How to write a novel | Style
As a writer you have to try to develop a style, preferably one that is interesting to read and easy to read. If you use lots of words that the reader is unfamiliar with, that will frustrate them. If you fill whole pages with lengthy descriptions of rooms and places rather than people, it will be boring. Writers’ complain of writers’ block, not knowing what to write next. This is often because the story is boring; if it’s absolutely riveting you tend to write like someone possessed, wanting to get to the end.
You should be trying to write something that is different. What is the point of a rehash of something that has already been done? If it’s a murder mystery, can you come up with a method that hasn’t been done before? A different motive? Can you give your reader something to think about? Can you fire their imaginations? Can you create interesting characters?
You decide your murderer will be an employee with psychopathic tendencies who murders his boss by spraying the brakes on his car with oil. Now for a motive, maybe he was refused a pay rise or promotion? Can we give the plot a twist? Has he tried it before? Was the tummy upset his boss had the week before a poisoning attempt? Of course, we don’t point the finger at the murderer, we keep the reader in suspense and have a variety of suspects. The climax of the story will be when the villain gets found out; but can we have an ante climax? Maybe his new boss can be just as frustrating to his career and his decision to bump him off too is his downfall?
It is a good idea when you’re written the first chapter to stop, edit it and perfect it. Then, I would make it fully justified and turn it into a PDF and read it though. Does it look good, is the formatting right? Is the construction good? Does it lead the reader through the story? Is it boring? You can add a title and I use PrimoPDF, which is a free download to convert into a PDF. You also need to watch the word count. People prefer shorter novels to War and Peace these days. Even novellas are becoming more popular for eBook readers like the Kindle.
When you see the first chapter of you novel as an eBook it will give you some idea of what you are aiming at for a completed novel. At the end of chapter one you should perhaps tease the reader into reading chapter two. We all tend to become engrossed in a book, but take our breaks from it at the end of chapters. Does your reader have a compelling reason to read on tomorrow?
Most novels have a conclusion, there is a point to the novel. It leads the reader down a path to where the detective solves the crime; the good guys win or our hero overcomes adversity. Can you think of a different type of conclusion, more unusual? There is often a twist at the end and the conclusion isn’t the one the reader expects. The protagonist marries and lives happily ever after, but not to the man we all expect her to. In some modern novels, it wouldn’t even be a man!
You might want to shock your reader, often we at least want to surprise them and write the unexpected. I read a story that centred on a guy crawling out of bed after a night of heavy drinking, opening his front door and admiring the view (that was described extensively). He then urinated on his own doorstep. That short story won a literary prize; but that was the oh, so trendy BBC!
I hope these hints about writing a novel help, it is a complex subject. If you look through my blogs, the font I started with was the generic one; too small! I now use a better font, I think the writing and photography is better too but I still search for improvement. Writers’ who think they are good, will never be great.