So, you’re writing your first novel and want it to be a hit. Or maybe you’ve already written a few books but haven’t had much success. Well don’t worry, there are a few easy things you can do to make your book one that the readers won’t be able to put down.
But before we start I’d just like to state, all success in the writing business comes from extremely hard work and luck. And no matter how hard you work or how good you are, you still need a little bit of luck to make it. Of course, the best way to increase your luck is to put out the best product possible. And with these four quick tips, you’ll definitely stack the odds in your favor. Let’s get to it!
1. Don’t Make It Boring!
This is something we all want to avoid, yet it’s the number one reason why new authors fail. You can write the most beautiful prose the world has ever known, but it won’t mean shit if the reader is too bored to get through it.
Of course, most of us never intend on writing a boring novel. The thing is, though, it’s hard for us to tell if our own work is too slow and uninteresting. You see, the story is already in your head. Which means it’s much more exciting to you than it might be for the reader.
While your writing might be wonderful and your use of language exquisite, we live in the unfortunate time period where the average reader’s attention span has been greatly diminished by social media and texting. Gone are the days of people clamoring for long flowery prose. Now, people want great storytelling, fast pacing, and quick to the point details.
You can still add the flowery language and deep details, but you must do it sparingly. Unless you’re aiming your work towards the old school literary crowd, you’ll have a tough time finding an audience while implementing a Proust or James Joyce style of writing. Focus instead on telling a good, moderate paced story—at least until you’re established in the writing world. Once you’ve earned the right to wear fancy hats and unnecessarily using an antique typewriter, feel free to puff away on a pipe while writing five pages of detail about motel wallpaper.
2. Weak Writing Kills A Novel
Here’s another thing that seems obvious, yet you’d be surprised by how many don’t seem to get it. Weak writing throughout a novel’s length is usually caused by two things: a writer thinking they’re awesome and refusing to learn or accept criticism, or people never having the balls to tell the writer they suck and need to improve their writing skills.
The first thing you should do after finishing and editing the first draft of your novel is send it out to a wide variety of beta readers (not your mom or friends). Now, pay attention because this is the important part. You MUST LISTEN to the feedback you get.
There’s little point in sending your work out to beta readers if you aren’t going to listen to constructive criticism. And while some things might not be worth accepting, a lot of things definitely will be. You just need to learn how to weed out bad criticism from the batch of legit ones.
The easiest way to do this is to first see what criticisms and suggestions are common throughout your beta readers. For instance, if most of your beta readers tell you the story is too slow, it’s too damn slow. If most of them tell you something doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t make sense. Get it? Good.