Posts Tagged 'writing'

How do you make a story more exciting and addictive?


Hmm, it’s hard to narrow this down to a comprehensive list, but it is worth knowing that these two qualities in a story come from the editing, and might not be present – or even very obvious – in a first draft. So make sure you have something to work with before you start worrying too much about it.

Otherwise, here are some tips to help with your question: how to make a story more exciting and addictive!


The key to pacing is all in the reveal of what you want the reader to see, know, and feel in that precise moment.

If you feel like your story is ‘boring’, consider how you are pacing the action. Do you spend ages in the beginning, building up to the inciting incident? Do you interrupt action scenes to slow down and describe setting or character detail too frequently?

It’s all about balance – make sure you keep things moving at a good rhythm.

Get the Reader to Relate

The reason some books do better than others is because they adhere to a trend, or explore issues that currently affect their contemporary readers. Think about what kind of books are out right now in their respective genres, or even just think about your favourite books, and what it is about them that you love so much.

Readers love being able to relate to characters and themes in the literature they pick up. Consider the kind of themes and messages that are in your story, and whether or not they may connect with your intended audience.

Write Clearly

Show, don’t tell, but also give the reader what they want – don’t hide it under flowery prose and long, waffling descriptions. Whilst we often don’t give readers enough credit when it comes to their ability to follow a story and its subtext, you don’t want to make them work too hard to find enjoyment in your work. Reading is often a relaxing, fun use of time, not an arduous treasure hunt. The more accessible your story is to the everyday reader, the more likely they will be gripped by its contents.

Create Compelling Characters

It’s hard in this day and age to write a completely original character free of literary tropes, but that doesn’t mean you should rely too heavily on the archetypes that have become ingrained in modern media.

Writing a relatable, interesting, and diverse cast will inspire the reader to stick with your book like nothing else.

Create an Immersive Reading Experience

Good description, well-thought-out world building, and a decent plot are the main ingredients for this. Try to write a story that has the reader feeling as though they could be in it themselves. Some of the best books around feature worlds that allow the reader to imagine where they might fit into it. Greats such as Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and Lord of the Rings, all have environments with depth, and the potential for the reader to imagine something more for it.

Reading best sellers is a great way to understand what kind of book appeals to more than just one type of reader too. Even if you are writing in a more everyday setting (see books like Me Before You), you can still create this experience with my last item on this list:

Evoke Emotion

Books that grip the reader tend to instill emotion into them, whether that is amusement/laughter, or bittersweet sadness. Any book that appeals to a reader’s emotions immerses them into the story, provoking empathy and a real investment into the story that pays off for the writer.

And that’s about all I can think of for now, Anon. I hope this helps…!


There’s a rule of writing: if everything is funny, nothing is funny; if everything is sad, nothing is sad. You want that contrast.

J. Michael Straczynski
(via writingdotcoffee)

Fic Starter Friday


☆ Twisted:
This is for the special shippers out there who don’t always get noticed. Both Bethany and Carver are still Hawkes, which, if paired with Fenris, still makes FenHawke. For those who ship either sibling with Fenris instead, give us a taste of your pairing. Whether it’s fluff angst or smut.

☆ Grey:
For the shippers mentioned above who turned the surviving sibling into a Warden, and those who headcanon with Hawke as their Warden or any other situation in which Hawke becomes a Warden…. This one’s for you. Time’s up. The call is in full swing. What does Fenris do? How does he react?

☆ Explicit:
What gets Fenris and Hawke excited in your pairing? What gets them in the mood? Enjoy, and don’t forget to properly label it as NSFW if it gets too good.

☆ Softly:
Fenris is going through memory problems because of the lyrium. It’s up to Hawke to reach out to him, and rehabilitate his ability to remember who he is, who his friends are, and all the important things.

☆ Awkward silence:
This goes to you awesome AU writers. Both Fenris and Hawke are in college. Fenris is a seeming delinquent with a broken home. While Hawke is a charming, but, rather shy or sarcastic artist/writer/nerd (whichever you like) just trying to make ends meet and take care of their mother and sibling. Fenris and Hawke paired up for a project. Cue the action.

Writing is underway!

