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How To Write A Perfect Cliff-Hanger

Today’s guest post is by Rachael Cooper.

Fiction thrives on conflict. Whether it’s a bank robbery or a breakup, our best stories tend to be about people striving to achieve something while other people and events get in their way. In stories, conflict drives the plot, and the plot is what keeps readers reading.

Your job as a storyteller is to captivate your reader. A good story should be impossible to put down. You want to get your reader dying to see what happens next.

With so many distractions out there, this can appear impossible, but don’t worry—there are plenty of ways writers grab and hold their reader’s attention.

From well-crafted characters to plot twists to sharp dialogue, there is a selection of skills and techniques you should try to hone in your writing game to keep your reader on the edge of their seat. One of my favorite ways to hook a reader, and keep them hooked, is by using cliff-hangers.

In this post, I’ll be drilling down into the world of cliff-hangers. I’ll discuss the mechanics of cliff-hangers as well as the best ways to use cliff-hangers in your stories. There will also be plenty of examples of cliff-hangers from great writers and stories to help you see their potential. Plus, I’ll share some of the best tips I’ve come across on how to write the perfect cliff-hanger. Continue Reading…

Premise Determines How Many Characters You Should Have in Your Novel

When I think about the many novels I’ve written, I realize I don’t always start with a plot idea. Sometimes a topic or theme intrigues me, or I’ll have an image of a character in the throes of a moral dilemma. I remember reading about how C. S. Lewis came up with his Narnia series. He had a picture in his mind of a faun carrying a parcel and an umbrella through a snowy wood. From there, the The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe sprang into existence.

The novel I’m currently writing, a supernatural thriller called Lightning Man, also was sparked by a picture in my head. I saw a man at the top of a mountain, his arms outstretched in a messianic surrender to the heavens, willing lightning to strike him for the tenth time, intending to stop a terrorist by sacrificing his life as he grips the bad guy. From there I had to ask a lot of questions to find my story, and I encourage you to do the same with the ideas that excite you.

I wove a complex plot around that character and climactic moment I saw in my head (it’s taken me a couple of years, but it’s all in place now). But it all started with a picture of a nebulous character. Continue Reading…

How to Create Realistic Characters

Today’s guest post is by Laura Sherman.

Whenever you write a novel, the success of the project depends upon your ability to craft believable, realistic characters. When done correctly, your readers will be drawn to the people in your book. They will empathize with and relate to each individual you portray and might just shed a tear when the book is finished.

As a writer, you know how important it is to do research. After all, you must know about the environment, relevant history, as well as the various topics discussed in your book. These are crucial to creating a realistic setting and background.

What you might not realize is that you also need to research the personalities involved if you wish to create truly three-dimensional characters. That’s the only way to really understand the nuances and characteristics of each individual in your novel. You have to work out how each character will develop throughout the story and who they will become by the end. And that development needs to resonate with your readers. Continue Reading…