Everybody, even great writers, benefit from a refresher course now and then. Luckily, the market has no short supply of books offering to help writers get started (and finished) with a novel or memoir. Writers from Francine Prose to Stephen King offer numerous tips, suggestions, and musings on the art of writing. But sometimes what a struggling writer needs is not highbrow reflections on the writing life, but straightforward ideas about how to write. In other words you need pro-tips. Enter Josip Novakovich, well-known writing professor and author of several novels, including April Fool’s Day, and the fiction guide Writing Fiction: Step by Step.
In the latter contribution, Novakovich tells us that the best source of fiction, “is the zone in which knowledge and the lack of knowledge meet, where you wonder.” We couldn’t agree more with that sentiment at Kevin Anderson & Associates. For over a decade, we’ve been helping writers turn their experiences and ideas into unique and fully realized works of literature. Even if all you’ve got is an idea, we can turn that concept into a reality.
In that same book, Novakovich lays out some fantastic ways to help writers take the process of writing step-by-step in order to help them finish. Perhaps the most helpful aspect of the work is its focus on the writer him or herself—placing them in the center of the story. From this, he suggests, “construct a character from one aspect of your personality (not the dominant one). Make this trait the main motive force of the character’s feelings and thoughts. If you are shy, for example, construct a character who is much more shy than you. This character should be different from you in most other ways…”
What the above exercise does is allow you to think of potential characters while using your own personality as a springboard. Generally speaking, it’s much easier for all of us to write about what we know intimately, and our own personalities are the cornerstone of that intimate knowledge. By writing from this wellspring of information, you guarantee yourself a never-ending supply of complex characterization.
As Josip says, “Writing the story help