A few threads tie all types of novels together. Consider the following important aspects of every genre novel.
- Plot Resolution—every genre puts forth a plot that requires resolution; the ending is not left for a reader to wonder about—the conflicts and dilemmas of the story are always solved. The mystery is solved, the romance is happily resolved, the suspense protagonist always escapes, etc.
- Likable Protagonist—the genre novel always revolves around a likable character, one that can be admired even as a flawed human being. Perhaps some of their flaws add to their admirability. For example, the recurring detective, Harry Bosch, in Michael Connelly’s novels is stubborn and determined. But its part of what makes him a good detective. Flaws also make the character more relatable to readers. Still, the main character will have more admirable qualities like integrity, courage, intelligence, compassion, etc.
- Justice—in a genre’s final analysis, there is typically some element of justice. Good triumphs over evil, the underdog wins, wrongdoers are stopped, caught or killed. There is some achievement, accomplishment or triumph.
- Emotional Impact—every genre carries an emotional impact. If not, why would anyone read it? The novel must pack some sort of emotional stirring that is consistent within its genre. Consider the following:
- a romance novel will evoke feelings of desire
- a horror novel will evoke fear
- a mystery novel will evoke curiosity
- a suspense novel will evoke the thrill of the chase
When a reader selects a book to read in their favorite genre, this emotional impact is something they count on.
- Entertainment—a genre novel should be fun and entertaining within its type. Entertaining means that the reader can’t put the book down, they are stimulated and provoked into turning pages. The reader picks up the novel with the expectation that it will provide an entertaining story, perhaps even help them escape to other places, people, and lives for a bit. Make it happen!
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Revision is a key process of novel writing, but to the detriment of many an aspiring author, it is often overlooked and/or misunderstood. Having knocked off that first draft of a novel – the one you’ve already spent hours, months, sometimes even years writing – you might think that the really hard work is done. But it is not done. In many ways, it’s just beginning. The reason we have a manuscript “first draft” is that there are subsequent drafts.
For some, the second draft means running a final spell check, cleaning up punctuation, and they may go as far as removing some of their overzealous adverbs and adjectives. They then declare their work a finished novel.
But not so fast. There is much more to novel revision than spelling and grammar. Much more. Revising a manuscript is a big job, one that an author cannot afford to skip.
Objectivity – the Key to Novel Revision
The new writer tends to be overly attached to their writing and is reluctant to remove any part of it. This is the first thing a novelist must overcome. Novel revision calls for objectivity – it’s not an easy thing. Sometimes we think we’ve written the perfect snappy line of dialogue, the most beautiful scene, and there’s no way you want to edit it out of your novel.
Advice: don’t be too much in love with your own writing. If something isn’t working to either move the story or reveal more about your characters – get rid of it. You don’t have to press the delete button, forever banishing your beloved words Continue reading Simplify Novel Revision with These Best in Practice Methods →
You may think of descriptive writing as the flowery descriptive stuff that you skip over when reading a novel, although many an author and reader enjoy that type of writing too. But the descriptive writing that we are talking about here is the kind that makes a reader “feel” the story as if they were part of a scene or knew someone just like the one described in a scene or narrative.
Good description is not an easy thing to accomplish in writing, but if you want to have a story that readers can’t put down because they lost themselves in it and didn’t find their way out until they’d finished it, you’ll find that learning to write great descriptive stories is well worth your time.
Descriptive Writing is a Key Element of Novel Writing
Entrancing readers with stories that keep moving involves creating believable, vivid portrayals of people, places, actions, and events. Descriptive writing isn’t separate from storytelling; it is a variety of techniques, which are combined to make a story.
You may speed through a rough first draft of your story and not pay much attention to details, but after that glorious rush of having gotten your story on paper, you must go back to it and consciously review the descriptions of characters, scenes, etc. You will look at such things as: Continue reading How to Captivate Readers with Descriptive Writing that Rocks →
In writing fiction, “style” is defined, in the most simplistic terms, as the way a writer writes. It’s the “voice” a reader hears when they read a novel. It’s your preferred method of telling a story. Your style seasons the entire novel whether you want it to or not. While you might try to emulate another writer because you admire their work and enjoy reading their stories, you may come close, but your story will still have your unique brand of writing style.
A person’s writing style is a mixture of many elements. It’s about how you like to write. Writing style comes through your choice of words, tone, and syntax. It’s also influenced by your personality, attitudes, thoughts, likes, dislikes, and idiosyncrasies – everything that makes you who you are.
Point of View and Other Novel-writing Terms
Terms like “point of view” (POV), “narrative voice”, and “writing voice” are understandably confusing. They are so often used interchangeably with “writing style”. However, each term represents a Continue reading Writing Voice, Style, Point of View and Other Terms →
Literary agents and publishers may ask you for an outline, so it’s important to know how to write a novel outline that tells your story and shows how it moves along from beginning to middle to end. You may also use outlining techniques to structure your story as you write it and as a way of expanding and keeping track of scenes, characters, subplot, and plot.
