The Road to the Best Sellers List
If you are new to writing and dream of writing a best selling book, this is a great time to achieve that dream. With eBook sales on the rise and self publishers everywhere you turn around, you no longer have to spend half your life writing a single novel only to be rejected by a publisher who declines your book for publication before even bothering to read it.
These are exciting times for new writers, and with a few basic instructions you are on your way to writing interesting novels and becoming a best selling Author.
There are many different writing styles and techniques, however, in this hub I will be presenting some "fool proof" ways of developing a successful novel. Many truly great and experienced writers can break the rules I am presenting here because they are masters of their craft. If you are a beginner who chooses to ignore these tips; don't say I didn't warn you.
Tip number 1: The best way to write a best selling book is to create characters or emotions that people can relate to. Novels that have survived the test of time are the one's that people find their own hearts in. This can be achieved by writing about an authentic part of yourself.
The plot is the highway and the characters are the cars.
At least that is one way of looking at it.
Deciding what a plot really is may help you greatly on your writing. The plot is very important and you must first understand the difference between a situation and a complication before outlining your draft.
Tip Number 2- Having your story work into a complication is guaranteed to result in a more interesting story and result in better book sales. But remember; just because something bad happens, that does not make it a complication. A good complication puts emotional pressure on a character. It will illuminate what the character desires and prompt him to act on it. A situation is just something that happens and does not cause the character to do anything outside what is normal.
Complication vs. Situation
Example: "On my way to to school I witnessed an accident. Everyone was startled and looking at the heap of cars and screaming people, but no one could decide what to do. With a crowd of confused people screaming in the street, and three cars overturned, and a dog barking, the engine suddenly caught fire". Okay, This is quite a mess. And with all this action going on it is easy to lead one to automatically say that this is one heck of a complication, however, it is not really a complication at all. This is just a situation. Remember the rule. Does it cause the character to do anything outside of the ordinary?
Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between a complication and a situation, but a complication must provide or thwart what the character wants. A good complication puts emotional stress on a character, prompting that character not only to act, but to act with purpose. If the circumstance does none of these things, it's not a complication at all, it's a situation. These situations can be interesting, but the character has no compelling motivation to act any differently from anyone else in the same circumstances. We learn noting about him that we don't already know.
To truly draw the reader in, there needs to be a complication. Think of the Alfred Hitchcock movie, Dial M For Murder, or its remake, A Perfect Murder. There are all kinds of unusual situations that provoke one's passion, lust, greed, fear, and jealousy. Not only are these emotions interesting and powerful, but we have all wrestled with them in our lifetimes. These very emotions are often the meat of life, that cause people to behave in a certain way, and even to drive us to ruin. Hitchcock was a master of complications.
Be Influenced, but don't copy
Tip Number 3 - Avoid copying others writing.
Margaret Mitchell wrote the best seller of all time, Gone With The Wind. There have been numerous copy cats. The book was a classic and the writing was Margeret Mitchell. If I were writing a civil war era Sothern romance, I would do subtle things, perhaps, to put readers in the same romantic mood as Gone With The Wind, but would be very careful not to use the same type of dialogue. It would be an insult to the readers intelligence.
For example, I wandered the used bookstore several years ago, and found a book with a Scarlet O Hara - looking heroine on the cover, with a title something like, "Savannah of the South." Out of curiosity I decided to read it. This book did not have me for long; I read a few pages and gave up because It completely copied GWTW, with dilogue such as "Savannah was moody and her Mammy helped her adjust her stays." I completely lost respect for the writer and anything that she had to offer because the word "stays" was a word Margaret Mitchel used in GWTW, and the classic scene of Scarlet with her Mammy pulling her corset is one of the most memorable. She should never have used a word so obviously GWTW, and the knock off would not have been so blatantly obvious.
I got the impression that this writer knew noting about history, the old South, and also had no imagination of her own. I had no interest in reading some superficial copy of a great book. This was my impression after approximately ten pages.
