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Tips, Inspiration, & Resources

7 Myths About Novelists

[Image courtesy of The British Library, from The Novels of Captain Marryat, page 208]

Let's bust up the seven biggest myths about novelists. If you're a novelist, an aspiring novelist, a devourer of novels, or all of the above, may the following illuminate, encourage, and inspire you.

 

I spent much of my life buying into all those "Truths" about novelists. Some of them were assumptions I made over a lifetime of reading novels, and others I picked up from various books and blogs on writing.

 

When I started writing, I figured that if I didn't fit into one of those so-called Truths I'd read about, there had to be something wrong with me. It took me a long time to realize that it wasn't a question of right or wrong; rather it's that what works for another novelist might not work for me, and vice versa. Read More 

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The Seven Elements of a Compelling Story: A Checklist

THE SEVEN ELEMENTS OF A COMPELLING  STORY

 

1. WHAT DOES YOUR CHARACTER WANT? (a/k/a, THE GOAL)

 

Some examples of goals:

  • Love, appreciation
  • recognition
  • the need to be understood
  • defeat of an enemy
  • basic human survival
  • recovery from trauma
  • closure after tragedy
  • finding a reason to live
  • finding a purpose
  • making peace with the past
  • triumph over adversity of any kind.

 

2. WHAT'S STOPPING HIM/HER FROM GETTING IT? (a/k/a CONFLICT):

  • Conflict takes many forms: Oneself (we are our own worst enemy), other people, situations. 
  • Infuse conflict into every scene.

3. WHY SHOULD YOUR READERS CARE ABOUT YOUR CHARACTER'S STRUGGLE? (a/k/a SYMPATHY)

  • Reveal the truth about your hero, even if he doesn't know it himself.
  • Give your characters layers and dimension—even villains are human beings; even heroes have flaws. 
  • Go easy on the self-pity, even infuse humor if possible. 

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Taking Your Book to the Next Level: What a Professional Editor Can Do For You (Part 1)

Photo by Fernanda Marin on Unsplash.

 

Unless you are extraordinarily blessed, you probably are stronger as a writer in some areas than in others. A professional editor should not only point out your strengths and challenges, but also should help you triumph over your challenges by showing you how to expand your own strengths and talents into areas of the book that need them.

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