sometimes cultivated from experience because you can really dig into it, and make the reader squirm as the tension tightens and tightens. For example, My husband and I were not exactly pals when we met. He annoyed me with his jokes and often made fun of me, and in return, I behaved badly toward him, if our paths ever crossed, which they did–continuously!
Dialogue. This is very important. To make your characters believable, you must write the dialogue according to their personality. If my character was a sophisticated, business man with an arrogant nose, I wouldn’t write him speaking like this:
“Ohh my goshh! I–like–totally missed that meeting ’cause Judy ruined my best, favorite pants in the world. Ya’know, the cute ones I always wear. Duh!”
This sounds more like a teenage girl from the valley and not like a snooty, business man. Remember, real people speak differently than they write. I try to keep up with grammar when I write, but sometimes I don’t speak it. Wherever you live, there is always some kind of accent or slang that is unique to your city, state, country, etc. If you aren’t good with dialogue, try sitting in a crowded room or restaurant–somewhere where many people are chatting away–and listen. Take a note pad and pen with you and write down what you hear, especially slang, accents, and anything that may be significant or unique to a certain type of person.
Thanks you guys for listening. Yup, I said you guys even though Texans are known to say y’all. This reminds me to say, that no matter what kind of stereotypes there are, it almost isn’t fully correct. If you do write about someone from Texas, remember we all speak differently according to what region of Texas we are from. Some speak ‘normal’ and others do have a country accent. Way in the heart of this great state are people who do speak like Boomhauer from the t.v. show, King of the Hill, which sounds almost like gibberish to everyone else. So thanks again, everyone, and I hope this post helps you become a better storyteller.
I started working out again on Monday. It feels good exercising, but I wonder how long I can keep up the routine. Last time it was about two months, and I lost twelve pounds. Since then, I have gained it all back and more, but this time, I really want to lose at least thirty pounds. I actually prefer losing sixty pounds, which would put me where I need to be, but setting my goal at a lower count is more practical right now. Tomorrow, I think I will try to burn more calories than I burned today. So far this week, I have burned seven hundred and sixty calories. I think that is a good start!
Life is busy, hard, and can sometimes choke the life out of you. It seems there is always something to do or something waiting to be done. Jobs (especially the ones we hate) control most of our days and give us enough stress to make us want to throw in the towel and take a vacation every week. Add kids into the mix, pets, relatives, friends, and anyone one else who depend on you–who need a piece of your attention, and your work load will fly off the charts!
So to writers who don’t have enough time to sit, think , and type away, take a deep breath and relax. Take your To Do list into your hands and insert–at least–two small increments of writing time. I’d suggest increments of fifteen minutes, but you can set aside five or ten minutes, depending on how busy you are. And if this advice fails you, just wing it, and try to write whenever you can.
Remember, no one said you had to write for hours at a time. As long as you write something down each day, you’re doing great. Now grab your To Do list and get to planning, or if you want to wing it and have a few minutes to spare after reading this post, brew yourself a cup of tea or coffee and get crackin’ on your best-seller.
I hope you have seen the article about a book being published with ink that disappears after two months because that is what I would like to discuss today. If you haven’t read it yet, I posted a link from my twitter below.
So tell me guys and gals, what do you think? Good, bad, or ugly? I think it is a cool idea that can attract readers from the popular e-readers, but would you want a book you bought to disappear? I am still uncertain about this fact. If I buy a book, I plan on reading it over and over again–even years later.
So tell me what you think. How do you feel about it, and would you buy books with ink that disappeared? Would you want your novel to be published with such ink? I want to read your comments on this subject because it is a very intriguing concept.
Apparently it is 105 degrees outside and I have a flat. Thank God I have one of those electric things (Like my technical term?) that air up a flat tire. My tire captured a nail, so that means I will have to take it to the shop. At least, it wasn’t all the way flat.
Combining the heat and the severely bright sun is a recipe for misery. Yup, and misery has definitely found me. I hate migraines; they really are pain. (No pun intended.) I have one that is tight and radiating my skull. Well, some meds, a good nap, and peace and quiet should help. I am just thankful I made it home without burning alive outside. Everything in my car was burning hot when I got into it–even the air burned me. Next time, I will park under a tree!
I have a long schedule today and do not have time to type out a full post, so I have gathered some great advice from my twitter. I have received comments here, and by email, asking me to write more on ways that could help writers perfect their writing. Of course, the number one advice is always have confidence in your craft–even if you don’t have confidence in yourself.
I learned this long ago (though I still doubt at times) and it will surely help you as it has me. There are things you do–you create–that you will hate, but others will like it and love it. My photography teacher hated a certain photo in her collection, however, it won first place. If it wasn’t for her friends (who thought is was fantastic) she would have thrown it out. So don’t throw out something before you gather other, unbiased opinions.
There are many programs writers can use other than Microsoft Word. No offense to the Word, which I used to use, but there are software that is made specifically for writers. Word is awesome, if you know how to use it well, but it still lacks features that can make it easier for us writers to do our work, whether you are a novelist, screenwriter, technical writer, etc.
I will list only a few programs I have heard about, but trust me–there is more–a whole lot more.
Let’s see. I will start with Write or Die. This is a web application that is more suited for those who need encouragement–for those who just can’t get themselves to sit at that desk, put their fingers to the keyboard, and write.
Write or Die by Dr Wicked:
As I said, Write or Die is a unique brand of tool that, in its own way, encourages you to write–no matter what. Intrigued? No? Well, you should be. There are levels you can choose–levels of punishment, if you don’t write. Though it sounds extreme, I have heard great reviews from people I know who claim to use it. If you are not interested in something unconventional, you should still take a peek. It’s worth a look.
Wizard of Words:
Now, Wizard of Words is a tool that requires Microsoft Office. It helps set up, organize, and edit your work. I don’t know anyone personally who have used Wizard of Words, but it is something you can check out, if it sounds like a good match.
I’ve tried this software and it is okay. It is downloaded onto a PC and doesn’t work with a word processor. This software is geared toward people who attack weaknesses in their writing like style, repeated words, weak words or phrases, etc. It also keeps track of word count and how many words you have in each sentence, which helps you avoid extremely long sentences. Master Edit wasn’t a great fit for me, but feel free to check it out.
This application works with Microsoft Word and is geared toward editing your work by checking and modifying your style, word usage, grammar, etc to create a clearer document for readers to understand. It is quite helpful with graphs and statistics to help you decide what modification is needed. If this sounds great to you, check it out and happy writing!
This amazing tool is what I use to write my novels. Scrivener helps with long documents like novels, screen writing, etc. It keeps your work organized according to what type of writing you do. If you are writing a novel, it allows you to separate your book by chapters or scenes and will organize it the way it should be for printing. It also helps with editing and organizing your research and notes–it even keeps track of websites you use. There are more features, but why spoil the fun. Check this out, if it appeals to you.
Now, I only talked about a few applications, but there are more I wish I could discuss. However, I don’t want to bore anyone, if I haven’t already, so here is a list you can research, if none of these I have discussed are to your liking. Thanks for reading and happy writing!
- Final Draft (screen writers)
- Story Craft Pro
If you can expel any emotion while you are writing, it is guaranteed your readers will laugh, worry, be frightened, and cry along with you, which (in my opinion) is what a good book is suppose to do.