How to Write Better Books.

Jul 29, 2017

Top tips for writing better books.

From Booker listed, award-winning author of literary and historical fiction, Louise Dean.

1. At the core of every good concept is a paradox. (Find it, and you've got a story.)

2. Don't write for money. Don't write for free. In other words, don't write to make sure you can eat, but don't spill your words without getting paid for them. Making it your living is the best way to keep your standards high. Besides no one wants anything that's free.

3. A novel is best with one timeline for the main story, written in the present tense, narrated in the third person. Now we have that sorted let's move on.

4. 'The voice' is yours. Fix your mind on someone you care about and feel relaxed enough with to be yourself, probably someone dead, and talk to them. Sing your heart.

5. In the first chapter everything changes. It's all fucked up now. But remember, you and me both know it's going to get a whole lot worse for Mrs Wright or Mr Wrong.

6. Stop making excuses for not writing, like plotting or research. Do research late into the writing.

7. The plot happens after the first draft is done and dusted, when the story has worked you out.

8. Your main character is the part of you you've been trying to hide your whole lifetime, but he or she looks like someone you were fond of in childhood and has one or two good points and bad habits robbed from people you work with.

9. Every novel is a tragedy. Real life is comedy.

10. You'll never write better books, if you don't read better books. Start with reading them. Hundred and hundreds of them, and get yourself a professional juicer like The Novelry. They'll show you these three noble truths.

  • Your story (courtesy of Tolstoy) "All great literature is one of two stories; a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town.”
  • Your plot (thanks to Epictetus)  "Difficulties are things that show a person what they are."
  • Your material (cheers Miranda July!) "There's no law against asking strangers about their lives and feelings, although sometimes it really feels like there is."

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The Novelry.