Writing Voice, Style, Point of View and Other Terms

gummibarchen-fruit-gums-bear-sweetness-54633In 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

How to Write a Novel Outline that Tells the Whole Story

pexels-photo-859264Literary 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

How to Create a Potent Subplot—Novel- Writing Tips

stock-photo-yellow-blue-incomplete-puzzle-individuality-stars-blank-minimalist-jigsaw-0ff63ece-095f-405a-a7cc-e142a7af7474If both a novel’s plot and subplot can be defined as a “distinct storyline in which a character pursues a goal”, what’s the difference between these two elements of novel writing? It’s a great question and one worth discussing. The following novel-writing tips will help you understand:

  1. what a subplot is (or isn’t), and
  2. the important role a subplot plays in a novel.

Novel-Writing Tips – Nuances of Plots vs. Subplots

The “central plot” of a story, where your lead character is fighting passionately to gain something, keep from losing something, or overcome something, has its own distinct plot thread. This thread shows all the struggles the lead character goes through to finally achieve his/her goal or resolve the problem.

A subplot is another storyline that you weave into a central plot, adding complexity to the lead character (or other characters) in which the character has some sort of dilemma that they must also overcome.

Novel-Writing Tip: A subplot becomes potent when it adds depth, complexity, conflict or humanizing dimensions to the central story and its characters.

Think of a subplot as Continue reading How to Create a Potent Subplot—Novel- Writing Tips

How to Start a Novel Plot – 5 Facts that Make a Difference

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

3 Steps to Writing a Novel with Unforgettable Characters

pexels-photo-816229Character 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:

  1. admirable – has integrity, courage, beauty, kindness, strength, etc. – leave the rotten personalities and hang-ups for the antagonist,
  1. relatable – create scenes that allow your character to evoke an emotional response from readers,
  1. realistic – portrays emotions consistent with their personality traits,
  1. 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:

  1. Primary Traits
  1. Traits that add “Complexity”, and
  1. Traits that Contrast Predominant Traits.

Let’s look at how Continue reading 3 Steps to Writing a Novel with Unforgettable Characters

Discover the Key to Writing 10 Popular Types of Novels

stock-photo-tired-man-suit-yawn-glasses-sleepy-work-professional-buisiness-dc040cfa-9e24-40c3-910b-f7df960f3bb1Just 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

How to Start Writing a Novel from Rough Draft to Smooth Finish

pexels-photo-273222I thought I knew how to start writing a novel. I have written several novels, started and didn’t finish even more. What I didn’t know is that I was knocking myself out with what I thought was good “pre-writing” stuff. It was all important material: character development, plot outlines, subplots, character interaction worksheets, action/response worksheets, timelines, who was doing what when (seriously), anything that you could write down or chart out about the novel, I did it before actually writing a word of the story.

How to Start Writing a Novel – Gaining a New Perspective

However, the pre-work didn’t provide the same satisfaction I get from the actual writing of a story, and I was always antsy to get started on it. So I decided to try a different approach: I would chart and plot a little and write a little, chart and plot a little and write a little more. This worked somewhat better for me, but then I found that with the creative juices flowing also came more notes and comments (I use the “comment” feature in word quite a bit when writing), and questions arose like, “Does this scene reflect my lead character’s traits?” Or worse, “What the heck are my lead character’s traits?”, which sent me back to my worksheets.

This method did get the job done eventually, but I began to realize that writing a novel was taking me longer than I thought it needed to. So, I went back to the drawing board to relearn how to start writing a novel, and I’m glad I did.

How to Start Writing a Novel with Unadulterated Abandon

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenges new and experienced writers from around the world to sharpen their pencils (or keyboards) to write a 50,000-word story during the month of November. The 30 days of November. By the nature of the challenge that means Continue reading How to Start Writing a Novel from Rough Draft to Smooth Finish

Wine Between the Lines