Nine more days to go before completing the 30 day writing blog. I wish to have taken you all through a step-by-step process of writing your book, but somethings need more time and quite more details to be fully understood. With my full schedule, what I have offered are some significant writing tips to make anyone's writing better. By using these tips, your writing will become stronger and your reader engagement, if the tips are executed well, should increase by a large margin. There's not a lot I know, but I know books. I know about writing and what it takes to write a bestselling novel.
From the moment I start a manuscript until I finish it is an emotional journey. One of my most enjoyed is when I can tie little things that are mentioned at the start of the story to something major in the plot. I’m not sure what kind of technique this is called, but it’s used a lot by New York Times bestselling authors. The reason this is a good trick to use is because the reader can connect the mention to the overall plot and feel like it’s something they have figured out on their own.
I don’t want to give away the mention I made at the start of my novel, so let’s use a different book that has been made into a movie. Have any of you ever read “Girl on the Train?” This is going to be a spoiler, so if you’re thinking of buying the book or if you’re currently reading it or have it in your library to read, don’t read any further.
For those of you that don’t mind continue reading, here is a great example of what I’m talking about. In writing, you want to use everything you have that’s already in the story to connect the dots and create a bigger impact on reader anticipation. In my book “Anyone Can Write,” one of the things I have a writer do is write down everything they can about the main character. The more you know, the more you can use it to your advantage in the novel.
In the movie version of “Girl on the Train,” the main character Rachel has a drinking problem. That’s simple enough right. Your character might not have a drinking problem, but follow along.
Throughout the novel, she’s struggling with her addiction to alcohol. At the end of the movie, which is also the moment of climax for viewers, she defends herself against her attacker. It’s what she uses that makes the scene incredible. To stop her attacker, she uses the screw on a wine bottle opener. She could have used a gun or a knife from the kitchen, but by using the wine opener it made the scene memorable.
Remember when I mentioned in a previous post that a writer’s aim is to get the reader to walk in the shoes of the main character? This does not mean to say that readers wish to be alcoholics. The reason readers can identify with Rachel’s dilemma is because they can understand what she’s going through. It’s as simple as that. Our characters can be anyone struggling with any kind of internal issue. What connects the reader to a character is when an injustice has been done to that particular character. The reason readers can connect is because injustices happens to all of us, all the time, and every day. This also speaks again about some of the things I mention in “Anyone Can Write.”
The more we include ‘familiarity’ in a book, especially on the first pages in the first chapter, the reader quickly identifies with the character. They identify more with ‘familiarity’ than they do looks or a character’s strange habits (if a character has any). This also ties in with conflict and tension, which I have talked about in this blog and in my writing book. When we force our characters to face injustices, our readers are determined to keep reading to see how the character will deal with the issue.
The trick in using the method I mentioned, about using things you already have in your book, is not making it so obvious that the reader can guess what’s going to happen before you finally reveal the last part of your plot. Rachel using the wine bottle opener is ingenious. It gives the reader an aha! moment that will stay with them a long time after they finish reading the story. By using the wine opener, the reader quickly can identify with Rachel using the only thing she knows most about to survive. What does she know? How to drink. How to open a bottle of liquor.
Today as I was writing, one of my characters used what they knew to survive an ordeal. The reader is not going to see it coming, which will make the moment one of sheer satisfaction and entertainment. Because honestly speaking, this trick or technique in writing is why people buy books. Remember when I mentioned in a previous post that readers like to become sleuths? This is true, even if the reader isn’t aware of it. Avid readers know how to pull certain mentions in a book and store it away for later use, and when the moment comes they feel accomplished and smart.
Just to give a little more advice, this is why some books do better than others when it comes to sales. Readers know when authors have stepped out of a genre’s formula. By stepping out of a genre’s formula, they become uncertain if the book will be equally satisfying as other books they’ve read. This also brings me to two other mentions I’ve made. One is, is the author writing for themselves or the reader. The other is, a good book idea is only a good one if you can find a large enough target of readers that will be interested in your story enough to buy it and read it.
Use what you have. The start of my story or any story is the dilemma your main character must face. For the next couple of chapters, you are doing several things. You are introducing your character to conflict after conflict, which will be looked at as injustices that the reader can identify with. The things you mention in the beginning of the book, you use those mentions toward the end of the book to bring the reader full circle, because bringing a reader full circle is closing the gap and having no loose ends.
I hope you get what I’m saying and use it to your advantage. Because again, writing a story isn’t telling daily events your character practices. What do people do every day? They eat, and sleep, and drink fluids, or might go to the gym, or might go to work. None of these things should be mentioned in a story unless it’s relative to the plot. A good story is an unfolding plot, events that sparks another event that sparks another event that leads to a moment of do or die for your character.
I truly hope these posts help you in your writing endeavors. Until next time, keep writing! You can do it. I know you can. If I didn’t think you could, I wouldn’t have written “Anyone Can Write” or be in the process of offering online writing courses. If you think you are a writer, become one. It’s up to you.