Tip 21 – Change is Good
Your character should experience or cause a change by the end of the story. If you do this well, it will resonate with your reader.
Tip 22 – Surprise and Satisfy Your Reader.
You can have twists and turns to surprise your reader, but in the very end, give them a satisfying reading experience. You should never have your reader feel disappointment when they finish your book.
Tip 23 – Build Tension and Then Release It
There are a couple of schools of thought on this. I like to have peaks and valleys throughout a book with one large tension arc that lasts through the book.I often use humor to release the tension.
Tip 24 – Use Subplots to Help Your Plot
If there’s an investigation going on, maybe there’s also a budding romance. Maybe there’s a rivalry between two characters that keeps impeding progress. Make it interesting and rich. Remember, real people aren’t one-dimensional.
Tip 25 – Don’t go off on Tangents
Although subplots make you’re writing interesting, going off on too many tangents can make your reader lose interest. You can talk about your character’s love for cooking, but don’t spend two pages taking your readers through the process of cooking a meal unless it’s relevant to your plot or you’re writing a cookbook.
Tip 26 – Don’t be Afraid to Mix it Up
If you’re writing a horror story, you can have something funny happen. If you’re writing a detective story, you can have the character do something outside of the investigation like attend a sporting event or something unrelated. Remember, your characters are human and they do not live a single-threaded life.
Tip 27 – Paint a Vivid Picture of the Surroundings
Whether you are making up the world your character lives in, or you are using a real location, paint a word picture for your reader. You can go to the location and research it if you like or use the place you’re in. I carry a small notebook to make notes about new places I travel to. You never know what might be useful. Another trick, if you don’t travel, is to use Google Streetview. You can virtually drive right down the street in a location and describe what you see in a 360 view. One author who does this surprisingly well is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, usually at the revelation part of his Sherlock Holmes cases. An author, in my opinion, that occasionally spends too much time on this Dean Koontz.
Tip 28 – Leave Some Room for the Reader To Use Their Imagination
The converse of Tip 27 is to let your readers picture the scene based on their own experience. If you’re at the beach, you can use the term ‘salt air’ and most readers will be able to imagine what it smells like. You can say that a house looked creepy with some sounds, sights, and smells without describing every square foot.
Tip 29 – Always Keep the Hero’s Struggle in the Back of Your Mind
Just like in our day-to-day lives, experiences shape who we are and what we do. Bring this realism to your characters. Recalling their past experiences is also a way to weave in some of that backstory that you’ve been sitting on.
Tip 30 – Your Readers are Not Dumb
Don’t treat your readers like they are stupid. After all, they’re reading a book. Don’t lead them by the nose through things that are general knowledge. Don’t condescend.