- It’s a strong line, but is it your first line? A distinctive, specific first line that can only be the first line to your book and no other? That’s what I think you should be shooting for.
Are you guilty of the 4 writing crutches that insult the reader's intelligence, as mentioned by Kristen Lamb?
- One of the reasons I am such a Nazi when it comes to adverbs it that they are notorious culprits for stating the obvious. “She smiled happily.” Um, yeah. “He yelled loudly.” As opposed to yelling softly? To be blunt, most adverbs are superfluous and weaken the writing. Find the strongest verb and then leave it alone.
Author Janice Hardy, who is always full of great advice, talks about manipulating your readers for better plot:
- Just because we know what happens in a scene, doesn’t mean we can’t fake out the reader and make them think something else might happen.
Author Martha Anderson has a great series of videos on how to plot your book.
The INTERN analyzes how THE HUNGER GAMES works:
- You can try this experiment yourself with any book you admire. What is the author DOING at any given moment? What purpose does each sentence achieve? Do any of the patterns suggested by this experiment hold true for other chapters in other books? Which other patterns can you find? What's the visual ratio of description to internal narrative to conflict?
How do you know when to show or tell? Martina has a wonderful post on balancing between the two:
- "Show, don't tell" is probably the most common advice given to writers. But that's not the whole story.
Do you know what narrative distance is? Bluestocking has several great advice on how to reduce the distance:
- Making sentences as active and immediate as possible, except when passive is appropriate (ex. when something is being done to my viewpoint character).
Agents are always on the look out for high concept novels, but what is "high concept"?
- The purpose of a high concept is to succinctly deliver your ideas to an editor or agent, but what is it exactly? There are five central components to the high concept.
1) It’s different.
2) It’s universal.
3) It has instant emotional appeal.
4) You can immediately visualize the entire story. (This means inherent conflict)
5) It can be stated in one sentence.