It can be quite an interesting challenge to write a story with a super hero. To build an ultimate fantasy character, either human or supernatural. A tough guy who men admire and women are attracted to. The ultimate "person" is very attractive to many writers, but beware. If everything is perfect, it can easily become sterile and lacking in humanity. If your main character is perfect, it is wise to come up with a variety of imperfect, and "real" characters who readers can relate to.
Tip Number 4 - In general it is best to find something human, good or bad, that people can relate to in your main character. This is what keeps people reading. If your character is an above average, courageous, principled, and unstoppable good deed doer, you may think that your story is going well, and your readers will automatically like the character and be rooting for him.
Reality check- Perfect Hero's and Heroines are unrealistic. Readers will not strongly bond with such characters. To connect, they need to feel realism in your characters. Think Jan Brady, not Marcia.
Find a failing that is human, a universal frusteration, a humbling setback, or any experience that everyone has had.
Exhibit basic human nature, and add this early in your book. Create a situation in which your exceptional protagonist is in over his head, feels unprepared, or is just simply lost.
Let The Juices Flow
Tip Number 5 - When you write the first draft of a scene, let the dialogue flow. Pour it out like cheap champagne. You will add the detail, charm, charisma, and or sarcasm later, but first you must get it down on paper, or type it out on your computer. This technique will allow you to come up with lines you never would have thought of if you tried to get it right the first time. If you sit there with a pen and paper trying to come up with clever dialogue you will sit there with an empty sheet of paper all day. It is always easier to come up with perfection, when the rough draft is laid out in front of you.
In Fact, you can often come up with a dynamic scene by writing the dialogue first. Record what your characters are discussing, or fighting over. Write it all out fast as you can. As you do, pay no attention to attributions (who said what). Just write the lines. Once you get these on the page, you will have a good idea what the scene is all about. And it may be something different than you anticipated. It very often is.
To cure writers fatigue; I do my best writing in the evening, but if I go out and have a glass of wine with dinner, I can not count on omyself to meet my daily quota. I don't often just let myself off the hook, I just jot down my ideas. No matter how sloppy the writing is, and no matter how disjointed it becomes. I just sort out the dialogue at a later time. I find that this method is the best way to write a book as quickly as possible without burning out.
With the juices pumping, I have often written more than my quota. And even if I don't use all the dialogue I write, It is great practice, and I have seen a marked improvement in my writing ability simply by writing a lot.
With all the dialogue you accumulate,be sure to make it relevant to character development or the story. Avoid a back and fourth exchange that are pointless.
Publicity. Authors can Benefit from Publicity
Once you have your unique and powerful content, people have to know that your book even exists. There are several ways of doing this and one of the best is to get other bloggers to write about you and your book. You can achieve this by asking some bloggers to interview you, or by trading with them-you add a paragraph about them on your blog and they add something about you, or simply comment on a post from the blogger and link to your website in the comment.
Also, use blogs to sell books. Powells.com increased daily visitors from 55,000 to 70,000 as a result of its blogs and bookcasts. Currently Powells has largest and most active book sales site of all independent bookstores.
Skarlet (author) from California on July 16, 2012:
Thank you fpherj48,
I think dreams were meant to come true:)
Suzie from Carson City on July 16, 2012:
Skarlet great ideas and wonderful advice.....I think every single hubber would love to be a best-selling author.....well, I would guess so, anyway. We're all doing this for the sheer love of writing.
It would be beyond all dreams to be a best-selling author....but all dreams have the potential to come true, right? UP++
Skarlet (author) from California on July 15, 2012:
@ ellebyam- Thank you for the comment. I hope you sell a lot of books:)
@teaches- Yes the main character is so important, and can be very time consuming.
Nice to see you here...:)
Dianna Mendez on July 14, 2012:
Thanks for sharing this information. The challenges of finding a good main character are what has always cost me time in forming stories. Good advice.
ellebyam from North and South Poles on July 14, 2012:
This is a very inspiring hub. Thank you very much for sharing.