Archive for the ‘General fiction’ Category

re: Word Count Intimidation

posted 4/14/15

Dear Editor…

As I understand it, a young adult novel needs to have a word count of between 40,000 and 60,000 words. The thought of having to write that much paralyses me at word one. I don’t know how I’ll be able to write that much, how I’ll be able to stretch my story and whether I may be wasting my time. What should I do?

Sincerely,
JC

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re: Why Does My Action “Read Slow”?

posted 3/9/15

Dear Editor…

The feedback on my mystery manuscript was that it has lots of action but “reads slow.” The reader gave one bit of elaboration: “Some of the paragraphs ‘feel’ long even though they aren’t.” I’m not sure what to do with that. Suggestions?

Sincerely,
Confused

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re: How Can I Make Readers Cry?

posted 10/20/14

Dear Editor…

I cried when I wrote my romance manuscript. My beta readers aren’t crying. What am I doing wrong?

Sincerely,
Boo-Hoo

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re: Does Paragraph Length Matter?

posted 10/9/14

Dear Editor…

Do paragraphs have to be the same size?

Sincerely,
Adele

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re: How Come If I Stay’s Opening Works?

posted 9/22/14

Dear Readers…

Last week a writer—Diane—asked me why some current bestsellers that start with backstory or as the day is dawning can make those slower beginnings work so well? She specifically asked about The Fault in Our Stars and If I Stay. I posted my answer about The Fault in Our Stars last week. I think this is such a useful exploration of story beginnings that I’m taking up that same question today, this time parsing out If I Stay‘s opening.

The Editor

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re: Should Chapter Titles Be Banished?

posted 7/24/14

Dear Editor…

I recently heard that some editors don’t like chapter titles, saying they give things away. Should I not use chapter titles?

Sincerely,
Anonymous

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re: How to Balance High Action with Deep Characterization

posted 5/29/14

Dear Editor…

I’m writing a teen thriller, filled with lots of action. Beta readers say I’ve got the action but that the characters aren’t interacting enough. I don’t really know what they mean, since the protagonist and her protector are in every scene together. They talk all the time! Ideas? Can you recommend some books that do it right?

Thanks,
T. E. S.

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re: What To Do When Your Story Feels “Rushed”

posted 3/12/14

Dear Editor…

My readers are pretty unanimous in their love for my characters, but some say the story feels rushed. I don’t know what to do with this feedback. Any advice?

Thanks,
Anon.

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re: Is the Vietnam Era a Publishing Black Hole?

posted 2/22/13

Dear Editor…

I’m writing a MG novel set in 1965 in Midwest America. While the story is about a little girl who wants a dog, the background story touches upon her brother, and the neighbor’s son, both in Vietnam. We learn about the war through letters written by her brother. Recently, I was told that 1965 isn’t historical, and that the Vietnam war is a black hole in the publishing world. Well, then! Is my novel doomed even though the story isn’t non-fiction, and isn’t only about Vietnam?

Sincerely,
Rachel

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re: Help! Unromantic Me Can’t Write Romantic Scenes

posted 1/31/13

Dear Editor…

I’m trying to write a romantic scene for a YA novel that I’m writing but I’m the most unromantic person I’ve ever met. Do you have any advice as to how I can get over my unromanticness and write good romance scenes?

Sincerely,
Taylor

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