…and thanks to my three prompters for this round of the committee prompt game, it shall include the baking of bread, a suspicious pool of water, and a litter of kittens! So far we’ve just got to the kittens point though, so here is a tiny preview wherein not even Hawke can probably tell which of her children is speaking which line as they talk over each other so fast in their eagerness to beg for a kitten.

There were four of them, mostly grey, one the color of the ripe peaches on Papa’s favorite tree. The mother cat, white with grey patches, purring as her brood kneaded greedily at their dinner, cast a shrewd yellow eye at the children as they approached. Her tail twitched, but when they kept a fair distance, she seemed to relax, shifting to give the kittens more space in the crate.

“There you are,” came Mum’s voice as she caught up with them. “Oh!” She noticed the feline family holding their attention. “Hello again, Jasmine,” she greeted the mother cat, bending to pat its head – a gesture which met with the cat’s approval; she thrust her head to meet Mum’s hand, purring louder.

“How do you know her name, Mum?” Mal asked, inching closer to run a finger down one tiny grey back while Mum had the mother cat’s attention.

“Oh, Merrill named this one years ago,” Mum answered, scratching behind the cat’s ears. “I’m surprised she’s still around. Cats in Darktown…”

“She likes you,” Mara giggled, following Mal’s lead and poking carefully at the orange kitten.

“She should!” Mum grinned. “Most of the cream Anders used to put out for her came from my kitchen, after all.” And then Mum suddenly looked sadder than anyone so near to a purring cat ought to look, and stood, brushing her hands over her knees. “All right, we’d best be getting home now.”

“But Mum!”

“Can’t we –”

“Why don’t we have a cat, Mum?”

“Oooh, can we have a cat, Mum?”

“Yes! Can we take a kitten home?”

“Can I take the orange one?”

“Let’s name it Peach!”

A Writing Game: Prompt by Committee


Let’s play a prompt game! I like to call it “Prompt By

Here’s how it works:

  1. To play, message me with ONE thing you want me
    to include in a story.
  2. It could be an object…a specific character, be
    it NPC or OC… a place…just about anything.
  3. For example, the last time I played this, when writing
    LOTRO fanfic
    , I got suggestions such as “a haunted mirror,” “Barliman
    Butterbur,” and “Dragons!”
  4. Maybe you want to suggest something that you
    would just love to see a story about—or maybe your suggestion is as silly as “a
    mean-spirited slug” with the goal of making the story more interesting as I
    have to work to fit it in. 🙂
  5. For every three
    words I get from three different people, I’ll write a short fic that has to
    include all three of those elements.

That’s it! I look forward to seeing your suggestions…and figuring out how to make them fit together!

Working on the first committee fic with the first three prompts now thanks to @barbex and @servantofclio and @quinnlocke

And the more I ponder and brainstorm and plot out how to make those three fit together, the more this thing evolves from the expected short fic into what might be an intro to a post-Trespasser longfic I had been wanting to write and yet had no real plot for…

So um. Guess it might be time to do something about that longfic plot, huh?

(Also this is a reminder that I’m still doing this prompt game and you’re welcome to send me an ask or reply to this post with an element to include in another such fic! Multiple asks from the same person are welcome too; I won’t use more than one from the same person in one fic but will gladly put your extra asks towards another fic. 😀 Who knows, maybe the next committee fic will ALSO fit into this mysterious longfic of mine…hehe!)

Writing Tip June 22nd


9 Simple and Powerful Ways to Write Body Language

Dialogue is a great tool to establish relationships between your characters and deepen emotional connection to your readers. But if you rely on dialogue alone to show how your characters interact, you’re missing a big opportunity. In real life, nonverbal cues—body language—account for more than 90% of our communication. Including body language in your writing gives your characters more depth and provides a relatable, interactive experience for your readers.

That’s easy enough to see in real-world interactions or on the stage or screen, but how can you write it into your story?

How to use body language effectively in your writing

There are so many components to body language, and many writers only ever use a few. To create believable and engaging characters, it’s important to look at all the ways to communicate body language in your writing.

1. Gestures

Most of my clients don’t know this because we primarily work over email and telephone, but I talk with my hands. Big time. Some of your characters probably do too. Sure, not everyone uses finger guns (even though they should). But virtually everyone shakes hands, points, or waves.

