Category Archives: How to Write a Novel

How to Write a Story Setting Readers Can Relate To

country-lane-gravel-road-tuscany-way-52725.jpegWhat is the purpose of story “setting” and how do you establish it?

The setting of a story has a role to play, and that is to create a sense of “being there” for readers. A description of your story’s setting should establish a time and place in the reader’s mind and help them to visualize the characters in that time and place.

The story setting is not just a description of a mountain landscape, an urban street, or a country farmhouse. The setting is more than a visual description; it should also convey the sense of being there by describing what a reader (and character) might feel, hear, smell, sense, or taste in a particular environment.

Story Setting – A Misunderstood Element of Writing Fiction

Writing the setting of a story is often confused with writing descriptively (writing descriptively is often confused with writing well; see the upcoming article on Descriptive Writing for more information). You want to describe the environment that your character finds herself in, but to do it effectively you must consider certain novel writing elements.

Some writers will tell you that the setting of a story is the most often mismanaged, abused, even ignored element of writing. The reason for this may be due to Continue reading How to Write a Story Setting Readers Can Relate To

The Top 4 Types of Point of View with Eyes on the Reader

ducklings-chicks-mama-duck-160509.jpeg
Who said that???

“Who’s talking now?” That’s a question you don’t want the readers of your novel to be asking. In novel writing, the different perspectives from which a story can be relayed are known as types of point of view. In this section about novel writing, we will look at the top 4 types of point of view (POV) and how to select the best one from which to write your novel.

 

Top 4 Point of View Options of Novel Writing

  • First person
  • Third person, subjective
  • Third person, objective
  • Omniscient observer
  1. A first-person point of view would read like this, “I traveled up the tree and down again in 60 seconds.” This point of view allows for only one perspective and everything the reader learns about the story comes from that perspective. The storyteller is allowed to reveal only her own thoughts and feelings. The feelings and thoughts of any other character are only exposed to the reader through that character’s dialogue or actions. The storyteller cannot get into the other character’s heads and can only reveal what she thinks and feels. She can have impressions of other characters, but that’s all.
  1. A third person, subjective, point of view would read like this, “She traveled up the tree and down again and was sure she’d done it within 60 seconds.” This perspective is from the gal who climbed the tree, but it can occasionally shift to other characters. Using this type of point of view allows more characters to think and feel. This way of writing can be used with either a third person singular or third person multiple (or changing) perspective.

Continue reading The Top 4 Types of Point of View with Eyes on the Reader

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