Category Archives: Self-editing Fiction that Sells

Your book might be good. But can it be better?

How to Structure a Strong Narrative

Following on from the post on the action-consequence principle in building a strong narrative plot, in this post I’ll illustrate how to build a narrative mini-arc, by using one of the greatest examples of accomplished narrative structure, Ken Follett’s masterpiece, The … Continue reading

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What Is an over-developed Character?

Characters are often under-developed in beginning fiction writing. An unknown villain is a common example. That is a villain whose characterisation is not strong or compelling enough to convince us that he or she can pose some seriously menacing adversity … Continue reading

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Generic Adjectives are Bad for your Style

What’s wrong with this fragment, found in a novel: ‘Their conversation was stilted’? That’s right: it tells, it doesn’t show. Instead of creating a scene with the right atmosphere to show us that the awkwardness, boredom and self-consciousness of the characters … Continue reading

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How to Avoid saggy Middles

Middles can be drawn out affairs. The never seem to deliver quite the excitement of beginnings or the satisfaction of endings. Characters don’t appear to achieve anything and the story struggles to get anywhere. This is particularly the case with … Continue reading

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How to Strengthen a weak Story

Weak stories are a common encounter in beginning fiction, even when the quest is strong and the stakes are high. Example of weak story: The protagonist endangers his life to save his best friend’s life, who’s been kidnapped by a … Continue reading

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Is Structuring your Novel a good Idea?

Structure is a good idea when it enriches the meaning of your story, but it comes with its own risks.  Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries won the 2013 Man Booker Prize. Everybody is in awe with the structure of this huge … Continue reading

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Plot writing: And then vs. But

Here’s a piece of brilliant advice on how to build your plot, from Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of South Park and The Book of Mormon. Don’t plan out your action linearly: she did this and then she … Continue reading

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