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Day Twenty-Four

To write good fiction, you must do several things:

1. Know what readers are looking for.

2. Have a good opening paragraph and first chapter.

3. Have a good plot.

4. Have three dimensional characters readers will care about.

5. You must know when to trust your writing instincts.

6. You must also know when to ditch certain writing desires and stick to the genre and standard of the fiction you are writing.

7. Good dialogue that keeps the story moving.

All artists never want to feel like they’ve sold out to popular demand. We’re visionaries. Even before finishing a painting or a manuscript, in my case, we can see the final product in our eyes. Here’s the difference between a painter and an author. A painting only has to appeal to one buyer. A book has to appeal to many readers.

I’m at the stage in my manuscript where everything is coming together, my plot is being revealed, my main characters have come up with plans that should grant them their desire, and my antagonist has realized that they may have victimized the wrong target. There’s a lot happening, as you can see. If I want readers to enjoy this part of the book, I must have written the first half of the book in such a compelling way, they must keep reading and want to keep reading to find out how it all will end. They should anticipate the final chapters; hopefully in such a way that they keep an eye on the number of pages they have left while dreading the idea of this good story ending.

The emotions I described above are necessary for a bestselling book.

Each time I sit down to write a new story, this is what I want to happen. To make sure I accomplish this goal, I must be careful how I compose the three parts of my book: beginning, middle and end. What I want to look out for are three things:

1. Moments I can detect the storyline moving too slow.

2. Moments when the storyline may be moving too fast.

3. Getting to the point and moving on, because this keeps the plot moving.

There are times when I’m writing that I may see that a chapter may be too long. Chapters don’t have to be a specific size, and each chapter in a book doesn’t have to be the same number of pages. It doesn’t matter how good the writing is, most readers prefer to move on once a point has been made. I want to satisfy the reader, because readers are my customers. If I can sense a chapter as being long, more than not it is. So even if it kills me, I will cut the chapter down while not losing the emotional elements of that chapter.

I also want to do something that some authors don’t know or think about. There are certain topics that are mentioned in stories that automatically pull readers in. Here’s a brief list.

1. Weddings

2. New love

3. Children in dangerous situations

4. Creepy, suspicious children

5. A new way of looking at something that’s otherwise ordinary

6. Death

Whenever I have any of these mentions in my stories, I don’t want to leave them too soon. Let me give you an example of what I mean. Recently, I was reading a sci-fi story. The daughter and son of separate, warring tribes were to get married in an attempt to end the feud and bring both sides together. This daughter and son hated each other. It took an entire chapter for the wedding to take place, a good chapter that gave plenty of lead up and anticipation, only for the new couple to reach their new home and the wife is kidnapped before anything at all can happen between the newly wedded husband and his bride.

I was sorely let down. In all honesty, I didn’t want to keep reading, but I did hoping the new couple would get back together and I can read about the friction between them. But this didn’t happen. For the next couple of chapters they stayed apart and, instead, the author focused on the fighting between both tribes, but not in a way that I could figure out what the story was truly about.

When I’m writing, I never want to lose the focus of the reader. I can only do this by anticipating and knowing what readers want. Thankfully, I believe I already have a good idea of what readers want. So, as I’m writing I make sure to include things I know a reader wants to read about.

A story isn’t all about me. It’s not all about the author. It should be about the reader. Once I lose sight of that I lose sight of my overall goal, which is to become one of the most memorable bestselling authors out there. Don’t you want the same thing? Don’t you want to write a story that readers can’t get enough of?

You can do it! Read each of my writing tips and include them into your writing process. Sorry to end this post short, but it's the weekend and like always, my weekend has become more than hectic.

Until next time, keep writing!

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