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The A to Z of Writing Fiction – Part 3

K is for Killing Off Your Darlings

This doesn’t necessarily mean killing off your main character; it’s more about killing off or eliminating what isn’t right and doesn’t fit. You may have written a fantastic scene but if it doesn’t fit, it can't stay. You don’t have to lose it altogether; keep it for another time and place but, if it isn’t right, you must be prepared to cut the strings.

L is for Letting Your Characters Influence Your Plot

Depending on the situation they are in, a character may react in any number of ways. Much will depend on their personality and how they relate to other characters in the story, as well as the setting. If you work your plot out right from the start and then build the characters to fit it, they won't work. You have to let your characters guide you, not the other way around.

M is for Managing the Middle

Once the foundation of your story is strong, you will face the toughest hurdle – building the middle of the story. Most times, the middle sags. We’ve all read that book where it starts well and then seems to die before picking up again. Keeping your story going is important; most writers don’t push their central conflict far enough or make their problems extreme enough. You must go further, deeper and, if necessary, start getting mean.

N is for Narration

Everyone wants to know what’s going to happen next and, if nothing else, that is the main reason why the backbone of your story has to be a story. Some readers only want to know that; they have a primeval curiosity that pushes all other literary judgments out of the window. It is the only way to define your story; to have a natural sequence of events, told as they happen. For that reason, your story has just one merit. It must make your audience want to know what happens and that, by default, means it has just one fault – that your audience doesn’t want to know what happens next because you just haven’t given them enough reason to want to.

O is for Opening Strong

If your novel opening is strong, it is highly suggestive of the nature of your story. It puts the reader in the right place and time and in the approach of your story; its stance for narration and tone.

P is for Plot

The most important parts of your story are the elements of the prime plot. Everything else will spin off from those central points, sometimes having a direct effect on other things, sometimes not.

Q is for Quitting is NOT an Option

Yes, it is exhausting to write a book. It is a long horrible struggle and if you didn’t have something driving you to do it, you wouldn’t dream of taking on a project like this. Once you start, allow yourself to be driven. Don’t invest all that time and energy only to give up when the going starts to get a little bit tough.

In the last part, we finish with R to Z.


Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Anne-Marie Reynolds