Writing - Novels
Always count words, not pages. Pages change as the formatting changes.
Decide your focus. Writing short stories is a lot different from writing novels. Decide which one type you want to become expert in.
- Middle Grade:
- Max 55k words.
- Break it only if you have very pressing reason.
- Usually whimsical stories or Hero's Journey.
- Told from the third person and only one point of view.
- "Adults are useless" is a common theme.
- Parents buy these books for the kids.
- Young Adults:
- Max 75k words.
- Aimed for people that want to read books that are edgy and rebellious.
- Young adults buy them for themselves.
- Epic Fantasy:
- Between 120k and 150k words, slow pace.
- Example: Lord of the Rings.
- Has a large cast.
- World building focus where the world is at stake.
- stand-alone with sequel potential, don't stop in the middle.
- Heroic Fantasy:
- Between 80k and 100k words, medium pace.
- Example: Conan the Barbarian.
- Has a small cast.
- Dudes with swords.
- Lots of action.
- Urban Fantasy:
- Max 70k words, fast pace.
- chicks in leather
- Our world with a dark underworld.
- Hard Sci-fi:
- Between 60k and 200k, slow pace.
- Written by PhDs.
- Military Sci-fi:
- Between 80k and 100k, medium pace.
- Space marines.
- Realistic approach.
- You must specify what kind of guns are people using.
- Space Opera:
- Between 80k and 100k, fast pace.
- Example: Battlestar Galactica.
- Adventures in space.
- If your science and guns are not specific, it's a space opera.
words Flash Fiction: < 1k Short story: 1k - 7,5k <- a lot places to sell Novelette: 7,5k - 17,5k <- some places to sell Novella: 17,5k - 30k <- only a few places to sell Novel: > 30k <- a lot of places to sell -> Look for short fiction markets. duotrope.com <- Good ralan.com <- Niche stuff, some weird
Novel Writing Style
Three-person-rule. Attribution is required for each sentence when there are more than three people in the conversation or scene.
Place attribution as early as comfortably possible.
// bad "~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~", ~~~~~ // good "~~~", ~~~ "~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~"
Think dialog in beats. Beat contains action and some dialog by one person. Each beat should be in its paragraph. Don't divide dialog and actions.
Don't include an action in every beat. Becomes hard to follow fast.
said-focused. Every time you use any other word for attribution than "said", it will draw attention away from the dialog. Attribution verbs should be as neutral as possible.
80% => John said => John asked 20% => John grunted => John screamed Never => John replied John said to his glass.
Avoid using the same word too frequently. Be extra careful with unusual words.
// bad ~~~~~~~~~~~~slice ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~slice~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~slice~ // good ~~~~~~~~~~~~slice ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~jab~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~swing~
Avoid adverbs and adjectives. Use strong verbs and nouns.
Avoid passive voice.
// bad Axe was slammed against the table. // good Axe slammed against the table.
Buy the following as services. Don't waste your time on these.
Cover -> get professional help Copy Editing -> they fix typos Layout Setup -> basic layout, mind the e-readers Upload -> easy, multiple services available