You’re writing fiction, and you want readers to love your novel. Did you know that you can use tricks to help?
Sometimes authors get sniffy when I mention “tricks”, and that’s OK. Here’s an easy trick: make sure that you’re having fun with your fiction.
When you’re writing fiction, write the book you want to read
Writing teachers are fond of saying to new authors: write the book you want to read. That’s excellent advice, because if you enjoy writing, that comes across in your words. If you hate what you’re writing, that comes across too.
So, start by having fun, then use these tricks.
1. Forget “good writing”: focus on entertainment
It’s common for new authors to want to “write well,” which leads to disasters like trying to find 100 synonyms for “said” or “very.” Please believe that if you focus on entertaining readers, you will write well automatically.
Readers read fiction for entertainment, and it’s your job to make sure that when they’re reading your novels, they’re enjoying themselves.
2. Focus on your scenes: strive for memorable moments
Think about your favorite novels. What do you remember about them? Chances are that you remember the characters, and a couple of scenes: memorable moments.
Writing in scenes is vital. Not sure how it’s done? Check out: Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic. If you can write just ONE scene in each book which is memorable, you’ll collect fans.
If you’re a Jane Austen fan your most memorable scene in Pride and Prejudice may well be Darcy’s ungracious proposal to Elizabeth — it’s certainly mine. I can imagine Jane Austen sitting at her desk, quill in hand, while she’s imagining that scene, and chuckling when she’s writing the dialogue.
Here’s a memorable scene from The Stranger Next Door, by Joy Fielding:
Bettye McCoy, third wife of Richard McCoy, and some thirty years his junior, not an unusual occurrence in South Florida, was being pulled along the sidewalk by her two small white dogs. She was dressed from head to toe in beige Armani, and in her free hand she carried a small white plastic bag full of dog poop, a fashion irony seemingly lost on the third Mrs. McCoy.
A few evenings ago I was rereading P.G. Wodehouse’s short story “The Great Sermon Handicap”. When I got to to scene where the footman Charles is chasing the fat choirboy Harold, I laughed so hard I almost choked. That scene’s an absolute gem — a memorable moment.
Think about your favorite books (or a book you’ve just read.) Which scenes which you remember? Why?
3. Bring on the emotion: laugh, cry, get angry
Memorable scenes are always packed with emotion.
So that’s our final tip — pack your fiction with emotion.
You need to set out to do this deliberately. Do it when you’re revising, after the first draft. Kids and dogs are always great emotional value.
Recently I reread a novel I wrote under a pen name. My aim in rereading was to familiarize myself with it, so that I could republish it as part of a series.
I found myself sniffling in a couple of places, and was pleased. I’d been very calculated about setting up these emotion-packed scenes. A couple of years later, after I’d forgotten the details of writing the scenes, they nevertheless affected me — as I hope they will readers.
So, there you have it — three fiction-writing tricks you can use which will make your readers love your next novel.
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.More info →
All authors do; no one sets out to write a boring novel.
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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