You’ve heard of paint by numbers? Today I’m throwing a little write by lyrics at you. If you’ve hung around here awhile you’ve discovered I have an endless tunnel of thoughts in this here noggin of mine. You humor me by reading some of them. And I thank you for it. Makes the tunnel a little less dark.
And now for the lyrics bit. I’m a music lover. I have hundreds of songs memorized. It’s hysterical to watch my children demonstrate my musical memorization habits.
Whoa oh oh, what’s music got to do with it…writing that is? Just another fun way to relay ideas. I’m certainly not an expert, but here is a list of some things I’ve learned about writing a novel:
- You Can’t Always Get What You Want—One of the number one must-haves in a book is conflict. You need a character that wants something but for one reason or another is unable to have that thing.
- Wake Up Little Suzie—Your story needs to move. You want your readers to stay awake while reading your book, not drift off in a dreamy drool-drenched sleep. Wake up Suzie by adding those can’t always get what you want scenes regularly.
- I Want to Hold Your Hand—Get your readers to like or empathize with your main characters early on in the story (preferably page one).
- Save the Last Dance for Me (one of my favorite songs btw)—Work hard to involve your reader. Help your readers feel engaged with your story by inciting a connection with your characters.
- Poker Face—Implement suspense throughout your work. Drop a well-timed clue here. Leave a hint of something there. But don’t fall into the trap of tell. Give ‘em glimpses.
- A Little Less Conversation and A Little More Action Please—On the heels of the last one, avoid exposition. Show. Action is good. Dialogue is good, but only if it moves the plot forward.
- I Walk the Line—Follow a plot. Don’t wander aimlessly from scene to scene. Adhere to the story goal. Don’t sidetrack and rabbit hole your readers into confusion and frustration.
- Ain’t No Sunshine—Don’t write an elaborate description of weather just for the heck of it. Plant it there for a purpose, if you must plant it there at all.
- Into the Mystic—Take your readers somewhere they want to go. Make it easy for them to have a mental adventure. Choose an intriguing setting, riveting characters, a yeasty plot…
- I Can’t Get No Satisfaction—Keep ‘em scooting in their seats. Make ‘em want more. Don’t give ‘em satisfaction…that is until the end. Satisfy ‘em then.
Any lyrics you've learned that apply to writing?
*photos by flickr