Editing Tip #6: Prioritise Macro Edits over Micro Edits

Not all forms of editing are created equal. While any type of editing should improve your story, some forms of editing are more powerful, effective and less time-consuming than others.

Macro and Micro Editing:

This is where the idea of macro and micro edits come in. Macro edits refer to big-picture fixes. For instance, re-writing your climax, adding a new character or even changing your whole plot are examples of macro editing. In short, you’re editing your story on a large-scale.

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Why Realism is Essential

If your story lacks realism, readers will be disappointed.

Why? Well, good novels encourage readers to suspend their disbelief; to believe that the story is real, even though it’s obviously fiction. Without realism, readers will find it hard to think your story is, well, real.

Now, coming from a guy whose most recent story was about spaceships, you’re probably a little confused. Does the need for realism impede you from writing about anything you can’t see or experience?

The answer, of course, is no. Stories about aliens, superheros, or medieval vampires can all be 100% realistic, because realism isn’t about stories being true to our world. It’s about stories being true to themselves.

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5 Tips for Writing Effective Settings

After character, plot and theme, setting is arguably one of the most important elements of a novel. ‘Setting’ refers to the location for which events occur, and can be used to:

  • Establish mood, tone or theme
  • Reflect character
  • Enhance suspense
  • Foreshadow/provide clues
  1. Use the 5 senses to Immerse Readers

The most effective settings are those that plunge readers into a story’s world. By vividly portraying a setting’s sensory experience, readers’ imaginations will flourish, allowing them to feel like they’re inhabiting your story.

When using the 5 senses (sight, sound, taste, touch and smell), focus on touch, taste and smell. Too often, writers over-focus on sight and sound. This can come from trying to write as if your book was a movie, which has a strong reliance on these two senses. Continue reading “5 Tips for Writing Effective Settings”

5 Reasons To Have a Likeable Antagonist

When most people hear ‘antagonist’, they think of a moustache-twirling megalomaniac who kicks puppies in their spare time. While there’s certainly a place for antagonists that are pure evil incarnate (Darth Vader in A New Hope is a great example), here are some compelling reasons to make your antagonist(s) a little more sympathetic:

  1. ‘Antagonist’ does not equal ‘bad guy’

A common misconception is that all antagonists must be villanous. This isn’t always true. An antagonist is merely a force that opposes your protagonist. Yes, this means it could be an uber-evil villain (like Darth Vader); but it could also be the hero’s parents, who don’t want him joining the army. In this example, the hero’s parents are not ‘evil’ – what they are doing, however, is opposing the protagonist, which makes them antagonists.

Antagonists don’t even have to be human. Non-human antagonists could be:

  • A vicious guard dog that attacks your postal-worker protagonist.
  • A thorny bush your detective-protagonist has to crawl through.
  • A hail storm that damages your taxi-driver-hero’s car.

Antagonists are usually human (because this provides maximum opportunity for conflict). However, there are lots of stories where the primary antagonist is non-human. Castaway, with Tom Hanks, is a great example. Likewise, plenty of survival-style stories feature nature as the main antagonist.

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