As promised, I'm returning to my mini-series of posts on Writing Tips. If you missed the earlier posts, Part I and II included General Advice and Part III was on Deep Point of View. Today, some of my fellow writers tackle story making.
Five ways to engage your reader from Martina Boone's blog Adventures in YA Publishing:
"I spend time lying in bed late at night just before nodding off or first thing in the morning before I'm really awake, mulling over my characters and their motivations and my story line. I love it!" Kim Van Sickler, author of Snatched in Gullybrook.
- Set out the stakes early.
- Start with the story question.
- Keep your main character in the forefront by engaging her/him in activity.
- Reveal character and special abilities through action as much as possible.
- Build the story world as you go, slivering in the details of place as needed.
Martina adds, "Put the core of the story on every page—the thing that you wouldn’t change no matter what. That needs to be there from the first paragraph to the last. It may or may not be the story question. Perhaps it’s voice, or setting, or a character, a style, a mood. Whatever it is that makes the story important to you, start with it, end with it, and carry it through the book. Chances are that will make the story truly yours and that’s what will separate it from others in the slush pile and on the bookstore shelves." Martina Boone is the author of Compulsion.
"If you are writing for teens, surround yourself with that age group and ask questions, look at their fashion statements, find out their interests. Listening to conversations with their peers is helpful in writing dialogue and understanding their issues. Words I use are sometimes out of date and they give me the new slang term." Sheri Levy is the author of Seven Days to Goodbye.
Next week I'll finish this series with a post on revision and will announce the winner of Nancy Kress's book: