by D.L. Wilson
All writers dream of creating that bestselling novel. Very few reach that dream since it’s a difficult journey that involves many twists and turns. Producing a novel is a complicated task that requires the author to master both the Art and the Craft of writing. The following is a list of 5 key ingredients for creating a great novel and each one of these requires practice, practice, and more practice.
1. Powerful Storyline. In today’s fast-paced society authors must captivate their readers so they continue turning the pages. The beginning of a novel sets the stage and introduces the characters and basis of the plot. The body of the novel builds the plot up to the climax and resolution of the storyline. All genres of writing require some form of tension or conflict to grab and hold the reader’s attention. Some writers outline their books and some rely on their creative muse to guide them through the writing process. James Patterson creates very intricate scene-by-scene road-maps for his novels. Michael Palmer spends 4 to 5 months developing a detailed outline before he starts the actual writing process of putting the words on the page.
2. Fascinating Characters. A good read requires compelling characters. The key to maintaining an intimate relationship between readers and the characters of a novel is to “show, don’t tell.” Show a character’s actions and thoughts rather than tell through the narrator’s description. Let the reader become the character or be in the scene with the character viewing the action. Bring the reader into each scene through powerful, intimate relationships with the key characters. Make your characters three-dimensional. Give them weaknesses and flaws and show them evolve with a sense of realism.
3. Captivating Scenes. Vivid descriptions of the scenes in a novel are the key to creating the suspension of disbelief. Bestselling authors transform readers into people who are mentally experiencing their story. The readers visualize being present as the story unfolds. Photographs and videos are a godsend to allow writers to describe scenes in realistic detail. Stimulate the reader’s senses with sounds, odors, tastes, and tactile experiences. Bring your readers into the real world.
4. Thrillride to a Gripping Climax. Keep the pace moving and readers turning the pages eager to see the next twist and turn in your story. Readers want an emotional impact with tension, high stakes, and powerful conflicts. They want to live the thrillwith your characters. End each scene with a hook that will grab your readers by the throat and make them turn the page. Make sure your plot threads grow throughout the story and weave together to end with a powerful realism that readers will appreciate and accept with a sense of awe and satisfaction.
5. E-promotion and Marketing. In today’s Internet driven society, a new author must dive headlong into promoting the result of months, or years, of mastering the art and craft of writing. The publishing industry is evolving into a new enterprise with the advent of e-books, social networking, and e-promotion. More and more books are being sold through the Internet and directly through e-readers. New authors must promote themselves and their books through this rapidly expanding world of technology.
Image courtesy of Lukáš Patkaň.