If your book is too dialogue heavy, it can read like a script. You don’t get to know the environment your characters are in, or connect with their interiority in a way that you can relate to their emotions. However, if your book is too prose heavy, it can make it hard to get to know the characters because so much of how we ground ourselves in our characters is in how they communicate with each other. So, it’s important to strike a good prose to dialogue ratio.
Sometimes as part of your story, you’ll have information that needs to be delivered in order for the story to make sense. This could be rules of magical lore within your Universe, details of a quest your character goes on, world building about the environment they live in if you’re writing in high fantasy or sci fi, or politics of the time such as a war they’ve been engaged in or who is in charge. But, ultimately, either your audience, or both your character and your audience, need information to be delivered to them in order for you to tell your story.
If you are planning a series of books or films, then you need to write the first one in a way that will encourage your audience to come back for the second installment, and excite them to read further adventures with those characters. One way of doing that is with a cliffhanger, so you leave part of your story untold and end it at a point of tension that the audience hopes to be resolved next time. However, there are negative consequences to that decision.
Your character’s back story is their history and life prior to your jumping in point for this story. I’m going to be writing about how much back story you should give to your characters, how much you should make present in your plot, and how much you should pre-prepare rather than find out and fill in along the way according to what is useful to the story and character as you go.
In most of these pieces of writing advice, I reference the conflict, because there is no story without conflict. So what actually is conflict?
If you are writing a scary story, or a thriller or a mystery, suspense is one of the key things you need to make your story appealing to your audience. It will keep them excited and intrigued so they will want to stay with you and keep watching or reading to the end.
A “time-lock” is best to use in your story when you’ve established who your Protagonist and Antagonist are, you’ve pitted them against each other, but your story lacks pressure and haste. You want to ramp up the tension and manipulate the circumstances surrounding your characters so the story is more exciting. A time-lock gives your story energy, and is what tells your audience and your characters, that you’re headed for a climax.
On Instagram we were asked a question by @Books_To_Life, who wanted to know what you can do if you start writing your story, and you have some good characters and a good concept, but you don’t have a plot yet. How do you turn a collection of scenes and characters interacting into an actual story?
On Instagram we were asked a question by a user with the handle @Books_To_Life who wanted to know how you know when your chapter is coming to an end, and how do you end it in the right way to move on to the next chapter?
My general advice with writing a story is that everything in your story, whether it’s a tiny moment, a whole scene, or a large section, it should be plot relevant. If it doesn’t add to your story, it doesn’t belong in your story. So, how do you tell if what you’ve written is plot relevant or not?