Here are some reflections after reading books that were interesting and others that could have been interesting if the writer had known how to tell the story.
- Read books of the kind that you would like to write. You can’t be a writer if you are not a reader.
- Research thoroughly. What was the weather like, what trees and plants grew there, what did people have in their homes, what did they eat, what did they wear, what kind of work did they do, what were common religious and political themes, etc., etc.,
- Don’t tell your readers everything you learned. You are doing the research to avoid describing things that do not fit the time and place you are writing about. Count on it that some alert reader will notice if you do. But if you dump a pile of information in front of a reader they are apt to stop reading.
- Stick to one main point of view character and tell everything through her eyes and ears. It can work to have one or two other point of view characters, but that is enough. These are the people you want the reader to care about.
- There will probably be other major characters. Let the reader learn about them through their actions and their words. If you jump from one character’s point of view to another’s and then to another, your reader’s head will start to spin and she will put the book down.
- Start in the middle of the action. Show the dilemma and conflict your main character is facing. Slowly fill in information about how he got there as the story unfolds.
- Write for the reader, not yourself.
- Write every day.