How to Write a Novel Outline for Literary Agents and Publishers
An outline requested by a literary agent or publisher is typically a numbered, formatted summary of each chapter or significant event. The outline should “tell” the reader exactly what happens in each chapter and does not dramatize it or leave a mystery for the reader to figure out. As with writing a synopsis for your novel – if you have written a mystery, for example – you disclose the resolution to the mystery, i.e., “who done it”.
Literary agents and publishers often have different guidelines for the length and details of the outline they want to see, and you should Continue reading How to Write a Novel Outline that Tells the Whole Story →
If someone asked you how to start a novel plot, what would your answer be? You might say that plot is everything that happens in a story and that they could begin by writing all of those events down. Your answer would be correct to a certain extent. However, in this section of the elements of novel writing, we are going to look at a deeper meaning of a novel’s plot and how novelists use it to get a story going and keep it going.
What is Plot?
If you are learning how to start a novel, the first thing to understand is that a story must have a plot. If it doesn’t have a plot, you might just have a long boring essay and not many readers. A plot includes all of these elements: Continue reading How to Start a Novel Plot – 5 Facts that Make a Difference →
Character development is one of the first essential steps of writing a novel and it involves creating the people who will carry out your story. There will most likely be a variety of characters needed for your story, but none as important as your lead character – your protagonist. A well-developed protagonist has much to do with the success of writing a novel.
The protagonist should be someone that your readers feel is a “real person” that they come to love (or at least like a whole lot), can relate to in many ways and will care about and think about long after they’ve turned the final page on your novel.
How to Create “Real People” for Your Novel
When writing a novel, there are many ways to go about creating characters and much has been written about it in “how to write a novel books”, sometimes in great detail. There are as many ideas about what makes a good character as there are apples on a tree. The traits of a lead character may change somewhat by the type of novel, or genre, you’re writing and by what your protagonist needs to accomplish in the novel’s plot. Still, there are a few personality traits that every lead character must possess, no matter what kind of novel you’re writing.
Writing a Novel – The Lead Character is:
- admirable – has integrity, courage, beauty, kindness, strength, etc. – leave the rotten personalities and hang-ups for the antagonist,
- relatable – create scenes that allow your character to evoke an emotional response from readers,
- realistic – portrays emotions consistent with their personality traits,
- a problem solver – someone with an over the top problem, whom readers believe is capable of solving.
Writing a Novel – Three Attributes of Every Character
I have found that the best way to begin the process of character development is by using a “top-down” method. It is composed of three elements:
- Primary Traits
- Traits that add “Complexity”, and
- Traits that Contrast Predominant Traits.
Let’s look at how Continue reading 3 Steps to Writing a Novel with Unforgettable Characters →
Just mention to a reader that you are writing a novel and the first thing of out their mouth is, “What types of novels do you write?” And, if you don’t readily know the answer to that question, you may stumble through a long account of your current novel’s plot, losing your audience – the one stifling a yawn – before you’re finished.
While some readers may be asking you for the whole story and nothing but the whole story, most readers just want to know the genre of your novel; genre describes your novel and identifies it by one of 10 leading types of novels in the market of popular fiction. It is the way that readers identify the types of novels they like and it helps publishers market your book.
What is the Relationship between a Writer and Genre?
I’ve described two important reasons for knowing your novel’s genre, but before you even get to that point of readership or publishing (and hopefully you will), understanding genre provides you, the writer, with a roadmap for writing your story – making the important decision about genre is the starting point of writing a novel.
Each genre has its own prescription for remaining true to type. Successful novels that don’t follow genre guidelines are rare (but not unheard of).
Writing within a genre will keep Continue reading Discover the Key to Writing 10 Popular Types of Novels →
As the title indicates, I’d love to blame someone else for the issues I’m having managing my time lately. I call them “issues” because “challenges” implies that I’ve been struggling, working on my time management. They won’t be challenges until I actually begin trying to correct the problems. Right after I write this post, I plan on doing just that. Yes, I do.
It’s a Dedicated Server Problem
If I could narrow down my issues, I’d call it a dedicated server problem. Isn’t that a technology thing? A dedicated server, used to accomplish only one goal? Not a multitasking server used for many purposes? You’ll see where I’m going with this. I get so focused on a topic that, before I know it, hours have passed and I’m still on the same subject. So focused am I that if someone comes into the room where I’m working, I won’t notice them until they say something. Then all hell breaks loose. I toss my laptop or soap pan or wine with the fright such interruption gives me. Fortunately, I settle down quickly realizing I actually know the person standing in front of me, actually live with them. I address whatever they need and put my nose back into my work.
I’ve always been a good multi-tasker; I could manage Continue reading Someone Needs to Manage My Time Better! →