So today folks I’m gonna be talking about how to make your novel stand out while maintaining a high standard of quality. I’ve got four great tips for you so hopefully this will help when writing your next novel.
1. Generally writers know enough to put in senses beyond just sight and sound. It’s always great to read about a character who notices the hot, pungent stench rising from the iron-wrought furnace that lingers over factory after a full day burning, or the weightlessness of a new silk shirt on his shoulders.
Publishers love all five senses, but they want and expect more. They want physical influence that deepens not just your setting, but your characterizations.
Here’s the key: The best authors use body language in their narratives. It must go by so smoothly it’s almost unnoticed. Yet it absolutely gives texture and depth to your work. When it’s missing, fiction feels flat.
Begin by reading up on body language. You’ll find that two things are at the root of all of it: anxiety (or lack thereof) and hidden desires. Dwell inside your characters and sense how they feel in any given situation (and why!).
2. People behave rationally only sometimes; the rest of the time we take stupid risks and do other things we can’t explain.
Publishers know this well, but because they don’t want readers to have to work hard to believe a premise or a plot they will insist on believability. And when they do, frequently their objections have to do with a character’s motivation. The trouble is, if you bow to this and have your characters behave totally rationally at all times, you’ll write boring, stale fiction.
Here’s the key: Human weirdness follows patterns we can all relate to (or at least understand).
One of the biggest is that love—or sex, at least—makes people irrational. We throw over the picture-perfect millionaire for the rough-around-the-edges dirt biker with debt; we lie to our faithful wife on the phone while meeting the secretary in a motel. Which goes to show that if you incorporate a strong enough motivating factor—even an irrational one—you can easily establish a plausible reason for erratic actions on the part of your characters. And those characters are far more motivating to read about than those who always behave rationally.
3. Publishers don’t look for authors who put restraints on their work for the sake of delicacy. Here’s the key to avoiding that: Not-pretty has two meanings here: a) topics that are not attractive, like racism or incest, and b) the way you write.
Most people shy away from darkness or at least keep it far in the background, but as an author you must be willing to dwell there, see it truly and explore it before you represent it.
I advise going back to your childhood years—the primal times before we really knew right from wrong, and before we were strong enough to defend ourselves from evil. Try to look through the eyes of the impressionable, innocent eyes that cast everybody in the same light until you were given a reason to view them as scary or different.
4. Finally, booksellers ran surveys that showed authors core customers to be well educated and fairly well to do. This wasn’t odd: Educated people tend to like books, and their income tends to enable them to buy books.
Still, some aspiring authors sometimes dumb down their work because they’re afraid of alienating the vast masses of potential customers they imagine they should be writing for. But you don’t need to—the average folks are smarter than you may think.
Here’s the key: Don’t underestimate your readers. If they like to read the sorts of books you like to write, they’re right up there with your core demographic. And dumbing down your work can be doubly disastrous, because if you do, publishers will not be able to relate to it.
So hopefully some of my advice will help you to grow as a writer and will give you things to focus on with your next draft. I look forward to meeting the people influenced by my site and thank you again for reading.
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