Just as there are recipes for making dinner and formulas for mixing drinks, there’s advice for writing great novels.

Novels involve a lot of moving and evolving pieces, from the way characters speak and behave to the twists and turns of your plot. Here are some quick tips and great advice for sharpening your storytelling skills.

Character Tips

To make your characters really compelling, put them on the therapist’s couch and ask them about their deepest, darkest secrets.

Be sure to give your opponent traits that reinforce your main character’s journey.

Action Tips

Every action should have meaning behind it. Ask: what is my character’s attitude toward the piece of action?

Action sequences work best when you break them up into shorter paragraphs.

Description Tips

Use description to build tension and illuminate character so that the reader feels a part of the scene rather than apart from the scene.

Description in and of itself is boring. What characters choose to notice—and their attitude—is revealing.

Dialogue Tips

To help tune your ear to natural speech, record random bits of conversation using a recording app on your smartphone.

The diction of each character should be so individual that a reader would know exactly who was speaking without being told.


NovelMakersHandbook_3These tips are derived from my  book, The Novel-Maker’s Handbook. Read more tips like these along with other great writing advice, by purchasing your copy today.


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