Friday, June 16, 2017

Crafting Lessons to Improve Your Book


As writers, we know that constantly striving to learn and improve is key to our writing success and satisfaction. There is always more to learn, new techniques to try and methods to experiment with. That’s one of the joys of writing - and the knowledge that we can keep on getting better and better if we put the work in is strangely pleasing too.
When it comes to novel writing, crafting your story well is crucial. Once you have the story down, it’s a good idea to take the time to stop and reflect, to read your story and to begin to tweak, edit, add and cut to make it the very best it can be.
Here are some great crafting lessons which every writer should use as a guide to improve their book.

Pay attention to your settings
Your settings are where the action takes place, and are hugely important. Your settings shouldn’t just be descriptions of places, they should be so much more than this. Instead of just describing the way things are, try to get across how the character feels towards the place. What emotions does it evoke for them and why? Settings can be used to build tension, to create excitement, and to immerse the reader in the story. They should be vivid, imaginative and burst with exciting descriptions, make the senses stand to attention and be full of arresting and unusual details.

Get deep with your characters
By the end of your novel, your readers should feel as though they know the characters intimately. It is the way the author conveys their thoughts and feelings in any given situation that builds a deep and detailed picture of what that character is like. You can use their outward appearance to cleverly give insight into what’s going on inside too, and any quirks or oddities will only make your characters richer and more memorable.

Make sure the pacing is right
The pace at which your story unfolds is so important. Make sure that there is never a dull moment! Of course, there will be times where the action is fast paced and thrilling, and times where it slows down and rolls along at a more gentle pace - but it’s important never to let your reader get bored. Building suspense is a good way of doing this, your readers should always be kept slightly on edge, always have an appetite for more. They should always be excited to read what’s coming next. If your book is paced well and is full of exciting action, there will never be a good time to put it down!

Use dialogue effectively
Dialogue creates immediacy, it reveals more about your characters and can be used effectively to create humour as well as tension and conflict too. Pay attention to the way your characters speak, make sure they all sound different, give them their own particular phrases or speaking styles to help your readers clearly differentiate between them. Always make dialogue smart and necessary and use it to help drive your story forwards.

Pay attention to your sentence structure
Short, smart, impactful sentences are key. It’s been proven that readers get distracted or confused if sentences are consistently too long. Try to keep your sentences short, but also powerful. Use strong images, descriptive language and clever observations to keep the reader hooked.
These crafting lessons can help authors make a real difference when it comes to writing and editing their books. So next time you sit down to write, keep these in mind and see how applying them can improve your book.

Right now, I'm in the process of revising each chapter one at time, typing them out to check for errors and anything I want to change. Though I glanced at what I had printed so far and food some spelling errors and missing words I didn't catch the first time (though I knew I'd probably made some), meaning there will still be more rewriting and revising to be done thereafter. Proofing is always part of the process.  I've gotten up to Chapter 14 in my current round of revisions and now have to work on revising Ch. 15 and the epilogue.  I'm trying to decide  if I need or want to include an introduction and an afterword. and I'm already wondering who to acknowledge, since most of the people I want to mention in this part have been disguised in the text, and should I use their real names in the acknowledgements.  

My use of dialogue has been a little sparse, since trying to remember exact quotes is a bit hard. Some may have been exaggerated so that I can have some dialog in the story. I have read some memoirs that have only so much dialogue. 

Does pacing mean following a timeline? I've said before on my blog that I did not describe incidents a timeline, but rather by subject.  For example, one chapter is devoted to the year 2001, how I was fired from a job in the days leading up to 9/11. Another chronicles things I wanted to do but were never able to. This one has occurred so many times in my life I felt a need to lump them together into a single chapter.  

I have been watching how I have written my sentences, trying to keep them from being too long and containing too many commas. When this is the case, I try to break them into two or more sentences. I've also ben trying to break long paragraphs down into more than one, if possible.

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes reading aloud will tell you whether your words (particularly dialogue) have hit the mark...