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Ten Elements You Need To Know About Writing a Publishable First Novel, But Were Afraid To Ask

Updated: Jul 4, 2020


Upcoming Publications


Orange Blossoms-Love Blooms

(to be published later this year)

Anything But Love

Love Lost & Found


A Whirl With My Mocha Chocolate Swirl


· The Hook: Hook The Reader Or Lose Them For Life

· Writer Know Thy Self: Are You A Plotter, Pantser, or Planter?

· Show Don’t Tell: Creating A World Of Emotion Using All Five Senses

· Conflict & Tension: From the Beginning To End

· Character Agency: Heroines/Heroes Make Things Happen

· The Character And Story Arcs: Movement and Growth

· Authentic Dialogue: Why Characters Should Have Distinct Voices

· Author Voice: The Tone That Sets The Mood Of The Story

· The Dark Moment: The Really Bad, Sad, Awful Thing Happens

· The End: The Pieces of the Puzzle Fit Together=Satisfaction

1. The Hook: Introduce the Main Character

What’s at risk in the story?

It has to something big enough for a book.

Her heart, her home, her job, her family, or peace of mind

Disruption of her normal world

Start in the middle-not the beginning

No information dump

2. Writer Know Thyself

Plotter, each detail

Pantser, figure it out as you go along

Plantser, a little of both

Music or silence


Pages, scenes, chapters

Timers, sprints

3.Showing Versus Telling

No information dumping

Deep point of view

Describe action

Utilization of all five senses

Example A: He places an arm around my shoulder and kisses me. “Not bad,” I say. “But, I’ve had better. Can we finish this project now?”

Example B: I held my breath as he took two steps forward. This close, I could see a glint of gold in his light brown eyes, smell the masculine pine scent of his aftershave. Was he going to kiss me? I Iicked my bottom lip, right before he placed one of those strong arms around my shoulders, pulling me close to him. His lips felt so right pressed against mine. Trying to regain control of the situation, I force myself to pull away. “Not bad.” I can’t meet his eyes. He’ll see that I’m lying. That was the best kiss I’ve ever had and I’m hungry for more, but he’ll never know that. “Can we finish the project now?”

4. Conflicts and Tension

Think drama, even soap operas, plays



Big Risks

Potential for Loss, Pain

Highs and Lows

5. Character Agency

No passive wallflower waiting for her life to beginning

She makes choices, sometimes good

She’s flawed, could be her hair, her attire, her temper

She has ups and downs

She pulls herself up by her bootstraps

Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty need not apply

6.Character & Story Arc

Two simultaneous events are occurring, maybe three

Hero’s journey

Heroin’s journey

Story arc

Must grow from where they have begun

New realization, new strength

New possibilities for tomorrow

7. Authentic Dialogue

Each character has a distinctive voice

Each has different personalities and characteristics

Everyone should not sound the same

Males speak differently than females

Use of fewer words

Pay intention to how people talk, gestures they make

Create opposite types

Example A. “Girl, I’m out of here,” Cindy says while waving a manicured hand in the air and sashaying out the door.

Example B. “I’m going to leave now,” Tracey says. Sobs shake her frail body as she timidly walks towards the door.

Example C. “It’s time.” David snorts and saunters out the door. “I’m out of here. See ya.”

8. Author Voice

Sets the tone



Serious and Dry

Friendly and Humorous

Compelling and interesting

9.The Dark Moment

Something very bad happens

What has been foreshadowed happens

It could be a surprise though

Plot twists and turns

The reader is worried, upset

Emotionally invested

The storm before the rainbow

Do not rush this

Take your time

10.The End

Does it make sense?

Does it follow the rules of the genre?

Romance must have a HEA

Happily Ever After Ending

Is the reader confused or satisfied?

Are all the loose ends tied up?

Do they want to know more about secondary characters? Will they remember the characters or story later?

Will they tell others about your book?

Did it leave them feeling satisfied?

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