By DiAnn Mills, author of Fatal Strike
The power of a thrilling story has entertained readers for hundreds of years. If we venture to say thousands of years, we envision people gathered around a crackling fire listening and imagining themselves as heroes.
The novel is crucial to a culture’s survival. For through story, history is kept alive. Those in the
present learn from the past and forge ahead into the future. Dreams and tales of wonder propel us to achieve the extraordinary.
So, what does a storyteller need today? The following are three valuable novel writing tips.
A true hero takes risks.
Heroes are launched into action with a goal or a problem to solve. The call is inevitable. They plan how to achieve success and realize challenges and struggles are detours, and not roadblocks. Doubts are prevalent, and weaknesses must be strengthened, but the prize is worth any sacrifice.
Choices play a critical role in moving forward. Sometimes three steps ahead mean four steps back. Staying strong is mandatory because defeat is not in the equation.
Combining the goal with choices involves taking risks. Not foolish ones but an exposure to danger. Heroes accept unpredictability, uncertainty, hazard conditions, and a gamble on losing a life or something of extreme value is part of the process.
For some heroes, taking risks is etched in their DNA.
For other heroes, taking risks is accepted because the goal means more than life itself.
For all heroes, courage is a matter of the heart.
Characters must face the consequences for their actions.
Our parents and caregivers instilled that we must face the consequences for our actions. No one receives a pass on this one.
Positive actions, good deeds, and sincere motivation are desirable to real people, but in a story, readers tend to gag at Mr. or Ms. Perfect. Not only are the goody characters boring and predictable, but they also have no reason to cast aside bad habits and misbehave.
A dimpled grin may lead characters to believe they got away with inappropriate behavior, but sooner or later the past catches up with them. Charming and manipulative characters are three-dimensional, and readers love them.
People are muddy.
Clear, pure water is our preference. But without safeguards, stuff happens. Dirt, sand, and debris invade the water, changing the looks and composition. The water is not appealing, and we search for ways to make it pure again.
Characters/people become muddy because of what they have allowed to enter their lives. Bad habits and selfish tendencies do not necessarily happen overnight but are instead a product of poor decisions.
News flash. We are all muddy. We have psychological baggage, life experiences, and constant battles that make or break us. If we learn from life’s conflicts, then we change and grow into better people. If we choose bitterness and revenge, we become antagonists.
Readers demand messy complications in their stories. Will the character survive or fail? How far will your character venture to take risks, accept the consequences, and realize they are wallowing in mud?
DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She weaves memorable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. DiAnn believes every breath of life is someone’s story, so why not capture those moments and create a thrilling adventure? Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is the director of The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, Mountainside Marketing Conference, and the Mountainside Novelist Retreat with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas. DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on: Facebook, Twitter, or any of the social media platforms listed at diannmills.com