Updated: Aug 31, 2021
Finding a good book is like finding an imaginary friend from a faraway land where the streets are made of gold and the houses made of skittles. It draws you in and makes you want to stay and never go back home.
Similarly, when readers pick up your book, they expect you to take them on a similar journey. Not one so unrealistic for an adult mind, but unrealistic and captivating enough to make them want to stay within the pages of your novel. After 12 years in the game, I have gathered these 5 tips that will help you take your writing from dull to alive. Let's dig in:
1. Be excited and interested in what you’re writing about because if you lack interest in your own story, it will show up in your writing. It helps if the topics you discuss in your novel, are issues you yourself are familiar with or have some sort of interest in, or that you have researched extensively. The positive in being excited about your story is that it makes the writing effortless and fun. Readers can tell how much thought and effort an author has put into their writing because it flows through the pages of any novel.
2. Don't forget the fascinating details, readers don't like to be left wondering where the rest of the story is. Suspense is great, but be careful about stringing readers along, they will quickly lose interest in the chase for answers.
3. Write in the active voice, because just as no one really cares much about passive-aggressive behavior, readers get lost in the passive voice. Don't make your readers work too hard to figure out what you mean when you say "Julie was driven to the mall by Destiny," when you can just as easily say, "Destiny drove Julie to the mall." Or, "the peanuts were then stored in the kitchen cabinet by Mrs. Wolf," when you can just as easily say, "Mrs. Wolf stored the peanuts in her kitchen cabinet."
4. Watch your words, and avoid using a thesaurus. Because words matter. The way words are used matters. And your readers deserve to kick their feet up and enjoy a good book instead of going back and forth researching the meaning of all the big words you've used when simpler words would have been easier.
5. Self-edit and proofread. I can't stress this point enough. If possible read and re-read and re-read your book over and over and have others do the same before sending your book out into the world. Simple errors can easily destroy an otherwise good book, don't let that be your book! If possible, invest in a good editor who can help you catch some of the errors untrained eyes might not see.