Novels… (Part Two)

So with yesterday’s post about how my novels never really end up all that great, I figured I’d do a post on what I find makes novels better.  It’ll cover things like structure and dialogue, and  and I hope it helps.

Structure

While it’s true that there are different kinds of writers in this world, those that outline and those that do many many drafts, every novelist, if they want to get published, has to follow a story structure. At first glance, it looks very rigid, but really it’s quite flexible, and it reinforces your story; it’s the skeleton frame upon which you add the muscle and flesh of your story, but it can move to do the things you want it to.

A quick summary of the structure

Story Structure

It might be kinda blurry… sorry. This is just a quick diagram of story structure. If you want to learn about it more in detail, I recommend going to the website of a great author who has an amazing collection of advice and tips. It’s where I learned most of the stuff I know about story structure and storytelling in general.

Description

Description is an amazing tool, and without it there wouldn’t be much difference between reading fiction and academic reports. However, it is a tool that is to be used in moderation; dumping too much description on a reader causes your story to drag along, perhaps causing them to put it down and pick up something else. Not something we want as writers. We want to capture the reader with enough description to allow them to picture what you’re describing, but not without a little imagination.

Creativity/Originality 

Simply put, original and creative ideas are a must. Just copying someone else’s work and adding a couple new words or paragraphs doesn’t make it yours. I mean, sure, if you want to write a modernization of an old novel, like Steven James’ Celestia, a modernization of A Pilgrim’s Progress, that works, but change it up. Set it in a different setting and time, change the characters. Make it your own. But don’t just copy an idea off of someone else.

Dialogue

Without dialogue, a novel would be very uninteresting. The characters would fall flat, and the story would feel like it drags along the street behind a one year old learning to walk, AKA very slow. Dialogue is what breathes life into characters, showing their unique personalities and missions. If done right, it pushes the story ahead, providing many opportunities for foreshadowing and plot twists.

Hope this helps a little bit. For anyone wishing to learn more about these things, click here.

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Novels… (Part One)

As I mentioned in my last post my creative writing life pretty much boils down to “trying to write novels that don’t work” but most of the time my ideas are really cool. For example; a scientist who invents a transportation machine and it transports them to another world.

My problem is always in the working out of the story. Writing it out, getting the nitty gritty details right. I just can’t do it. I participated in NaNoWriMo this November, and while my book is utter crap (what do you expect when you have to write like 2,000 words a day) It taught me a valuable lesson.

Writing isn’t just pure talent, the story pops in your head and it’ll be perfect right away. No. It’s a long process, where you will spend some days hammering away at the keyboard as if you were the hero defeating a villain in the computer. Other days you’ll sit there thinking “What’s wrong with me?” writer’s block just took its hammer and whacked you upside the head with it, then choked you with it’s sharp-edged blankness. Writing takes time, and it won’t always be too pleasant.

I’m currently working on about thirty different things, wherein I’m truly vesting time and effort into about three. These are the current titles and will most likely change numerous times before I would ever dream of sending them off to be critiqued. here they are:

Sea of the Lost Ones: a fantasy story about a man who gets transported from our world to another for the purpose of  saving that world from a great evil (this was my NaNo novel)

Invisible: Fantasy again, a group of teens get radiationified and start turning invisible. They team up with a group of rebels to kill the tyrant king.

Sky CIties: dystopian/ apocalyptic after a nuclear war, the rich retreated to the Sky cities to escape the radiation, leaving the poor behind. 700 years later their cities start failing…

Yeah. That’s them.

They keep me quite busy, each demanding space in my brain, which is already overcrowded enough. If I were to just let loose every thought as it came to me…. well it’d be a very interesting story. It’d jump all over the place, making sense to only me. Might be an idea for a later blog post.

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