10 tips that you may have never heard before on how to write fiction, based on book reviews.
As an avid reader, the first thing I do when I’m looking for a book to read is focus on the storyline of the book and then scroll through the book reviews. There are several reasons for that. I wanna make sure that the book I read is worth my time. Especially, after a long busy day. Another reason why I’d not just pick any random book is to understand and feel inspired by it, in my life, and my growing career as a writer, among other things. I cannot just feel satisfied with a bad boy, good girl book without something really interesting to keep me hooked on to it. So, here are some tips on how to write a piece of fiction or a book based on the professional and public reviews of the readers that will completely elevate your book and story.
1. Grammar and more than just that- Without a need for a mention, writing fiction requires imagination…a lot. But writing that imagination down in a way that fits the same in your readers’ minds as it did in yours is where the biggest challenge lies. What can you do to make sure your readers get the picture?
· Avoid tough language and difficult words that require people to dig into their dictionaries at every two lines. Balance it well so it doesn’t make the readers feel that they’re incapable of reading your masterpiece.
Avoid this- She crawls towards the oblivion of omniscient darkness that bears the structure of descending edges, spiraled to take her with it yet rescue her from him. They pierce her underlying, chipped ossein that protects her heart.
Write this- She crawls down the stairs, its sharp edges digging into her broken ribs, but she could not stop for she had to escape him, try, even if it meant she was grasping onto her last breath.
· Use correct grammar and full words- Avoid shortening of words like doin’, goin’, lyin’, etc, unless you’re focusing on a type of accent in a dialogue.
2. Storyline- The first thing people see before choosing to read your book or even to consider it for publication is the storyline. The trick to writing a great storyline is a description of what the story is about and what role the leads play in it. But to get them curious and intrigued with your book, you need to leave a hint, on what could happen in the book without giving away the why or how and, the aftermath.
Venessa’s life seemed perfect with a hot boyfriend, a great best friend, and her dream scholarship in her hands. It couldn’t get better…but it could get worse. A single accident—a mistake, was all it took for her life to take a 360o turn and break the mirage of her perfect, happy life. Will she ever be able to get her life back on track or will it all be lost forever…?
3. Early introduction of the main leads- One of the best ways to get the readers hooked on to the story is to introduce the main leads sooner, at least within the first and second chapter of the book. In adventurous and other genres, introducing the protagonist from the beginning or as early as possible is a must. And in the romance genre, make sure that the interaction between the two leads comes sooner, in one form or another, if not face to face.
Chapter 1- Ending scene
I stare into the empty office room, only to see that the man of the hour is missing. I groaned in exasperation; I should have known it was way too easy…way too easy two months to convince him for an interview. He wasn’t going to so easily reveal his identity to the world after all. Just as I was about to leave, his voice drifts across the office room, halting her trek.
“You may begin the interview.” She could almost hear his smirk. “Like I said, Ms. Mina, I am keeping my promise. After this, it’s time you keep yours.”
And then he chuckles with his baritone voice, causing a shiver down her spine.
4. Description of leads- In most cases, you have to make sure to blend the description of the characters in a flowy manner rather than making it stand out. You need to make the description seem modest unless you want the character to come out arrogant. It is quite easy in the third voice compared to the second or first voice.
· Third voice- Her warm brown eyes widen in wonder as she stares in awe at the view before her. The scent of sand reaches her quirky nose, as she tilts it higher to inhale the musky texture, tingling her senses. Her brown hair sways to the side with sheer pleasure as fresh air whisks through them.
· Second voice- Your lips turn up in a smirk as you watch the man you once called father; the Alpha of the pack was dying before your eyes. Your dark orbs, deep and feral like the night sky bear the equally vicious glint as his once did. You look at him and you see your reflection in him, from his tanned high cheekbones to glistening black hair, and the strength in his body. It all correlates to you. Yet you know mercy which he knew not and that’s why you decide to deliver him a quick death instead.
· First voice- I stare at myself in the mirror, observing the shade of my round green eyes, vacant of their shine I once admired. My brown hair touches my back leisurely, seemingly soft to touch. Make-up adorns my face highlighting my slender face. I look exactly how a billionaire’s wife must look but underneath all the glam, I’m broken in more ways than one which the make-up cannot hide enough.
5. Test your limits when it comes to fantasy- There is no end to what you can do with a genre as flexible as fantasy. Test your limits, create new beings, new worlds, new everything you wish. Everybody knows of a vampiric trait, a werewolf but don’t stop yourself there. You want to write about a creature that transforms into the air, go for it. Shadows, water, tree, Earth, the possibilities with a fantasy genre are indeed endless. Readers get intrigued with a new creature, they wanna know what your creature can do, so put in all you want.
