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You need an editor to make your writing shine, and the first red pen that touches your draft should be your own. Learn how to revise, and especially, learn how to delete. Read Strunk & White’s Elements of Style or some other book that shows you how to strip verbiage, and then apply what you’ve learned to your manuscript.
Have you tried writing a synopsis? Do you hate it? You’re not alone. The synopsis is probably the single most hated document for authors to write, but we do it because publishers and agents usually demand it.
Probably most of you remember all the big decisions you made, decisions that affected the course of your life.
When you develop your characters, you want them to be consistent so that readers can understand and perhaps identify with them. Your characters’ actions don’t have to be smart, but they must be done for a reason.
A famous author once said that every book should contain a love story. Now, that author might not have thought that the love story needed a sex scene, but many novelists writing in every genre do include sex scenes in their books. And there’s a problem with that.
Setting is a crucial part of any story. A while ago, I said it could be handled essentially as a character—for example, by using it to focus on the senses and build emotion. But you can also make your story placement meaningful, not just convenient. You want your setting to be more than a backdrop for events.
Many well-known writers have such distinctive writing styles that after reading a few paragraphs, you can identify a book’s author without seeing the cover. In fact, some writers have such distinctive voices that readers pick up their books solely because a particular name is on it,