Welcome back folks. I've rectified my technical difficulties and am ready to get on with my blog. Good to have you back!
I'm going to list for you the 5 crucial aspects for writing a novel or story or whatever, that I've found to be invaluable in helping me put pen to paper. These are listed in no particular order, but all share an equal percentage of importance within the bigger picture.
Sorry people, I know it sounds cliché, but you've gotta have one; a good one. This is basically translated to a "good story". You may be the best, most gifted writer in the world, with the deepest vocabulary and perfect spelling and grammar, but if your story bites, there's not much you can do about it. On the other hand, someone with weaker language arts skills, but has a great story and knows how to tell it, well there isn't anything that they can't do with a little help (editor) and persistence.
Perhaps even more crucial to a successful story, is a strong protagonist. In the end, I suppose that all of the supporting characters also should be fairly engrossing, but your main guy or gal needs to be really memorable. They are what drives the plot. You want the readers to root for and sympathize with and relate to and be concerned for the protagonist. A weak and forgettable hero makes for a weak and forgettable story.
This doesn't solely mean fists fights and being tied up in the middle of a railroad track or trying to defuse a bomb. This can be any type of situation where the hero needs to resolve or figure something out. Every chapter should have some sort of conflict eventually leading up to the main climax of the story. It's important to put the hero into situations where the reader needs to know what is going to happen next. From an argument, to saving the world from certain annihilation, to losing a wallet, to trying desperately to flatten the tuft of hair that just won't behave. These are all good and all necessary in developing plot and character.
#4: Setting/ Environment
You want the reader to really believe that your fictitious locale might actually exist. It might even be set in an actual place. Make the reader feel like they're there. But it can't be too over that top. It needs to be believable. It needs to play within the boundaries of the story. Rich, detailed descriptions come into play here. Remember to keep it relevant and to the point. Even an ordinary, everyday street corner can be made into an eventful milieu.
#5: Writing Tense
Here's one I bet you didn't think of. This can be very important to writing a clear, flowing story. I found this out the hard way while writing my current story. I just couldn't get the ideas out right. Everything seemed to be forced and too deliberate. I soon found out that my story should be told from the first person perspective, giving it a more personal feel. I found that I was much more relaxed while writing in the first person to begin with, so I stuck with it.
The type of story you come up with will help push you in the right direction regarding what tense to write in. Some stories are better told from the more personal first person perspective, while others are better told from the more detailed and omnipresent third person perspective. What you ultimately need to remember is to write in the tense that makes you feel the most comfortable. If it just feels right, then stick with it. Only you can answer that feeling, so don't have anyone tell you which way you should write. Remember, there is no set-in-stone template for writing a good story after all, just mine perhaps.
Until we blog again....