Seven Imperfect Rules for Improving your Fiction

This are a few hints I wrote as writing tips for the Lucy Cavendish first novel competition.  I hope you find them useful.

1)  The beginning has to be compelling.  You need to suggest as early as possible that your character will need to do something about a difficult situation.

2) Rather than racking your brain for a plot think more about exploring a situation.  Ask, ‘What if? …’

3)  There should be something special or interesting about your central character.  They should be someone we could care about.

4)  Dialogue needs to be convincing.  We don’t speak in perfect sentences!

5) Characters need conflict.  We might not have faced the same ones, or not ones so bad, but we’ve all had troubles and set-backs.  Reading about fictional ones can illuminate your own.

6)  Show don’t tell.  Help your reader notice things but let them think and discover things for themselves – always the best way to learn anything.

7) There is no special writer’s language!  Don’t show off at your readers’ expense with long words, foreign terms etc.  A novel should be for readers, not therapy for the writer.

One Response

  1. Elvira Carr is twenty-seven, neuro-atypical, and has never lived alone. But her father – who she suspects was in the secret service – is dead, and when her mother has a stroke and is taken into care, Elvira suddenly finds herself home alone. In order to cope, Elvira – who knows a lot about biscuits and supermarkets, but not much about life – develops Seven Rules for interacting with others. Not even her rules can help her, however, when she’s faced with solving a mystery she didn’t know existed. . .

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