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by Lee Masterson
There is so much information circulating on the Internet
about the right (or wrong) way to write a novel. How much
time do you spend reading through all the rules?
Are you wondering if you need to pay good money for yet
another course that promises to give you all the success
secrets just in case youre missing out on that
vital piece of information or hidden rule that you really
need to finish your novel?
Its no wonder many writers feel inundated.
Think about it. It must be intimidating for some writers
to sit down at the computer and contemplate writing when
they have to remember to include great characterization
tips, plotting and structure, novel theme, premise and
concept and then try to incorporate narrative and
exposition. All of these rules bombard them before
theyve even written one word of story.
On top of all these concepts already tumbling around in
the memory banks, writers are also encouraged to remember
that dialogue needs to uncover your characters
personality and childhood traumas at the same time as
revealing motives as well as moving the plot forward.
In amongst all these rules and regulations, writers are
also expected to tell a brilliantly woven tale that needs
to include drama, conflict, tension and a great climactic
scene before the big resolution wrap up.
During the writing process, so many writers worry about
the manuscripts format and attracting an agent.
Then theres the decision to submit to traditional
publishers or self-publish.
Just stop for a moment. Its all become far too
Lets get right back down to basics. Writing a novel
is about story telling. Readers buy books to enjoy a good
story. So lets work on story-telling.
There are three simple lessons you need in order to
complete your story-telling education. Everything else is
Are you ready for them?
Lesson #1 Read.
Read. The more you read, the more your own writing style
will improve. Youll begin to notice how the authors
you enjoy put together sentences and dialogue. You should
notice how and when characters do the things they do that
you either loved or hated. Youll start recognizing
when something is boring or when you simply cant
put a book down.
You could elucidate that the spectacularly, amazingly
written tome you recently completed perusing sounded
rather overly pretentious in an effort to reverberate
strongly within the readers consciousness and
display the brilliant intelligence of the author, albeit
making sure every sentence is incredibly long and
Or you could notice that well-chosen nouns have more
power over adjectives for getting your point across.
Simple words are best to showcase your story. Short
sentences have impact.
Dont just stick to reading your favorite
writers books. Read different authors and different
styles and learn a bit about what makes the story
interesting to you. Re-read old favorites you enjoyed and
attempt to read books you put down out of boredom.
Your writing will benefit from reading stories told by
Lesson #2 Be Your Unique Self
Just follow what I did. After all, thats
how I ended up a major success with books on the New York
Times best-seller list with Hollywood agents and
producers chasing me for screenplays.
Have you just finished reading a set of instructional
writing tips where the person writing has told you how
brilliant they are and how wonderful their own career is
and then expects you to follow everything they
Every writer is a unique human being with a very
different story to tell. Even if you think your plot
sounds a little like someone elses, the words you
choose to tell your tale will be your own. Nobody else
can ever write those but you.
Theres no point trying to follow the steps someone
else took to reach their particular level of success. You
dont know how many people they stepped on along the
way, how many friends they lost or how unscrupulous they
had to be to get there. You dont know what dirty
lengths they went to in order to pester and annoy some of
those agents or editors or producers just to notice their
Are those things you want to copy for your writing career
In fact, you dont even know if theyre telling
you the whole truth about their success. Would a
massively successful Hollywood scriptwriter and novelist
be teaching classes online or would they be way too busy
writing even more really successful screenplays and
novels? Are they giving you the whole facts about who
they really are and what they did to get there? Do you
even know their real age?
Trying to follow someone elses footsteps means
youre denying your own unique story. You got to the
point youre at today by making your own choices and
living your own life. You have experiences in your
memories that no one else on this planet has. Youre
unique. You never need to follow or copy anyone else to
Do things your way. Work on what feels right for you.
Write the story inside you that only you can write.
Lesson #3 - Tell your story
Sit down at your computer. Open a new word-processing
document and tell your story.
Dont allow details and scenery to distract you from
the story you want to tell. Readers dont read
novels to go sight-seeing. Readers dont really care
what your heroine is wearing or what precise shade of
honey-flaxen silk her hair might look like.
They read novels in order to enjoy a story.
Have you ever read a novel and realized that youve
been skipping past chunks of narrative or descriptive
passages? Your eyes scan down the page looking for where
the story picks up again.
When you read, you want to know what happens next. If the
authors done a good job, the characters are showing
you whats happening as theyre going through
the storys events, rather than the writer telling
you what to see and feel.
Now read through your own manuscript again. As the
author, youll read through those chunks of
narrative because you wrote them. Yet you wont read
another authors big blocks of description.
Do you think your readers will do the same thing?
Theyre likely to skip right past anything that
stops the story for them, just like you do. Or worse
theyll close the book and maybe never pick
it up again.
Sit down and write your story. Forget about the rules
while youre writing and enjoy being a storyteller.
After your story is told its time to learn a bit
about self-editing but thats another
© Copyright Lee Masterson
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