“…a good way to build your world is to write short stories that feature some of your characters. ‘Do this with the intention of excluding [these stories] from your book,’ she says. ‘This gives you freedom to create a new universe with no boundaries.'”
For more writing tips on writing the fantasy genre, visit here.
On May 25, 2018 there are some major changes coming through the pipelines under a new law called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It’s being implemented to protect your constituents (aka readers, fans, i.e. bookish friends you have any type of data on) in the European Union (EU). Now before you mentally go shutting down and closing your browser thinking this doesn’t pertain to you because you don’t live in Europe or because you’re not a “marquee author” or “big blogger” … there is a damn good chance it does. So grab your coffee and listen up!
We live in a digital world where data privacy is of the utmost importance, so I predict this will be the first in a long line of countries creating new, protective laws for their citizens. So adapt early to cover yourself!
Let’s dive in and start at the very beginning, shall we?
“You’ve managed to squeeze more lofty words into three shorts poems than most poets manage in a lifetime: ‘Fatherland,’ ‘truth,’ ‘freedom,’ ‘justice’: such words don’t come cheap. Real blood flows in them, which can’t be counterfeited with ink.”
With every great story, comes a tragic end. Whether it ends in a light-hearted manner or if a sacrifice occurs, the curtain must close on the final act. If the reader sticks with you long enough to reach the end, then you better make it worth their while! There are one too many occasions where authors conclude their novels and readers feel unsatisfied.
Here are several things to keep in mind when wrapping up your story. These things will help you feel more secure in the way your story is being told and that you are setting the reader up for a satisfying ending- that they will either thank you or hate you for later on.
Make your hero rise to their full potential. They can’t just sit around and not do anything about the issue at hand. Let them step up and take the lead.
Your main squeeze should have grown or overcame their internal issues. Prior to the finale, the character should have faced that demon one last time. That moment should show they overcame their problem in some way, shape, or form.
With this new and improved hero, now the reader can feel the triumphant end underway. It’s either going to be positive or negative (either crush the reader or fill their heart with happiness).
Don’t introduce new characters or subplots; things should have been foreshadowed prior to the finish of the novel.
Maximize action and conflict but keep the description to a minimum.
Create the “aw” sensation in your reader. This leads to the high emotional involvement of your reader.
Resolve the center conflict.
Show how your main character has redeemed themselves by doing the right thing.
Tie-up the loose ends, and tie-back some “final words” to the opening of your novel.
Don’t change the voice, tone, or attitude of your novel. Keep the consistency.
No twists or trick endings! Don’t make your reader hate you or your writing style!
Now, looking back at the writing you’ve already done, you can begin to mold the ideal ending for your book. Tie up the loose ends and close the curtains!
Building your characters is crucial to storytelling. If your character isn’t growing, it’s likely that your plot isn’t thickening in way in needs to either.
One of the most important characters in your story is your protagonist’s sidekick. No matter the genre you are planning to write, a sidekick serves greater importance than people realize. When your main character is missing something, their sidekick could fill in the blank. They can also often add drama to the plot. To make your story even stronger, creating a sidekick with depth can build a bond between the reader and character.
But a sidekick can’t just stand there to fill in extra space on your page. They need to have growth almost as much as your main character. They need the emotional growth, to have their own motivations pertaining to the story- to have a moment to shine.
It’s often a good idea to make these two characters have a conversation to set up their backstory that would otherwise be a word dump elsewhere or an internal monologue that would drive the reader to close your book (and force you to cringe). Your main character shouldn’t be good at everything, therefore their sidekick can fill in what they lack.
Beware of making your sidekick too sidekick-y. Some tropes which can turn a reader off for good, and some traits that are overused are:
More trouble than their worth.
Too naïve or too worldly.
Aren’t their own person (no personal interests, lives outside of the main character’s or the plot sequence, or have no personal reasons for sticking with the main character).
The overbearing always-enthusiastic apprentice, or the ward and the cool character who becomes a mentor.
They’re mini-me’s of the main character – as if one wasn’t enough.
The one who makes no sense in being where they are in the story.
Clash heavily with the rest of the work.
Get away with things typically others would get punished for.
Being involved with subplots that serve the plot no purpose.
Those who are exempted from character development (which shouldn’t exist!)
Create a kick-butt sidekick so your main character doesn’t have to run around and wreck havoc alone!