You’re writing that great American novel. You’ve read tons of “how to write” books, studied your high school English books to the last dangling participle, and now you’re ready to start pecking away at the keyboard.
There are a few basic principles of writing good fiction to keep your reader engaged that must be remembered or your book will go flying out your reader’s window. Worse yet, while it’s being reviewed at the publishing company, the editor will send your manuscript back so fast, you’re characters’ heads will be spinning.
So, if you want to turn off your reader, or your editor, here’s what you do:
1. Start your book by waxing eloquent. Describe beautiful settings, introduce action, and throw in a few pages of dialogue of minor characters. But don’t introduce your main protagonist until page 10.
2. Write 20 pages of backstory with vivid descriptions and details of your protagonist’s past life. Tell every nitty, gritty little detail about him that doesn’t mean beans to the main story line.
3. Have your plot direction a mystery. “What the heck is going on here?” will run through your reader’s mind every time he turns the page and starts a new chapter.
4. Develop a main protagonist that is offensive and says really outrageous or stupid things that aren’t justified. For example, women readers are very sensitive to male attitudes toward them. (The author’s attitudes will come shining through in the protagonist’s actions and words.)
5. If you’re writing Christian fiction, preach it, brother! Fill your pages with scripture verses. Have your protagonist a “holier than thou” saint who does no wrong and walks the straight and narrow. No reader in his right mind would want to embrace a character who is so heavenly minded, he’s no earthly good.
So, if you’ve decided you don’t want to ever be published, that’s what you do. Master these five steps, and you’ll definitely turn off any reader who’s brave enough to attempt to tackle your “eloquence.”