Someone said that creating a good book is ten percent writing and ninety-percent editing. These statistics may or may not be true. While I try to write my first draft as fast as I can to let the story flow, I certainly spend a lot of time polishing my manuscripts before sending them to an editor. Let me pass on to you the ten commandments I learned from editors, successful authors, mentors or workshop instructors:
1-Hook your reader with your best first sentence, first paragraph, first page. (Mary Buckham)
2-Leave your reader in suspense with a grabbing hook at the end of each scene and each chapter. ( Mary Buckham again)
3-Avoid introspection in the first three chapters or first fifty pages. (Donald Maass)
4-Stay in the present. I still hear the late and wonderful Kate Duffy repeating: “Stay in the present. Don’t tell me the back story of your characters. Let us discover it through their actions as the story develops.”
|BABIES IN THE BARGAIN|
5-Show, don’t tell. A reviewer made my day when he posted a review of my sweet and spicy, medical romance, BABIES IN THE BARGAIN, on Harlequin website. He wrote: “Babies in the Bargain” could serve as an object lesson on how to ‘show’ and not ‘tell’ a story. You always know exactly what the characters are feeling, indeed, for the most part you 'feel' along with them. It’s a great read.
6-Change setting when you change scenes to avoid boring the reader. Change POV to better show the emotion.
7-Pepper your dialogue with emotion.
8-Add sensorial details that make us feel, see, hear, smell with the hero and heroine.
9-Show the emotional development. (From an editor at Mills& Boon) You should see a definite increase of attraction from scene to scene until the love scene fall in place.
10-Raise the stakes. (Donald Mass)
- Here is an extra and most important commandment: Create lovable characters. If your characters are weak or do
not appeal to the reader, the reader will not connect with them and the best
plot will fall apart. I received a very nice praise from NY bestselling author
Roxanne St. Claire that I used on my bookmarks: “Mona Risk writes heroes with
heart, heroines with spunk, in stories and settings that are simply
unforgettable.” I am sure this praise can apply to many of you authors with
And here are famous quotes by famous writers:
All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary - it's just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences~~Somerset Maugham.
The secret of becoming a writer is to write, write and keep on writing~~
We do not write because we want to; we write because we have to~~
The greatest rules of dramatic writing are conflict, conflict and conflict~~
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