Goals of Writing by Sue Hart

This is the post excerpt.

I’ve been creating novels for a ten years now and studying what other writers have to say. Writing the story is considered the easy part, but the editing can drive you crazy as it is normal to read your book multiple times.

The most important part of your novel is the opening page. That first paragraph has to grab interest, or your dead in the water. Thousands of books are written daily. That’s competition. If the cover makes a customer pick it up, the pitch has to make them open the cover. Their eyes land on the first sentence. If they aren’t intrigued, they may not go further. You have to hook them at that moment. Then take them through the paragraph making them want to know why, how, and what the heck is going on. This takes experimentation until you just know it works, and ask others what they think. If they don’t ask about more, begin again. Each chapter begins with a hook and and end with one, making the reader turn the page for the next chapter.

After you gain interest, you have to keep them there and that involves the flow or┬ápace of the manuscript. Keeping the plot moving without stops and starts. To prevent this, you have to watch what we call filler. I like to think of them as tangents. Even too much of a description can make a reader skim until he gets back to the plot. Some say no more than a couple of paragraphs. I find breaking it up through the eyes of the character the best way. We see what’s in front of us. Stop and show what interests the character, then move on. Basically, keep to the plot. You can show slashing rain if it’s hitting your character in the face and he’s frustrated. Otherwise, a storm is common.

Remember, everything that happens ‘needs’ to build the plot of the story like a tide rolling in to crash on the beach. I don’t want to know each step a person takes once they get out of bed. I want them up and moving, walking into the bathroom for a shower and coming out dressed unless it’s a sex scene… and then it needs to be plot related. Everything!

Study the point of view, because that’s very important.

Double checking grammar, punctuation, and misspelled words comes later when you proofread.

My books are written as if I see the scene and my characters lead the plot. They tell the story. Most authors write the way they like to read. My favorite is to be pulled into the story immediately by the characters. I want to see them move and hear them talk. I want the opening to give me a sense of what’s going on. If a character is pounding the street running, show me. I want to see the way his legs stretch out in front of him and his feet grip the pavement and come up close to smacking his rear end. If he’s alone running he can lead the narrative as to how he feels and what he’s thinking. People like being alone with their own thoughts. Dive in and discover the best way to tell your story. See it, feel it, and then get it down in writing. The best rule, enjoy the experience.

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