We have already discussed the elements of plot and characterization earlier on in this article.
However, do we really know the importance of having some astute research behind the scenes, where it comes to working on these two key elements that go into the recipe of writing a novel?Let’s take a look.
The Importance Of Research In Plot And Characterization[caption id="attachment_1802" align="alignright" width="256"] It’s really important to have some solid research .[/caption] Letting your readers get a whiff of the actual setting. Take, for instance, you are writing a novel on crime. Now, this novel might take you to several different places in the country you are choosing to base your characters in, or even around the world. It’s really important to have some solid research into these places, thus, in order to give the reader an actual feel of the places you are describing. After all, the purpose of writing is to transport the reader to another place, right? Why not let them get a whiff of what the actual place is all about, then? Staying true to the facts. The last thing you want to do is to take the reader on a trip to someplace, and then botch up the facts. Remember, the reader out there is well read and so when you are describing a place that he or she might have been to and you get some facts wrong, you will not be creating a good impression.
So, if you’re setting your story in a place and you cannot visit it, at least make sure you get all the facts about that place right, through some pretty sound research. There are plenty of online resources that you can choose from. Make sure you use them well.[caption id="attachment_1803" align="alignleft" width="256"] Winston Churchill[/caption] When you are writing non-fiction, it’s even more imperative you get the facts straight. If you’re writing a book about say, Winston Churchill, and you get a simple thing like the place of his birth wrong, that knowledgeable reader is going to want to put the book down straight away. The very reason he is reading the book is to gain some new and insightful knowledge, and if he finds even one mistake in your book, he will be led to believe there will be plenty others, and it is simply not worth his time to finish the book. The last thing you wish to do is to take your reader for granted. Whether you are writing fiction or non-fiction, it is absolutely imperative to ensure that you stick to the facts and the best possible way to do that is by doing some really meticulous research into your plot and your characterization.
You have to bear in mind, that even if you are writing a work of fiction, the story must be plausible. So, if you are writing a Young Adult fantasy that is set in outer space, you have to stick to certain facts or you will ensure that your story goes out of orbit.
Ever fancied yourself a poet? Well, you might just wish to choose the shorter form of writing over prose.
So, what are the considerations you need to bear in mind where it comes to choosing poetry over prose or vice versa?[caption id="attachment_1797" align="alignright" width="256"] Not many publishing houses fancy books of poetry and it is not as popular as prose.[/caption] The thing is, if you like poetry and you’re doing it purely out of passion, choose poetry. Not many publishing houses fancy books of poetry and it is not as popular as prose. At the same time, you might not have the kind of patience that it takes to write a 300-page novel. If you’re looking to say something short, sweet and lyrical, then poetry might just be your sort of thing. However, if you have something to say in 300 pages or so and prose comes naturally to you, you might wish to stick to writing a 300-page novel of prose. Not that you can’t write a poetry book of the same length; it’s just that everyone has a story to tell, in their own individualistic fashion. [caption id="attachment_1798" align="alignleft" width="256"] Poetry is not that easy to write.[/caption] Also, poetry is not that easy to write. Think that by simply penning some words on paper, you can become a poet? No. Being a poet requires a different sort of craft. The best way to know if you’re a good poet is to ask others what they think about your work. If it makes people go ‘Wow!’, then you know you’re on the right track where it comes to be a poet. Else, you might just wish to stick to be a writer of prose. No matter what, do your thing and go all out and promote your work. Enter upcoming writing contests and have several book readings. Do all you can to promote your work, be it poetry or prose.
In the end, though, it’s really all about how you feel. If you’re really passionate about poetry, people are going to stand up and take notice of you someday. If prose is your thing, go write that novel!
[caption id="attachment_1780" align="alignright" width="256"] Forget the prize money.[/caption] Now that you have approached those literary pundits and had all those book readings in eclectic venues, what next? You will find there is one thing that can get you a good deal of publicity, although it is far from being a clear and cut given. We’re talking entering writing contests here. Forget the prize money; imagine the publicity you would receive if you were to win a writing contest. In terms of the validation of your work, it’s huge to even find yourself on the shortlist of some famous writing contests. There are several writing prizes, like the Commonwealth Prize for new writers (this one’s only open to those living in Commonwealth countries, though) that you can enter in order to stand a chance of winning a good deal of money and also gaining a lot of recognition in the literary circuit. [caption id="attachment_1781" align="alignleft" width="256"] There’s also the Graywolf Press Non-fiction prize.[/caption] There’s also the Graywolf Press Non-fiction prize that can fetch you a whopping $12000 as an advance for a publishing contract with them. If you go to any famous sportsman’s home, you will undoubtedly find a showcase of trophies. Why not have some trophies of your very own? People will take you a lot more seriously when you are an award-winning author. It will separate you from the others and put you on a kind of pedestal. Always remember to read the guidelines on the contest writing websites, to gain a succinct understanding of what it is they really want. For instance, the last thing you should be doing is submitting a work of fiction to what is a poetry contest. Also, ensure you make your submission in just the way you are instructed. There might be some people who want you to submit your work in a particular font, for instance.
Make sure you do exactly as instruct, or you might just find that you miss out on the opportunity of gaining that coveted prize, simply because your work will not even be read by the judges who are very particular about these sorts of things.[caption id="attachment_1782" align="alignright" width="256"] What you need to know is, there is no time limit where it comes to the promotion of your book[/caption] What you need to know is, there is no time limit where it comes to the promotion of your book. So, if you are publishing a book this year and win an award for it the following year, it will have a great impact as well. Simply enter those writing contests and keep your fingers crossed; you never quite know when you might get the intimation that you are on the shortlist of one of them. And then, if you’re even luckier, you might just find yourself lifting that coveted ‘trophy’ you so earnestly desire. Besides, when you get onto that shortlist, you’re going to be getting the attention of all those online literary critics out there, and that’s a bonus! Also remember, in many cases your publisher will have to enter your novel into a writing contest (that is, if you’re traditionally published).
