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5 Tips To Create A Brilliant Novel
By Bethany Cadman on December 14, 2015
To create a brilliant novel you need to tell a brilliant story. It really is as simple as that.
‘But how?!’ We hear you cry.
Telling a great story comes down to 5 simple rules. If you follow these there is no reason why your story won’t be considered fantastic, and we are talking about the opinions of perspective publishers and agents, not just your gran.
So how do you create a brilliant novel? One which is fast faced, moving, and original? You need to show a publisher that you have knowledge, that you have authority, and an understanding of what your audience wants. If you can do this successfully, you are sure to impress.
Here are 5 great tips to help you on your way.
Make your story a sense sensation
Your characters need to be believable and engaging, your descriptions need to be delightful and imaginative. The five senses play a crucial part in involving your audience in your story, giving it texture and depth. We want to see what they see, hear what they hear, feel what they feel. If you omit this from your story it will fall flat.
2. Be odd, erratic, haunting, idiosyncratic
To create believable and interesting characters they need to behave a certain way. Simple straightforward characters who look nice and act nice, and say nice things are only useful in your story if they are there to create a stark contrast between themselves and other, more important characters in your book. Make your characters irrational, give them unusual appearances, quirks, ticks, habits. But do it subtly. Your readers need to understand your characters motivation for behaving in the ways that they do. They like weird, but they will want to understand why. It is easy empathise with peoples irrational behaviour – we all can act like this from time to time. So make sure you allow your characters to do so, otherwise they may well come across as rather dull.
3. Be Free
One of the greatest difficulties writers face is themselves. We are obstructive, negative and often downright cruel. To create a brilliant novel you need to free yourself from yourself. Allow yourself to explore scary/sad/ mad parts of your own being. Really get in there, go deep, and inspect all the ugly things that you don’t like to show to anyone else. Then use them. If you are daring in your writing it will be exciting. If you are honest with your feelings it can lead to some uncomfortable moments, but if you channel it all into your writing, and refuse to be self conscious or restrained then you can produce some great content.
4. Be clever
If you have an idea for a story that is complicated and intelligent, don’t shy away from it because you are worried it won’t appeal to a mass market. The truth is that most avid readers are educated and affluent and these people are more likely to buy a book that appeals to their intelligence. A publisher is far more likely to be excited about a book that presents a clever idea, rather than one that is clearly dumbed down simply to try and appeal to the lowest common denominator. Don’t insult your readers, don’t underestimate them. People like to be challenged, the like to escape. Resist the need to over explain everything, it makes for awkward and slow prose. Use your words carefully and selectively to portray what you mean, and have faith that your readers will get it.
5. Make them laugh, make them cry
One of the most important things to achieve when creating a great novel is getting a reaction from your reader. Your book should make them feel something. If you are writing a funny story then aim to make your readers not just smile, or half chuckle, but bend over in gasping, embarrassing hysterics on the train. If your story is sad, forget a sigh or solitary tear, have them sobbing, snotty and heartbroken. If you can evoke your desired response from the reader you are doing something right. If you can make them both laugh and cry, you are on to a winner.
Agents and editors are highly skilled when it comes to seeing the weaknesses in a story, but they will also forgive many flaws if an author shows bravery and skill. Follow the tips above to engage your audience, to be true to yourself, and hopefully create a brilliant novel in the process.