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5 Requirements of All Genre Novels

A few threads tie all types of novels together. Consider the following important aspects of every genre novel.

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.

  1. 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!

 

If you found this article helpful, please share it with your friends on Twitter, Linkedin, and Google+! I appreciate it.  And, as always, I’d love to hear from you. Tell me what you are working on and how these articles have impacted your writing.

How to Get a Book Published – 10 Aspects of an Author’s Journey

The Author’s Reality

pexels-photo-267350.jpegAre you an aspiring writer wondering about how to become an author? Are you wondering how to get a book published? If so, you’ve come to the right place. This is a website for writers of all types, particularly those aspiring to be published authors. I’ve covered 16 elements of writing a novel, as well as provide you with information on submitting your work to editors and literary agents. That said, let’s look at what it takes to become an author.

I’m always astounded at the number of people in the world that want to learn how to be an author. The numbers are truly staggering if we go by what we find on the social media sites: the number of aspiring writers on Linkedin, the number of people on Twitter peddling their books – both self-published and traditionally published (i.e., through a major publishing house).

Additionally, doesn’t everyone know Continue reading How to Get a Book Published – 10 Aspects of an Author’s Journey

How to Format a Book Manuscript for Submission to Editors

pexels-photo-447189.jpegIf you’re planning to submit your novel to a literary agent or an editor at a publishing house, it should be in as meticulous a condition as you would strive to be in if you were going to a job interview; and this means knowing how to format a book into a proper manuscript. Various guidelines exist on how to format a book manuscript, but those identified here are generally accepted requirements; they indicate what a literary agent or editor expects from you if they ask to see your novel.

And, if an agency or publishing house has requested to see your manuscript, you don’t want to screw up the opportunity by sending them a misformatted or an unformatted document. I think it’s better to learn how to format a book manuscript properly.

For a visual of how a manuscript will look after following these generally accepted guidelines, please click here to reference A Formatted Book Manuscript Sample.

How to Format a Book Manuscript – Creating the Page Format

A manuscript’s unique layout serves two important purposes:

  1. It allows extra space for writing comments on the margins by a reviewer
  2. It allows for an easy-to-read presentation of the novel.

To accomplish this, start by going Continue reading How to Format a Book Manuscript for Submission to Editors

3 Phases of Writing a Novel – Beginnings, Middles, and Ends

Every novel has 3 phases: a beginning, a middle, and an end.

Phases of MoonWhen rushing through the first draft of writing a novel, a writer often thinks only about getting the story down in black and white. They don’t worry about the words they use, the punctuation required, whether the characters are being true to their primary traits, or any of the other elements of writing that they’ll eventually attend to before the novel is finished.

By the end of the first draft, a writer knows what the story is about, who the lead character is, what conflict the lead must resolve and how they will resolve it. It is the time for the writer to revisit the story, performing revisions that will create a readable, “unputdownable”, story.

Part of this revision includes reviewing the different phases of a story – the beginning, middle, and end; phases that ensure the writer fulfills the implicit promises made to readers.

Writing a Novel that Fulfills Its Promises to the Reader

When I begin a novel, one of the first things that I do is jot down in a few sentences what I believe the novel is about. I also write a few sentences about what I believe will happen in the beginning, middle and end of the story.

Jotting down these notes helps me immensely in knowing where I’m headed in writing a novel. While these notes are closely related to who my lead characters are, what problem they have to solve, what conflicts they might be up against that keep them from solving the problem, and then eventually solving it, their importance goes much further than that. I also need to take into consideration how each phase of writing a novel affects the reader.

Every novel makes two promises two readers:

  1. an Emotional Promise, and
  2. an Intellectual Promise.

The Emotional Promise goes something like this: “Read this and you will be entertained, thrilled, scared, titillated, saddened, or uplifted, but most of all absorbed.”

There are 3 versions of the Intellectual Promise. They are, Continue reading 3 Phases of Writing a Novel – Beginnings, Middles, and Ends

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

Your Novel Writing Roadmap Found Here – 16 Elements of Story

Are you dreaming of novel writing? Many writers long to write a novel, perhaps having it at the back of their mind as they go through life earning their living with that safe job. They’ve put their dream on hold, telling themselves that they are trading in their real ambitions for security.

If you are one of these people, I want to encourage you to take that dream off the shelf, dust it off and put it into an action plan. Hang onto that secure job, we all need to earn a living, but don’t save pursuing your dream for some future time.

Why “Now” is a Good time to Write a Novel

Why not write that novel now, in your spare time. I know, I know, you are now asking, “What spare time?” But for many, the truth is that they have some spare time to do something that they enjoy and they use the old, “I don’t have time for this or that” for one reason: fear. For a writer, fear of failing is often spurred on by the feeling that they don’t know the first thing about getting words on paper.

Exercise Your Creativity

By putting your writing dreams and talents in motion (as with pen to paper or fingertips to keyboard), you are already strong and brave and are quite possibly beginning a process that will reward you for the mere pleasure of having painted pictures with words, if not a completed novel. This is not failing. This is bringing your creativity to life.

Write for the pleasure of writing. Don’t think about whether or not you will be published –and hopefully, your completed novel will be published – write to bring the dream of novel writing to life and for that reason only.

Roadmap Provided

Many writers want to see a roadmap of sorts, something they can rely on to get them started writing with some hope of Continue reading Your Novel Writing Roadmap Found Here – 16 Elements of Story

9 Sources of Blockbuster Ideas for Writing a Novel

How do novelists find story ideas? It’s a great question and it is answered in a number of ways.

While you may be one of those lucky writers who have an idea popping into your head by the minute, for many of us it’s not always that easy. We struggle with ideas that we find interesting, wondering if readers will also find it interesting. It’s just as important for readers to find your storyline interesting and exciting to read as it is for you to love writing it.

Write What You Love to Read

pexels-photo-256455Before we look at sources of inspiration, let’s look at what makes a good novel for any of us to write, and I’ll keep it simple: If you want to learn how to start writing a book, write what you love to read. This old adage is as true today as it’s ever been for three important reasons:

  • Chances are that if you love to read a certain type of book, as a novelist, you will also enjoy writing that type of book.
  • By reading many books of a certain type, a certain genre, you most likely will know what makes it a good story. Consider for a moment,

Continue reading 9 Sources of Blockbuster Ideas for Writing a Novel