Some of the best writing contests are those that need the approval of the publisher, so always stay in touch with your publisher and ensure your work is entered into those fabulous writing contests.
In the previous point, we have already discussed the importance of getting in touch with people like bloggers and celebrities, in lieu of the upcoming publication of your book. While that is a great idea, it can be an even better one to get the attention of a literary critic. This could be someone who writes for an important digital newspaper, or perhaps even a famous author who has several bestsellers to his or her credit. These people are looked on as literary gurus, and it would be well worth your while to ask them if they could read your work and perhaps offer some kind words in terms of an honest book review or perhaps even a few nice words on social media.
There are some ways you can get them to do this, although be warned that it is not all that easy because apart from getting their attention, your work has to be captivating enough to them for them to want to say a few good words in your favor.
How To Get The Notice Of Literary Critics Out There?[caption id="attachment_1774" align="alignleft" width="256"] Approach them on social media.[/caption] Approach them on social media. You never know, if you’re lucky they might just ask you to send a copy of your work to them, and for the rest, of course, you will have to keep your fingers crossed. In the case of an editor of an online magazine or newspaper, try and walk into their office. The secretary might just politely tell you that Madam X has not got the time to meet with you. Take that in your stride; at least you tried to get the attention of the person who might be highly instrumental in taking your book to greater heights. Meet with famous authors at literary events. In the cases of famous authors, you will find that it might not be all that simple to get their attention, reclusive as they are.
Therefore, you might consider going to literary events where you will find them in attendance with a whole host of other authors.You can approach them and ask them if you have a couple of minutes to spare. Of course, having a copy of your book in hand will be an added bonus. No matter what, ensure that you do your homework well before approaching literary critics. What you need to know is that there might be certain people that might be completely averse to the idea of reading your book, no matter how well intentioned you might be. For instance, if you are writing a YA (Young Adult) book, it would be well worth your while to approach a famous YA author. That will make their validation all the more important, since they are commenting on a work in their domain of expertise. Don’t simply give your book to every other critic. While it might not be a bad idea, it will be much better if you target them selectively.
In fact, this is one of the better ways you can promote your work online.
Once your book is in the stages of production or perhaps even after you have signed that highly touted contract with the publisher of your choice, what you want to do is to set the ball rolling and ensure your book gathers some steam in the process of you making it every bit the bestseller that you have envisioned it to be. Here’s a look at all that you can do, to promote your book online so that it catches the attention of onlookers far before it finally hits the shelves!
Get Your Social Media Audience Involved[caption id="attachment_1664" align="alignright" width="256"] Get your social media audience involved.[/caption] Of course you want to share your success with all your friends on Facebook and perhaps even the few contacts you might have on LinkedIn. When it comes to the process of announcing teasers and hooking those prospective readers of yours. This is one thing that stands tall on the list of things you can do to promote your book online. The good thing is, people are active on social media so they will surely get a taste of things to come when you announce that teaser on social media. Apart from hooking others who might not even be in that inner circle of your friends or contacts.
Create An Email List To Inform Your Readers Well In AdvanceYou might have triggered your online marketing campaign with social media, but what you need to remind yourself to do, is to create an email list of contacts that you will want to send a collective email blast to, once your book is on the periphery of being published.
The thing is, sometimes people miss things on social media, what with so much information out there. With an email list, however, you can rest assured that they will get the message loud and clear.
Collaborate With Influencers[caption id="attachment_1665" align="alignleft" width="256"] Collaborate[/caption] Influencers are people like celebrities or perhaps even bloggers, that have a large fan following. The good news when you collaborate with them is you gain access to their large number of followers, so that you can get your message across to people who would have otherwise been completely in the dark, where it came to the news about the upcoming publication of your book. The thing is, if your book is validated thus, it gains all that more relevance as people trust the words of thought leaders. All you have to do is ask these influencers; you might just get lucky, you never know.
Publish Some Free Samples OnlineWhen you go to an ice cream shop you ask for a sampling of some flavors at times, right? Well, you can do the very same with your book for your customers.
Give your readers out there a free teaser of your first few chapters, and you will find that it might just whet their appetite to the extent that they can’t wait to get their hands on your book.
Run A Contest, And Offer Your Book As An Award[caption id="attachment_1666" align="alignright" width="256"] For instance, you could announce that contest on your Facebook page.[/caption] The great news is, people love interacting online. Also, who doesn’t like a good old-fashioned contest? For instance, you could announce that contest on your Facebook page. Ask those potential customers to like or perhaps even share the details of your book, and in return they will be automatically entered into the contest where they might just be one of the ten lucky winners to get a free copy of your book. After all, what are ten copies when you can sell a hundred more thanks to the stellar publicity you garner in the contest? You have to remember that in today’s world, people are going online more than ever. You have to take advantage of this opportunity and make your presence felt in a big way. Remember, your book might be great, but what’s the point if it doesn’t get the audience that you are looking to target? You might have mastered the nitty gritties of writing and created a really great book, but what’s the point if you don’t quite get it ‘out there’?
You have to go out there, all guns blazing, and ensure that your book has a voice; reach as many people that you can using these powerful online tools, and your book will be on its way to becoming the bestseller you wish it to be.
We believe that writing about writing, is one of the really great ways in which one can get more people into reading. We wish for our readers to discover more fine French writing in the future, of course, but we also hope they will read more in general.