Am I not annoying enough people, tarnishing enough images, or generally getting enough attention? Obviously it’s time to ramp up my efforts so next month’s post will be a little more interesting.
So…this post is boring? Well, I wouldn’t say that, unless you think writing better and getting motivated to write is boring. Then you might want to turn away now. If not, read on.
Question from Crawford: How can I get motivated to write when I don’t want to?
This is a big problem that many people have, especially those trying to get going on their second book.
Why not the first? Well, some people do that too, but they figured out how to overcome it. The thing I see most often of all, however, are authors with just one book that they push endlessly. I figure they somehow lost the ability to write.
So how do you get motivated? I don’t know. I think you need to be argumentative or you really have to have something to say. You have to want. For many “authors,” they just don’t want to have a lot of finished books. I mean, sitting on the couch and watching TV night after night proves that.
Authors like Crawford need to figure out their own motivation to get going. Maybe that’s money, perhaps it’s notoriety, or maybe it’s getting laid. Whatever it is, it’s got to be strong enough to create that want that attracts you to the computer and not the TV.
Question from Trenton: How do I make my book interesting to readers?
- Go back and add hooks;
- Describe characters;
- Have punchy dialogue;
- Hit them hard at first.
Let’s go through those four things now.
- Adding Hooks: This is a good strategy to follow when you’ve finished your book. I do it when I go back and edit, as I often fill in the middle last. You can add hints and hooks to pull the reader into the story, or down blind alleys that fool them later, giving them ah-ha moments that they enjoy. You might not be able to do that when you’re first writing because you don’t know the whole story yet. That’s why going back is important.
- Describe Characters: I’m terrible at this. I just let the reader figure out what the person talking looks like. Some people don’t like that, and when I write novels for other people they almost always tell me to go back in and add more detail about the characters, especially their looks. This might be something for you to think about, besides adding in backstory and other such stuff.
- Have Punchy Dialogue: I like to have dialogue that is sharp and fast and cutting. I like to cut sentence off midway and hit characters with something, often something that hurts them physically or makes them move physically. This keeps things going at a brisk pace which ensures more pages are turned faster, allowing you to get your potential reader all the way through that “Look Inside” on Amazon so they have to buy the book.
- Hit Them Hard At First: Just like the earlier example, try to hit them hard with action scenes or hard and fast dialogue right from the get-go. I do this a lot now with my shorter novels and also with Free Fiction Friday’s, which is a great practice ground. If you can really pull your reader into an action-packed scene right from the get-go then chances are good they’ll read the whole yarn.
Well, that’s all I’ve got for this edition of the Monthly Mailbox. I hope your “questions” were answered.