As an editor for a small press, an area I find writers overlook is not being true to their characters.
I feel a character should speak to you, they should dictate what happens and how it happens. Have you ever written yourself into a corner and couldn’t understand why the story isn’t moving forward?
Often this could be you taking the character where it doesn’t want to go. Read back a few chapters and analyse where the change happened.
If you force a character to behave in a way that is not true to them, the reader will notice it and wonder why. Don’t give the reader pause for thought in a negative way at any time.
Your goal as a writer is to sweep the reader into your character’s world – their world, not yours.
To add to this subject — be true to your period, especially if writing historical fiction.
Historical writers must know their era well. A reader can tell when the author has done her research or when the author has fudged along the lines. You don’t have to bog down your novel with details – you aren’t writing a textbook! Information dumps aren’t interesting. Instead, you need to sprinkle all the little facts you know about those times throughout the story. Sometimes, all it can take is an extra word.
historical & contemporary author
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