If you want to write a bestseller, you’ve come to the right place! There are plenty of books out there that’ll teach you how to write compelling characters and tell great stories but they’ll all assume that you already know how to do those things.
In this article, we’re going to show you 30 simple ways to make your fiction stand out. They won’t all apply in every genre or story type, but they’ll help kick start your writing career by making your first pages as exciting as possible.
|1. Set clear and achievable goals.
|2. Develop a detailed outline before you start writing.
|3. Create compelling and relatable characters.
|4. Craft an engaging opening that hooks readers.
|5. Maintain a consistent writing schedule.
|6. Prioritize quality over quantity in your writing.
|7. Keep the pacing of your story dynamic and engaging.
|8. Utilize cliffhangers and tension to maintain reader interest.
|9. Focus on showing, not telling, to immerse readers in the story.
|10. Embrace revisions and editing as essential steps.
Start With A Compelling Lead Character
For your story to be compelling, you need a main character who is interesting and relatable. You want readers to think, “I want to learn more about this person!” To accomplish this, begin by interestingly introducing your lead character. For example:
- Give them a problem that they want to solve (a goal).
- Make them flawed or imperfect in some way (flaws).
- Give them secrets that will impact the story (secrets).
- Make sure their name stands out from the crowd of other characters’ names (names).
- Do some research into their backstory so you can better understand where they came from and how it affects them today (backstory).
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Give Them Someone To Love
One of the easiest ways to hook your reader is by giving them someone they can root for and invest in. This doesn’t have to be an actual romantic interest; it could be a best friend, a potential employer, or even just a character who wants something from the protagonist so badly that they’s willing to do anything for it.
As long as this person is relatable, has something going on in their lives (and not just about how hot they are), and is doing things that people would care about if this were happening in real life (say, if you were friends with them), then you’ve got yourself a great character!
Give Them Someone To Hate
There are few things that people love more than reading about a protagonist who is easy to hate. We all have something we want to take out on, whether it be our boss, the government, or the guy who cut us off in traffic. Give them someone to see themselves in by making your antagonist a caricature of everything you don’t like.
The antagonist should also be someone who evokes strong emotions in your reader, love/hate being at the top of the list, but if you’re looking for other options: contempt (for someone they envy), pity (for someone they identify with) and admiration (for someone they aspire to be like).
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Start With A Captivating First Chapter
The first chapter is your chance to grab the reader’s attention. You have 30 seconds before they put down your book, or close it and move on to another one. To keep them reading:
Start with a bang! Open with action and conflict, but don’t make it too intense. A slow buildup can be suspenseful if done correctly, but in general, you want readers to feel excited about what’s going on from the get-go.
Use an inciting incident that creates a problem for your protagonist this is called “man against self,” which means he must figure out how to solve his problems rather than rely on others or outside help (like friends).
This creates urgency in the reader because they want him/her to succeed at whatever task is set before them and since every good story has multiple conflicts for every protagonist (and sometimes even antagonists), there’s plenty of room for tension as well as resolution throughout this section of text!
Make sure not only does he overcome conflict throughout this section but also that other characters get involved somehow too!
Tell A Great Story
Great stories will always sell. The best-selling authors in the world know that, and they also understand that their readers want to be entertained. A great story is one where you care about what happens next, even if it’s not going to end well for the characters. If it’s full of boring details or has a predictable plot, then no one will want to finish reading it.
If your book isn’t interesting enough when people read it on paper (or e-reader), then they won’t want to pay $10 or more for an ebook copy of it either!
Keep Chapters Short And Sweet
One of the secrets to writing a bestseller is to keep chapters short and sweet. A book with lots of short chapters can be read more quickly, which means the reader will finish it sooner.
A benefit of this strategy is that it makes your book easier to write. If you want to write a long chapter, but you’re stuck on what comes next, try breaking it into two or three smaller chapters instead.
