Writing an exciting narrative

Hi again!

So did anyone notice last night was the longest night of the year? I didn’t. I went to bed very early and slept right through until 7.30 this morning.  I love sleeping. It’s my third favourite thing after eating and writing. What’s YOUR favourite thing?

Speaking of writing, Alara asked yesterday if I could give some tips on writing a professional narrative. So here are my top tips.

  1. Start off with a BANG!! The library is full of books. (If you haven’t noticed!) So, as a writer, you have to hook your reader from the first few lines. Your story might be the most exciting story in the world, but if the first page isn’t exciting, only your mother or teacher will keep reading. So before you start writing, you have to figure out the most exciting starting point for your story. Writing the first few lines is usually the hardest part.
  2. And then … While writing your story, keep asking yourself “and then what happens?” Once you think you know what’s going to happen, stop for a second and ask yourself – “Is that really the most exciting thing that can happen?” or “Is that the best thing that can happen to make my story the best story it can be?” When I’m writing, I have hundreds of ideas whizzing around in my head. The hard part is choosing which one of my ideas is the best idea for my story. Like when I was writing DO NOT PUSH, I didn’t know what was going to happen when Cam pushed the button. All I knew was he WAS going to push the button. Anything could have happened, really. And I could probably write a thousand different stories about it. (Especially if I stole some of YOUR ideas! hehehehehehe) But in the end I had to choose just ONE idea – the idea I thought would make the best story.
  3. Remember your characters are NOT ZOMBIES! I bet you can all write amazingly exciting stories with lots of action. But to make your story even better, try to remember that your characters are always THINKING and FEELING. Every time something happens, ask yourself  – “What is my character thinking or feeling?” The readers don’t need to know everything your character thinks and feels, but YOU DO! By adding a thought or feeling sometimes, the reader gets to know your character a bit better. And the more your readers like your characters, or understand them, the more likely they’ll not only finish your story, but like your story!
  4. Learn to be a reader! I don’t read boring books. Or books that are badly written. I bet YOU don’t either. And when I write a story, I always think MY stories are brilliant!! Even when they’re not. So I have to put my story away a while then read it again, this time pretending I DIDN’T write it. I pretend I just found the story lying around and don’t know who wrote it. Is it a story worth reading? As I read my story, I try to be super-critical. I try to find every mistake, every bad sentence and every bit that isn’t totally exciting. Then I go back and re-write my story.
  5. Re-write!! Re-write! Re-write! Keep writing your story until it’s as good as you can make it.

Oh, and there’s one more important tip – MAKE SURE YOU FINISH!! Once you start a story, you have to finish it!

OK, so those are a few of my tips. Every writer has their own tips, and their own way of writing. In the end, you have to figure out how YOU write best. Good luck!


3 Responses so far

  1. 1

    zackids said,

    Thanks for the excellent writing tips Kyle. It’s always good to get tips from an author, especially one who writes great stories 🙂

    As for sleeping through the longest night, I wish I could have slept through the night but 5 or 6 large shakes kept waking me up!

  2. 2

    Astrid Rose said,

    Hi Kyle,

    I am new to the blog world and just happened to come across your blog on tips. Excellent I must say. I finally finished up a 90,000 word Thriller/Suspense. The writing was easy for me, it was the hard work of doing the edits, reading the story over and over until it was perfected and polished. Now, I finally sent out a few query letters and the query was, in my opinion, the hardest part. My question to you, do you have any advice or tips on how to make your query pop?? I thought I perfected it, but out of 22 agents, I received 11 REJECTIONS…but, I will keep going 🙂

    • 3

      starauthor said,

      Hi Astrid! First off, congratulations on finishing your novel! All us writers should always remember to pat ourselves on the back for achieving what is, in fact, a major milestone, whether it’s our first book or our 100th.
      But now you’ve finished your book, the really tricky (and frustrating) bit begins – getting it published. It’s an incredibly difficult thing to get an agent, or a publisher, to take on your book. Often it’s not even a simple matter of quality winning out. Or, rather, reading is such a subjective process, it’s all a bit hit-and-miss, really. A matter of writing the right story at the right time, or having your story land on the right desk at the right time.
      Sometimes it seems like the gods are conspiring against you. Maybe they are. The only real advice I can offer is keep trying. It sounds like pretty banal advice, but success is seriously often a case of trying again and again until your stars align.
      You probably know that already. But it bears repeating.
      As for writing a query that pops, there are as many opinions on it as there are writers, agents and publishers. What works for one agent/publisher won’t work for another. A lot of advice seems to be of the “this is how I got my book accepted, so you should try it” variety. Yet it’s just as likley it wasn’t the query letter, but the story itsdelf which won the day.
      If there’s one thing I would advise, it would be to BE YOURSELF. Agents and publishers are people, too. (Though it sometimes doesn’t feel like it!) They are going to be more positive towards a ms if they have positive feelings about the person. And in this day and age, that often means getting a sense that the writer is also personable and able to present themselves well in public. The day of the grumpy hermit writer are over, more or less.
      For example, when I was writing adult novels, I managed to acquire a London agent by sending short emails along the lines of – “Help! I’m a NZ writer trapped in the smallest market on earth!” I sent it to every agent in the writer’s guide, and included a synopsis of my novel. In the end I got a dozen rejections, and 2 agents who wanted to read my novel. The first one who replied got first read, and they took me on.
      So, that’s all I can offer in the way of advice, I’m afraid.
      Good luck!!!

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