Friday, 4 July 2014

Writing a Book - Making Your Plot Interesting. Hooks and Lines!

An author has a lot of power. People's imagination are incredibly vivid. Tolkien famously created a balrog and yet the description was fairly vague; fire and ash or something similar. Yet the balrog's actions were enough to define it and imagination did the rest. Writing a book needs to engage a reader and there is a fine line between telling them too much and letting their own imagination fill in the gaps.

How do you make a story interesting? Imagine writing about a football game. There's enough interest in football that some people would enjoy that, but it would be incredibly dull writing about the entire game. A way to make it interesting is to give the game meaning. This is where imagination comes in. For example, one of the player's or spectator's lives could depend upon the outcome. There might be a huge gambling debt riding on the outcome. A player may have been told to throw the game. There are endless possibilities and finding something interesting is quite difficult, but not impossible.

You also want to write more at length and more strongly about the more interesting parts. In an earlier blog creating a plot I said parts of my story were like islands. The islands were very vivid scenes and I had to link the islands in some way. Sometimes the journey to the islands can be less exciting, but you still need to engage the reader. However, you shouldn't take an age exploring every step a journey might take. Let the reader use their imagination.

There are short cuts and for example the film and TV series Star Gate is a prime example. Science Fiction is a very fertile area for writers, but the huge interstellar distances would make writing very dull. Star Gate created worm holes to transport people quickly between worlds. That's fine for some genres but less so for other genres.

Remember, if you are bored writing it then the reader will be bored reading it.

There are many hooks to engage a reader. A clever way is something about the character that makes you want to read more. Michael Sullivan created two characters of complete opposites and forced them to work together, or die in the attempt. That was very engaging and made you want to read more.

Another way is something about the plot that is compelling and makes you want to read more. My suggestion to write short stories may help you to identify something particularly engaging. writing a book - how to start I remember a radio presenter making up the first lines of a book - it was someone waking up, stretching and their hand caressing the clammy, bloodstained corpse of a complete stranger. Who wouldn't want to know more! The hook here is incredibly strong and there's almost a sense that this could happen to anyone. The reader is instantly engaged as they immediately want to know more. Their imagination is fired up and the adrenalin pumping, after all -- this could have been me.

Finally, you need to write in a style that is engaging.

Joe killed the vampire

or Joe, tried to press himself deeper into the shadows, but the thing before him simply kept coming as though darkness was a friend rather than a hindrance. Joe's hand clenched on his only weapon; a broken broom handle that looked pitifully frail in his hands... you can feel the fight looking, and clearly that builds the suspense.

There's a good article here for further information Making Your Writing Interesting

Best wishes, David

My top tips
Choosing a genre
How to Start writing a Book?
Creating a Plot for Your Book

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