ruk·si

📝 Writing
Novels

Updated at 2015-07-26 01:28

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.

Novel Types

  • 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.

Short Fiction

                      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.

Stay 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 to be-verbs.

Avoid passive voice.

// bad
Axe was slammed against the table.

// good
Axe slammed against the table.

Services

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