One word of caution: be aware that your book will likely be read around the world, and some gestures have different cultural connotations. One common example is the two-fingered V. Other than being super popular now in selfies, it has also meant victory, peace, or an insult. If you use it, make it clear how it’s being used.

2. Facial expression

Again, some of us have very expressive faces, and others are harder to read. But facial expressions are an important part of body language because they are pretty much universal. Even people who curb their reactions still have tiny involuntary changes called microexpressions. Our brains pick up on these and decipher them, even when we aren’t aware that they’re happening. How cool is that?!

3. Tone of voice and cadence

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “It’s not what you say; it’s how you say it.” For example, my kids know I’m close to losing my patience when I slow my speech and lower the pitch of my voice. That’s their cue to get in line or risk Mom’s wrath. Your characters’ speech will sound different to each other, depending on what emotion they are feeling. How does your protagonist sound when she’s excited? Guilty? Apathetic?

4. Touch

Some gestures relate to touch, but I included it as a separate category because it’s all about how the characters interact. Touch conveys so much in just a fleeting moment. Think about all the emotions expressed by physical contact—running a hand through a child’s hair, laying a head on a friend’s shoulder, punching someone in the face!

5. Posture

Posture is how we hold our bodies while we stand and sit, but it’s more than just being able to balance a book on your head. The way a character carries himself as he goes about his life says a lot about him. Does he stand tall or slouch? Does he sit back with his legs crossed or lean forward? How does your character hold his head, shoulders, arms, and legs—and what does that tell your readers about him?

6. Proxemics (personal space)

This aspect of body language makes me think of that old Seinfeld episode about the close talker, a man who doesn’t understand the idea of personal space. Most people respect that people want 18 inches or so between themselves and others. To be inside that space usually means either intimacy (if wanted) or threat (if unwanted). Again, there are cultural differences here, so be aware of that when you write.

7. Physical appearance

Our cleanliness, hairstyles, clothes, accessories, and other decisions about personal appearance tell others plenty about us. In fact, our first impressions of people often come from these choices. Show more about your characters by showing these aspects of them as well. Maybe she only likes to wear skirts or always wears a cross necklace. Maybe she has giant, unruly curly hair. Maybe she was just born that way, and it doesn’t mean anything about her, OK???

8. Actions

Sometimes a character’s actions are a kind of body language. How and when he acts in certain ways can be meaningful (it isn’t always). Running instead of walking, slamming doors, taking a drink to fill a loaded silence, jumping in a car and driving away…these are all actions that carry emotion.

9. Physical sensations

Especially effective when writing in deep POV, these are the involuntary responses a character’s body will have to a certain stimulus. It might mean prickling skin, sweating, blushing, fast pulse, dry mouth…you get the idea. These are physiological responses we all share, so it engages readers’ senses and memories. It’s easy, though, to end up with a bunch of sweaty people with goosebumps who are practically having heart attacks. So be careful not to overdo it or go into clichés or purple prose.

A few other tips

Use it to strengthen dialogue

Body language reinforces the emotional connotation of the words, breaks up large amounts of dialogue, and provides a better alternative to dialogue tags.

Make the connection

Make sure you’re clearly connecting the chain of emotions, thoughts, motivations, actions, and reactions. Don’t hit your reader over the head with it, but don’t leave it ambiguous either.

Use multiple kinds of body language

Don’t rely on one nonverbal cue to communicate everything. Write them in little groupings and sprinkle them throughout the story.

Sometimes it’s about what they don’t do

Some characters are carefully blank, schooling their expressions and controlling their actions. What a person doesn’t do can say as much about them as what they do.


Make sure you include intentional actions as well as unconscious reactions to go even deeper.

Body language habits = personality quirks

Use your characters favorite body language as a personality quirk. Be careful not to repeat it too much, though, or you may bore your readers.

-Jeni Chappelle

Blogger Gatherings!

Click the button for reports from the 2010 Spring Blogger Gathering, hosted by Linett of Nimrodel!

Berethron of Brandywine hosted the 2010 Summer Blogmoot.

The Winter Blogmoot was held on December 4, 9 p.m. EST at the home of Telwen of Silverlode.

Next up: The Spring Blogmoot of 2011 shall return to Nimrodel with Tuiliel (Whart, aka user-1027520) hosting! Linett is looking forward to another local moot!



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