by Serita Stevens
#1 Creating Compelling Characters
Your characters need to be well-rounded. It is not enough to know their eye and hair color, you have to know their education, their attitudes and their flaws. No character should be all good or all bad. The same goes with villains - there needs to be something good about the, anything - so that we understand why they want to defeat the hero.
#2 Outline Your Story
Many new writers balk at outlining because they think it takes away from the creativity of their work. It actually enhances the process because it helps you to see the flaws and know where you are going. This doesn't mean it's set in stone, the characters can come alive and talk back to you. Listen to them, but have an idea of where you are headed or you will hit the middle sag sooner than you think.
#3 Understanding Point of View
Know who the protagonist of your story is. Who is the action happening to and why and who changes the most in the story? Keep focused on your main character, even if you are doing an "ensemble."
#4 Setting the Stage
Know what's important to describe, especially if you are setting up a whole new world. This is crucial in historicals or science fiction, but even in a modern day story. Understand the necessity of details to create the world.
#5Establish Atmosphere and Tone
Word choice is crucial here. If you are writing a thriller, set the mood and establish the problem. If you are doing a comedy, make it light. Use the right metaphors to describe where you are and what is happening. Don't switch genres in the midst of a book.
#6 Write Active And Not Passive
Go over your sentences and eliminate lame words like "is, are, was, that is" Use active words. Instead of he is running, he runs. Use the right word. He walks can be he strolls, struts, shuffles, etc. Keep away from bland words like nice, beautiful.
#7 Shorten Your Sentences
Shorter sentences make for a quicker read and faster pace. There is a place for the longer, more elaborate sentence structure, but pick it carefully. Readers today don't have the time to wade through paragraphs upon paragraphs of mundane description.
Serita Stevens is the author of The Ultimate Writers Workbook For Books And Scripts. Get your copy today at www.seritastevens.com.