AUTHOR What You Write

February 27, 2018

I’ve been reading a lot of mysteries and thrillers lately and am amazed at how much the authors have to know about what their characters do for work,  what their characters do for hobbies, and how creative their characters are in solving problems, sustaining relationships, and bringing the book to a satisfying close. Why is so much required of today’s fiction writer? Readers are more sophisticated than ever.

I realize that today you enjoy a plethora of tools not easily accessed in previous decades, but it can still be a bit overwhelming to research and write your book, so I created these tips to help you.

A-U-T-H-O-R

  • Allow yourself time to research and write. You might have to schedule the time. You might have to temporarily give up something to create the time. If you set aside 30 minutes every day, at the end of a week you’ve written for 3.5 hours, and at the end of a month (well, four weeks), you’ve spent 14 hours on your book.
  • Understand the genre and reader you’re writing for. For example, mystery readers and romance readers read with very different expectations. Your job is to offer the reader a good read.
  • Talk to experts. Fiction contains truth about jobs, about technology, about hobbies, about relationships, etc., so when you feel you need more information in a specific area in your book, talk to experts who can help you with what you need.
  • Hold yourself accountable for originality. Yes, you do your research, but then you’re responsible for writing your own ideas and experiences triggered by your research.
  • Organize your content in a way that makes the story flow. Consider organizing chronologically, by alternating character viewpoints or scenes, or by some other way. You might try sketching your book outline by chapter, and, if you do, give yourself permission to move things around so the story makes sense as it flows.
  • Read today’s news and anything else that will help you understand your characters, their motivations, their jobs and hobbies, the world they live in, and their relationships better.

The acronym AUTHOR should help you remember these tips. Writing isn’t easy, but it can be rewarding. Happy writing!

 

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Tips for Writing a Good Title

February 9, 2018

Most of the time we’re drawn to a book or an article by the title. But it’s not always easy to come up with a title that catches a reader’s eye. Here are some tips to help you. By the way, I took my examples from the 2017 and 2018 best-seller lists on Barnes and Noble and Amazon websites.

  • Use numbers: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
  • Use a possessive: The Handmaid’s Tale.
  • Use one word: Grant.
  • Use an adjective: Lilac Girls.
  • Use an article with your adjective: An American Marriage.
  • Use two nouns: Milk and Honey.
  • Use a prepositional phrase: Before We Were Yours.
  • Use a verb: Live Fearless.
  • Use an entire sentence: One of Us Is Lying.

Look at the titles in your own library. Unless you bought the book simply because you love the author, chances are the title caught your eye. It might be fun to see how many titles you own fit the tips above. Happy writing!