You've probably heard plenty of querying authors discuss a hook: the one-sentence summary of their plot. And you DO need one to catch an editor's eye. But you actually need to consider writing your hook BEFORE you finish that novel. WAY BEFORE. Say, before you start Chapter One.
Creating your own worlds, creatures, and characters is half the fun of writing. But you can't go off the rails crazy and do whatever you want and still expect people to join you on the ride. There has to be SOME crumb of reality there. And that means conducting research before you write. As onerous a task as that sounds.
Do you know what your book's about? Not the plot summary (although you need that, too). We're talking the absolute core of the story. Without it, everything collapses. Every novel has a theme. And until you lock that down, your writing will go NOWHERE.
Writers help each other out (or they SHOULD). And one of the biggest services is supplying critiques. But if you aren't familiar with best practices, you could end up doing more harm than good to your writing buddies. So let's review how to review a manuscript from start to finish, shall we?
There are plenty of writing devices that are up for debate. But cliffhangers are particularly hot topics. Some readers love them. Others despise them - and for good reasons. A poorly handled cliffhanger is something to revile.
Writing a book is often at the top of a new writer's list of goals. And the moment they start asking for advice, "gurus" crawl out of the woodwork with rules and lessons. Most of which are complete nonsense. And one of the most controversial of those RULES involves how to handle dialogue tags.
Ah, apostrophes. They're little more than a spasm of ink on the page. Without them, though, we can't understand the intent of various words. And plenty of people seem intent on abusing them for unintended purposes.
Regardless of WHAT you write, you need to edit. Sometimes on a deadline. And when you're pressed for time, errors can skate by. But if you read your work OUT LOUD, you'll catch mistakes that otherwise fly under the radar.
No one wants to read robotic writing. You know the type: the dull, flavorless copy you got in ancient science films that put you to sleep within 5 seconds. That's where adjectives come in handy. However, there's a right way and a wrong way to deploy these descriptors.
The internet makes life easy in plenty of ways. That's a good thing - and a terrible thing. Suddenly, lazy people feel they have permission to snap wholesale sentences, paragraphs, and even entire articles and submit them as their own. Plagiarism's alive and well - and thriving. And it needs to stop.