6. Avoid unnecessary descriptions and scenarios- One of the major reasons, most books fail in trying to impress readers is fillers and unnecessary scenarios. Any conversation, any description, and any dialogue that does not serve your plot should not be written. Descriptions like the recipe of the food, the scenarios in the park as the characters take a walk, these are some of the things you should avoid because those in itself don’t serve a plot…unless they do.
· Avoid this- I take the lemon out of the fridge, crush it with my fingers before sprinkling in some salt and powdered black pepper. Next, I shake the can of soda before adding it into the concentrated mixture, serving it to the customer. I then begin to analyze him, analyzing me.
· Do this instead- I feel his eyes as I whisk the soda into my readied mixture of lemonade. With a coy smile, I turn to the customer as I follow his actions of taking in his features as well.
7. Don’t show off- When you’re writing fiction, you need to make sure that it is compatible for every reader. If you are a doctor or studying medicine, you could write the book in the same field which would definitely be in your favor. But what you wouldn’t wanna do is show off or put in the part of your knowledge that is not compatible with all the readers. You could give a brief summary of a particular case but unless and again, if it doesn’t serve the story, you should rather not write it. Think about it: Will missing out on a particular scenario or imparting of your information affect the story? If it does not, you better avoid and skip past it.
· Avoid this-
She’s the last patient of today. One more left.
“Tell me, how do you feel from the two weeks of treatment?” I inquire about my patient from two weeks. He suffers from bipolar disorder. And his treatments have shown good results. I can’t wait for it to end, so I can meet her.
“I’m doing better. My mood swings have reduced.”
The thing with bipolar disorder is that it affects the Ventral ACC part of the brain, stimulating the action of the Amyglada and Dorsal brain…
The above description includes both unnecessary scenarios, as well as too much information which not every reader can connect to.
8. Head-hopping and POVs-
· Third voice- One of the things writers need to be careful about writing a third voice is avoiding head-hopping. Stick to writing on the views and thoughts of any one of the lead characters alone, until you give it a break between the scenarios.
She watches her sister, puzzled. She was sure she had given the bracelet to her.
Is…Is she lying? But why? She wonders in realization. => 1st person thoughts
“Where is it?” Ana pushes again with force, she needed it. => no break in the scenario.
But you’re never getting it, again. Selene smiles maliciously as she looks down at her younger sister. => 2nd person thoughts.
“Oh, but you never gave it to me...”
In this particular example, you can see the scene remains the same yet the thoughts of two individuals are being described. Avoiding it is better. To keep a constant, flow, make sure to write only about one character’s thoughts in a particular scene and event. It also retains mystery.
· POVs confusion- Some writers like to avoid indicating the change of POVs while writing the book in the first person so as to not break the flow of the book. However, it causes a greater confusion than one might think. I have faced this issue often myself while reading a greatly written book but often having to go back a few lines to be able to understand who is actually in command. It can be quite annoying when you are thoroughly immersed in a book. So as to avoid this confusion, it is at most necessary to mention who the speaker is in the book either at the beginning of the chapter or wherever the POV changes.
9. Character development- Any book you read is not just a source of entertainment but a journey of life in itself. As life hits and events take place, people change with it, either for the better or for the worst. But as the purpose of a book is to give hope to its readers for themselves or even just for the characters in the book, the growth in a person’s understanding and maturity level must be seen. A lot of writers make a mistake in this area. Lack of character development makes the story bland and really in more ways than one, worthless. Because the very purpose of events happening in a certain way, be it real life or a book is to shape a person. So, if your protagonist is the same throughout the book with very few or no changes when it comes to development in the personality, the readers will feel no excitement on any of her/his actions. The following line sums it up well for it.
I was broken and weak when they first took me in but with their love and determination to bring me out of my shell, I am now strong. So, I cannot stand here and listen to the couple that abandoned me—my biological parents, insult my true family.
10. Twist and turns- One of the things that leave the readers momentarily perplexed and euphoric is the sudden twists and turns of the book. Predictable plots of a book often leave the readers uninterested especially when the theme of the book is less original. Not all books are original in their plots but the way to spice it up is to include scenarios that readers could have never seen it coming. Like the dark past of a hero—not so original, but what if he didn’t have one, not of the one he knew at least? Like he was discovering it himself? Now that would be a great turn of events. Another way to give the readers OMG moments is to produce a scenario that has not one but more shocking revelations. In this manner, if the reader predicts one of the elements, you still have a chance of surprising your reader.
He groans as the recurring images of a man covered in blood flash in his mind. The man slowly turns around with a cynical laugh haunting his ears as he thrives in his mind. Ethan had only a moment to view the man’s face, shocking him to the core before he was out. The man bathed in blood was none other than…himself.
So, those are your top ten tips that you may have never heard before, on how to write fiction based on the reviews. The next time you write fiction, make sure to include these aspects to make your readers love your book and keep them wanting for more.
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