I promised you something pre-written to entertain you during my absence. Probably you were expecting it sooner in the week, but better late than never as habitually late people often say. I ran across a list from 2013 headed ‘my personal ten commandments of writing’ which I assume I wrote in response to an exercise in a book I’d borrowed from the library (happens a lot) and it may be of interest, and largely still applies.
- Characters with some aspect I can relate to, be it the love of a cat, or a background like mine.
- Nuanced characters, neither all bad nor all good.
- Realistic dialogue.
- Pacing such that it doesn’t feel like you’ve been reading a different book for a while, because you’re off on a sub-plot.
- Prose that’s not difficult to read, language that’s suited to the topic and the point of view character.
- Events not too predictable, or if predictable then characters real enough so we care how it affects them/how they handle it.
- A setting that matters, not just incidental.
- No longer than it needs to be – don’t try and force a novella to be a novel.
- Always throw a touch of humour into the dark moments.
- Don’t force humour.
I would guess this applies nearly as much to books I read as to stories I write. Anyone got any others (or comments on mine)?