You’ll find yourself able to get past whatever was blocking your progress as well as make better use of transitions between sections when they’re their own “mini” stories or ideas within one larger piece (rather than part of a single arc).
Chapters also need not be longer than several pages at most meaning you’d want them all under 10 pages each at most (but 8–12 pages would be ideal).
This will help hold the reader’s interest by making each chapter feel more like its own mini story rather than one continuous narrative with no breaks in between parts; thus keeping the reader’s attention focused on what happens next without feeling bored or overwhelmed by having too much time pass before something new happens again!
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Write In One Scene Per Chapter
When writing scenes, it’s very important to make sure that they’re not too short or too long. It can be tempting to write a couple of short scenes and then go back later and add more detail and dialogue, but this can result in a bloated manuscript that feels like it will never end.
Similarly, if you find yourself writing extremely long scenes with lots of dialogue and description, you may need more breaks than just a paragraph break between chapters (if you’re looking for a good place to stop reading right now).
The best solution is to write one scene per chapter so that each chapter has the same amount of material as any other chapter in your book and there’s nothing wrong with having some shorter chapters or longer chapters; just make sure there aren’t any long ones!
Avoid Jumping Around In Time And Space Between Chapters
When you’re writing a novel, it’s important to keep the reader in mind. If they don’t know where the story is going or what is happening, they’ll get confused and lose interest. You want them to stay engaged and excited about reading your book!
There are several ways that authors can help readers stay on track while reading their books. One of these ways is by keeping chapters together in time and space.
This means that if there is an event in one chapter, then that event should happen before or after another event in a previous chapter (or vice-versa). This will help keep things straight for your reader so they aren’t left wondering what happened between two different parts of your story.
Use A Strong, Simple Sentence Structure
Use active verbs. For example, “I went to the store” is more powerful than “The store was visited by me.”
Use the first person pronoun (I, me, and my). This will put your reader in touch with the story and make them feel like they are a part of it.
Use short sentences. Short sentences are easier to read than long ones because they have fewer words in them and don’t cause eye fatigue as easily as longer ones do.
Keep your paragraphs short too! The average paragraph length should be no longer than 3 or 4 sentences; anything else may cause your reader’s mind to wander away from what you’re trying to say before they get through reading it all out loud in their head (this includes things like “and then” after each sentence that kind of thing).
If something needs to be said but doesn’t fit into one paragraph? Then just say it again later on down further into your book instead!
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Use Active Voice, Not Passive Voice, For Most Of The Book
You’ll want to use the active voice, not the passive voice, for most of your book. Passive voice is the more formal and distant-sounding version of sentences such as “The ball was hit by the boy.” In contrast, the active voice is more immediate and dynamic: “The boy hit the ball.”
Passive voice can be an elegant tool when used sparingly (and appropriately) in creative writing, but it tends not to translate well into spoken language because it makes things sound more formal than they are meant to be.
It also tends not to read aloud very well because it doesn’t emphasize subject-verb agreement or sentence structure as strongly as active sentences do. This means that passive sentences can feel clumsy when spoken aloud especially if you’re making a recording of yourself reading those parts of your book at home!
Avoid Long Sentences With Lots Of Clauses
Avoid long sentences with lots of clauses. Long sentences are hard to read, and most people won’t get past the first few words if you give them too much to think about.
Instead of writing “We were having a great time until we came across an unexpected situation,” write: “We had been having a great time until we ran into an unexpected situation.” It’s shorter, snappier, and easier on the eyes.
You could also use contractions to keep things moving along quickly: “We were having a great time until we ran into an unexpected situation.”
Dialogue is another way you can break up blocks of narrative text and move things along more quickly (dialogue should always be short and to the point).
Rather than writing something like this: “I’m sorry I didn’t call yesterday,” said Jane apologetically as she placed her cup on the table next to hers.” Just write something like this instead: “I’m sorry I didn’t call yesterday,” Jane said apologetically as she placed her cup on the table next to hers.
