As already pointed out in the previous article (here) writing is not easy. This activity is complex and full of layers. The writer’s mind is constantly doing a multitasking job.
Welcome to our second part of the series Where, What, Who, and How.
Obviously, without the plot and the small subplots, there is no novel. Writers of textbooks, essays and pieces of writing that do not contain a story can relax here. The rest of the writing folk is probably already biting their nails because this is the hardest part.
Dictionary solves lack of vocabulary and there is a spell-check for typos. Even a whole half of the chapter can be erased when reducing the descriptions. But once the writer has no clue what should happen, there is no writing.
A good story does not come out of nowhere and the precious sparks of inspiration must be kindled. A writer should dedicate time to develop the plot and discuss the ideas with other people.
Plot holes are your doom. If the story has inconsistency or huge gaps, your book flies right into the dustbin. You have to avoid illogical, unlikely or impossible events. You must watch yourself not to contradict earlier events in your storyline or just make your characters dumb.
You need a unique story. No old cliches and repetitions will keep the interest of your audience. Another Beauty and the Beast set in our century… Well, sounds rather boring. This setting placed into a tribe in a rainforest may be refreshing. How about letting the Beast just die? Or make your Beaty hire a warlock to break the spell. She can go pursue her dreams then, without the Beast.
In many cases, research is vital. Only a few writers truly have an experience with FBI agents, hiding corpses, or interviewing psychopaths. And does your main protagonist fight a dragon in that fifth chapter? You should know something about dragons in other works. How they developed, what scenes with dragons are loved by the readers. Do you know a difference between a dragon and a wyvern? What about a wyrm?
It pays off to study real life reptiles as well. You may amaze your reader with a short, but on point description of the beautiful scale patterns.
Dragging and boring content without much happening can put your readers to sleep. On the other hand, you may not want to fill your plot plan with too much action.
It is good to find balance between the exciting parts and the more peaceful moments. Readers need a bit of a breathing space after a battle to say goodbye to their favorite characters. A tragic fate of a lonely mother whose child is dying is heartbreaking. But there is no need to break your reader’s heart in every single chapter. Give the mother, her child, and their fans also some relief and laugh.
The events in your story should, preferably, move it forward. If you are yearning to describe that beautiful meadow, or make your characters enjoy their tea without a fuss, no problem. But too much filler scenes can result in dead ends. The reader can enjoy a meaningless but beautifully written paragraph here and there, but if the story stands still for a whole third of the book… The book itself can stand still, not being read.
See you soon in our third section, Who.