Tag Archive - microtension

The Secret Formula to Writing the Commercially Successful Novel

I’ve been writing novels for more than three decades, and while I have learned a lot about how unpredictable the market is, there are some specific characteristics that have consistently set apart novels that see success. You’d think every informed novel-writer would know what these are.

Here’s the thing:

I critique more than 200 manuscripts a year (95% novels). Even the best ones seem to be missing the key ingredients for a commercial best seller.

Why is that?

Because few writers have learned the specific elements that identify a great novel with great potential. And many of those elements are not what the average fiction writer is taught.

Sure, you need a great plot, an intriguing and fresh premise, terrific characters. And your scenes need to be tight time capsules of “show, don’t tell.”

But a terrific commercially viable novel has so much more. And few books or writing instructors teach what these essential elements are.

Continue Reading…

The 2 Key Elements That Make a Great Scene

Writing great scenes takes a lot of practice and know-how. There are so many elements that must work beautifully, perhaps magically, to draw in readers and get them hooked.

It’s crucial you deeply understand the exact genre you are writing in because those readers who pick up your book have expectations. And you must meet those expectations, or you are going to disappoint them.

It’s as simple as that.

Look Carefully at First Scenes

I’ve written thousands of words in my books and blog posts about first scenes. In fact, I have an entire book devoted to just first pages of best sellers—analyzing, tearing them apart, to show you what works and what doesn’t.

You should be doing this same type of homework, whether you write fiction or nonfiction. There is a target audience for your book, possibly hundreds of thousands of readers—readers who would love your book. Continue Reading…

What Microtension Is and Why Writers Must Master It

Note: This post was originally posted in August on Writer’s Fun Zone here.

Tension is created by lack. Lack of understanding, lack of closure, lack of equilibrium or peace. When your readers have questions, that creates tension. When they need to know what happens next, that is tension.

Masterful writers keep their readers in a constant state of tension. And that’s a good thing.

But here’s something to keep in mind: our characters may be tense, but that doesn’t mean readers are tense in response. A character with a tightened fist or clenched jaw does not ensure readers will respond in the same way. And that might not even be the desired response a writer is hoping for.

What the characters think, feel, and show must be carefully executed to evoke the desired emotional response in readers. Continue Reading…

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