By Dennis Mellersh
On the creation of believable characters in the novel
If you are struggling with the task of creating the characters in the novel you are writing, it should not surprise you. Even famous novelists find character development to be one of the most difficult aspects of writing.
It’s also probably the most critical element.
Successful character development is one of the essential ingredients of a novel if it is to grab the reader’s attention, and resonate with that reader after they have finished reading it.
In his book, The Art of Creative Writing, Lajos Egri has these comments:
“If we consider originality almost non-existent, then what shall a writer strive for? Characterization. Living, vibrating human beings are still the secret and magic formula of great and enduring writing.”
“There never was and never will be a more exciting theme or story than the revelation of a three-dimensional character.”
Turning your blog into a book? Make sure your writing sounds natural
I have previously written that one way to write a book is to build a blog on a focused topic and then compile your posts, or a selection of them, into a book.
However, do this successfully, you have to make sure when writing your blog that you are writing in such a way that the “book version” will be written naturally and not sound artificial.
Because you are likely going to be mindful of using a reasonable density of appropriate keywords when writing for your blog (to attract search engine interest) the “book result” can appear “forced” or sound unnatural when the posts are read as a collective whole.
So remember to use synonyms and equivalent words for your keywords instead of mindlessly repeating your main target keywords over and over again.
Doing this will also have the result of making your blog writing better in terms of quality content – which is what the search engines are looking for.
If you want to be a better writer, focus on your thinking
Are your efforts to write a book frustrating you because of your difficulty in making your writing accurately reflect your ideas?
It might not be your writing skills that are at fault.
It may be that you are trying to write before you have organized your thinking.
So, take some time to systematically organize your thoughts and write your thoughts down in point form.
Then organize the points in a logical sequence.
Once you have done that it will be much easier to connect all of your ideas into coherent prose.
Self-Editing tip: About getting rid of the unnecessary adverbs and adjectives in your book
One of the most overused and unnecessary words in the writing of books is the use of the word “very”.
The writer Mark Twain gave some humorous advice for removing this trite word from your manuscript:
“Substitute "damn" every time you're inclined to write "very"; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.”
No matter what type of book you want to learn how to write, reading extensively should be an important part of your learning process.
To experience and benefit from examples of well written material you need to read, and evaluate quality articles in magazines, newspapers, books, and on the Internet.
Realize however that just because something has been published, it does not necessarily mean that the material is written well.
By reading a lot, however, you will begin to form your own ability to discern good writing from not-so-good, and bad, whether it is an article or a book.
As you form the ability to identify good writing, you are one step closer to being able to write well yourself.
Despite what you may read, there are no “formulas” for writing a successful novel
There is a lot of good educational material available providing information on how to write a novel.
Unfortunately, what is not available are “formulas” that guarantee success in writing a quality manuscript for a novel, or any other type of book.
As observed by the famous novelist, Somerset Maugham:
“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”