Use Contractions To Keep Sentences Shorter And Snappier
Use contractions. To keep your sentences short and snappy, use contractions in your writing. Contractions are informal, so they make the reader feel more like they’re having a conversation with you instead of reading an essay or book.
They also make your sentences faster to read, which helps keep people engaged in what you’re saying instead of getting bored by long-winded writing that doesn’t flow well due to its lengthiness (see #1). This is why newspapers and magazines use them so often they want their readership to stay interested!
Don’t Use Words Longer Than Three Syllables
You should try to use words that are three syllables or less. It will make your writing more accessible and easier to read. Also, other authors may copy your work if it is too complex for them to understand.
To find the right word, you can use a thesaurus or rhyming dictionary:
- A Thesaurus: This book will list synonyms for each of your original words, which are called “root words.”
- A Rhyming Dictionary: This book lists all of the possible combinations of two and three-syllable words in English (example: “key” could be combined with “day” and “bay”).
Use Dialogue To Break Up Blocks Of Narrative Text And Move Things Along Quickly
Dialogue can be used to move the story along, show character development and reveal inner thoughts and feelings. It can also be used to show how a character feels about another person or event, as well as their personality in general.
Some writers are hesitant to use dialogue because they don’t want their characters speaking like cartoon characters from an old Loony Toons episode. But if you think about it, dialogue is just another way of conveying information about your characters through what they say instead of what you tell us about them in narrative text blocks.
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Dialogue Should Always Be Short And To The Point
Dialogue should always be short and to the point. Don’t write a lot of unnecessary dialogue. Try to leave out all the “ums” and “uhs” in your conversations as much as possible, unless they are used for dramatic effect or when one character is interrupting another.
Dialogue should be written in active voice, not passive. It should also be written in the present tense, not past tense or future tense (unless it is a flashback).
When using first-person perspective (the narrator telling his/her story), use I, me, my, etc., never use he/she/it will narrate in third person limited POV (point of view) but this can be confusing if you don’t know which nouns refer back to I vs other characters so try doing lists instead of paragraphs!
When you’re writing, remember that you’re trying to tell a story. Your job is to create compelling characters and keep them engaged and interested in what’s going on around them. Make sure they have something to think about at all times; this will help you avoid having them come up with their reasons for doing things and make your narrative tight as a drum.
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30 Tips for Writing a Book in 30 Days Discover practical tips and advice for successfully completing a book within a tight 30-day timeframe.
12 Steps to Write a Bestselling Novel in Less Than 6 Months Explore a comprehensive guide that outlines the key steps to craft a bestselling novel in a shorter span of time.
And here’s the “FAQs” section with questions and answers:
How can I improve my writing efficiency when working on a tight schedule?
Efficiency can be enhanced by setting clear goals, breaking down tasks, and establishing a consistent writing routine. Additionally, using tools like time management apps and writing prompts can help maintain focus.
What strategies can I use to overcome writer’s block during the writing process?
Writer’s block can be tackled by changing your writing environment, taking breaks, practicing freewriting, and seeking inspiration from different sources such as books, music, or nature.
Is it possible to write a bestselling novel in a short timeframe?
Yes, it’s possible by focusing on a well-structured outline, setting realistic goals, and maintaining a disciplined writing schedule. However, quality remains important, so ensure that the writing process doesn’t compromise the depth and authenticity of the story.
How can I manage my time effectively while juggling other commitments?
Time management is crucial. Prioritize writing sessions and allocate specific time slots for writing. Use time management techniques like the Pomodoro technique or time-blocking to make the most of your available time.
What should I do if I’m struggling with self-doubt about my writing?
Self-doubt is common among writers. Engage with a supportive writing community, seek feedback from trusted individuals, and remind yourself of your progress and achievements to counteract self-doubt.
Costantine Edward is a digital marketing expert, freelance writer, and entrepreneur who helps people attain financial freedom. I’ve been working in marketing since I was 18 years old and have managed to build a successful career doing what I love.