Is there a right or wrong way to write a book?
When I started writing I had no idea of what it entailed. I had never attended any courses, never read any blogs on the subject, I had no idea about structure, plots or developing characters, and it had been many years since my English classes at school. What I did know however, was that I had a story I thought was worth telling, and so with no more knowledge than what I had picked up as a reader, I set off.
There will be many who point out that I went about things in quite the wrong way and that I should have had some knowledge of the rules of writing before I began. They may well be right, but for me I’m glad I did it the way I did. I suspect that if I’d been sucked into the world of online help sites and the theory of writing I would have been paralysed to the point of not starting.
Having said that, four years on, I now read and digest as many of these blogs as I can. It’s not because I’m struggling for ideas, but because I’ve got my story written and I want to make sure I do it justice. I’ve found that I enjoy editing because it gives me the chance to round out the story and develop the characters more fully, but I couldn’t do it on my own. Below are a small selection of blogs/websites I have found helpful so far:
A post on the Writers Digest discusses what constitutes a story and outlines the major ingredients necessary when writing a book.
Writing the opening line
Given that readers spend less than ten seconds making a decision on whether to buy a book, the opening sentence and paragraph are important hooks to get their attention. This blog ran a series of posts on How To Create A Compelling Fictional World, with the development of a powerful opening as the first installment.
Characters will probably develop with editing and revisions, and the links below show a couple of useful tools.
An article from The Writers Digest explores emotional frustration in your characters, based on the premise that it’s frustration that is most likely to drive the story forward.
Using body language can help to bring a different dimension to individual characters. A post on WritersFriend not only discusses the importance of using body language but also lists many emotions and how they may be expressed.
Telling the Story
One of my favorite blogs is A Writers Path, which contains a wealth of information (including a Writers Toolbox) on how to write your book. One of the most memorable posts for me relates to Showing not Telling and gives examples of what this actually means.
For those of us taking the self-publishing route, the editing process can appear daunting, but an article from Suffolk Scribblings lays down a useful guide for things to do.
Are there any sites that sites that you have found useful when writing or revising your novels? Please share them in the comments below.
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