Having finished one project, I now need to get in the frame of mind to start the process anew. I don’t consciously think about the things that I’m supposed to be doing when I’m writing a story, but there’s some sort of formula.
This new story kind of seeped over from the last project. I don’t know the characters yet, but I’m piecing their history together as I go.
Interestingly, I came across an article which I’ve read several times before, but serves as a reminder of the do’s and don’ts to remember. I got it off Camy Tang’s Blog (Story Sensei) and I’ve encapsulated the points as reminders to myself and those of you who might need help in this area. The article is entitled The Top Ten Mistakes I See in Fiction Manuscripts. Click here to read the full article.
10. Grab the reader by putting him into your character’s skin. Use deep point-of-view.
9. Help the reader feel your character’s emotions. He won’t care about your hero if he’s not experiencing the story with him.
8. Kick-start the novel with a strong opening sentence. Keep your reader engaged at all cost.
7. Give your characters some goals (external) which have to be achieved as the novel progresses. We know they grow and change because we feel their turmoil, but they gotta have something tangible to work toward, right?
6. Axe any scene that’s not moving the story forward. Forget the ordinary stuff that’s in there as filler and so achieves nothing. No smelling of flowers or chatting over tea that gives no new information or insight.
5. No long descriptive passages with details that can be filled in later. Keep the action humming along.
4. We all agree, conflict keeps our stories rolling forward. Build the conflict and heighten tension to keep readers invested in the story.
3. Write efficiently and with purpose. Forget writing as though you’ve only had one lesson in a workshop for beginners.
2. Cliches are a no-no. Make both the characters and the writing as fresh and intriguing as possible.
1. Know where you are on the journey, and work accordingly. There’s no point rushing through a manuscript to send it off ASAP. We might know we’re talented, but if we spread those manuscripts far and wide before they’re error free and read smoothly, we’re only setting ourselves up for embarrassment. This is why I never stop reading on the craft of writing and trying to learn as much as I can. Writing to publication standard takes time and effort.
These pointers will keep me headed in the right direction. I hope they help you too.