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4 Writing Lessons from a Novel Contest Judge

quotidianwriter.medium.com

Overview: 4 Lessons

  1. The most difficult writing problem to fix is narrative flow
  2. Opening with an action-heavy scene won’t have an impact unless the reader cares about the characters
  3. A single difference in a sea of sameness can elevate a novel
  4. Writers must recognize their own potential

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Writers must recognize their own potential

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A single difference in a sea of sameness can elevate a novel

  • I can’t understate the importance of having an exciting feature that becomes the essence of the work
  • It’s better to write a memorable-yet-flawed book rather than one that’s polished but resembles a hundred other stories.

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Opening with an action-heavy scene won’t have an impact unless the reader cares about the characters

  • Readers are often attracted to contradictions, like a character who’s a kindergarten teacher shoplifting from a candy store
  • Try showing something personal about the character that only the reader gets to see
  • Open with a situation where the protagonist is pit...

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The most difficult writing problem to fix is narrative flow

  • The writer should be confident about what they’re putting on the page and try to evoke a unique idea
  • The writer needed to develop a sense of pacing and voice on a sentence level
  • Engagement is about creating that liminal zone between reader comfort and uncertainty

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