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How to Write a Book – The Ten Best Tips to Write Interesting Books.

1. The plot

If you want to write an exciting book, you need a good plot. This is the storyline of a novel that emerges from all the events of a story. The most important basic principle of an exciting plot: causality. That is, all events of a plot should be causally related. In a good story, nothing happens that does not come from the previous one.

The only exception: the entry. The first event in a book can be purely coincidental. But it ensures that all subsequent events get rolling – that’s why it’s called the triggering event. The triggering event stands at the beginning of a story and sets in motion everything that follows. This is very similar to the domino effect: the first stone falls and tears all the following stones. For a good entertainment novel, the causality of the plot is the most important basis.

2. The main conflict

Before you begin to write the book, you should summarize the plot of the story in one sentence. This helps to keep an eye on the most important events despite many creative ideas. But the sentence should not be just a summary of the story, it should also contain the main conflict. There are a lot of conflicts in every book, but the main conflict is the common thread.

For example, consider the novel ” The Perfume ” by Patrick Süskind. So the story could be in a sentence:

A man without an odor and with an ingenious sense of smell wants to make the smell of young women a perfume that makes him more lovable.

The sentence summarizes the book, but the main conflict is missing. In other words, where is the problem in this story? What makes her really exciting? Here the summary in one sentence including main conflict:

A man without an odor and an ingenious sense of smell murders young women and makes them a perfume that should make him more lovable.

In the second version, it is clear what creates the tension in this book, where the greatest potential for conflict lies: The main character of the novel is a murderer. So it’s clear that he has a lot of trouble on his neck. In the book all events and scenes are subordinated to this main conflict – that is the thread of the story.

Before you start writing the book, it’s best to formulate a summary of the story in one sentence. The summary should be as simple as possible. If the sentence gets too complicated, maybe the story is too complicated. Experienced authors can handle this, but with less practice this could be difficult.

3. The drama

An entertainment novel consists of a series of events. In the planning phase you should prepare the most important events and turning points of the plot. The main conflict in a sentence determines which events belong to the story and which not. If the course of action is so far clear, then he should get a good arc: The plot needs an inner drama. This arises from the fact that the events gradually come to a head.

To get a good deal of suspense for his book, you can work with drama models. The simplest drama model is the three-stroke, which goes back to Aristotle. To date, the three-stroke is used for the dramatization of scripts and novels.

Act 1
At the beginning there is a triggering event and the first gradually increasing events.

Act II
The events keep coming to a head – until they finally culminate in a climax, which usually brings a dramatic change in the course of action.

Act 3
In the final act follows a chain of particularly dramatic events and then the conclusion. The conclusion must be the logical consequence of the preceding events. The less chance in the game, the more drama.

Before you start writing the book, it is best to formulate four sentences:

Sentence 1 : Summary of the story including main conflict.
Sentence 2 : Triggering event and first act.
Sentence 3 : Second act with climax (= turning point).
Set 4 : Third act with final fight (show-down) and final.

4. The figures

Exciting books need interesting characters. To do that, the main characters for his book are developed three-dimensionally. This means that the figures need a concise exterior (1st dimension), they have a psychological profile (2nd dimension) and a social profile (3rd dimension).

Interesting characters should also have something out of the ordinary. Something that sets them apart from the crowd: an extraordinary hobby or extraordinary traits or an extraordinary life story or something else unique.

The easiest way to succeed exciting characters, if you give them an unusual desire and the strong will to fulfill this wish – against all obstacles. Many authors write books that have 300 pages and more. Then you have to maintain interest in the fate of the character over many pages. If the main character is determined to pursue a specific goal, the readers will end up trying to figure out whether the character will succeed in the end.

5. The tension

The basis for good excitement
If you are planning to write an exciting book, then a dramatic plot and interesting characters are a solid basis for good excitement. The most important thing: Plot and figures must fit together well.

For example in a love story:

The story takes the hero on a sailboat, though he has never learned to swim. In order not to embarrass himself in front of his great love, he remains silent and seems to sail relaxed out into the open sea.
Outside, the ship capsizes. By an unfortunate coincidence his great love faints, goes overboard and threatens to drown.

Since plot and figures fit together well, we as readers at this time have long known that our hero can not swim and is terrified of the water. The tension arises from the banal question: How does he manage to save his great love?

Expanding the arc of suspense
The arc of tension can be further expanded by numerous conflicts. They make sure that the hero has a lot of problems: he fights against nature, a powerful opponent (antagonist) or himself.

Back to our example:

The ship capsizes. It is stormy and dark. The hero clings desperately to a wreckage and rows with arms and legs to save his great love from drowning. This floats unconscious in her life jacket on the waves. Then a wreckage hooked in a seam and the life jacket disappears into the dark water – the fainting man threatens to go down. The hero is still too far away to hold onto her. But he can not swim – will he still be able to save her?

Supporting the Tension
To get an exciting book, you should support this basic tension by many other factors. For example, when you write, you make the events roll over – the shorter the dramatic events are, the faster the tempo and the more tension builds. In addition, more moments of tension arise through misunderstandings, riddles, secrets and a time limit. The writing style can also support the suspense, for example, through a concise, rushed narrative style.

6. The topic

Good and excitingly told books often have a theme that is all about. In this way the narrative becomes more intense.

For example “The Perfume” by Patrick Süskind. Everything in this story is about smell and death. Already on the first page the topic sounds like:

” At the time of our talk, there was a stench hardly imaginable in the cities for us modern humans. The streets smelled of dung, the backyards stank of urine, the staircases stank of rotten wood and rattan, the kitchens of rotten cabbage and mutton fat . ” And “the most stinking place in the entire kingdom “, the main character Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born: “It was one of the hottest days of the year. The heat lay like lead over the graveyard and squeezed into the neighboring streets the decaying smell of a mixture of rotten melons and burnt horns. Grenouille’s mother, as labor began, was standing at a fish stall in Rue aux Fers, flaking whites that she had previously exempted. The fish, supposedly pulled out of the Seine in the morning, already stank so badly that their smell covered the corpse smell. 

(Quotes from Patrick Süskind, The Perfume, The Story of a Murderer, Diogenes Taschenbuch 1994, pages five and seven).

The summary in a sentence including main conflict shows that “smell and death” is already laid out in the basic constellation of history:

A man without an odor and an ingenious sense of smell murders young women and makes them a perfume that should make him more lovable.

But also in the plot process and in many other details of the novel “smell and death” play an essential role. In this way, the theme runs through all levels of the story. An issue helps to condense and intensify the narrative.

7. Show do not tell

The principle ” show do not tell ” is currently considered one of the most important recommendations in book writing. This principle distinguishes two types of narrative: narrative and scenic. Narrative narrative describes the events.

In scenic narration, events are “shown” through dialogues and actions. We vividly portray what we see in our mind’s eye so that the events become more alive. The scenic writing succeeds when we address all five senses: we describe what the characters in the story hear, what they see, smell, taste and feel. The goal is to give the reader a pictorial idea of ​​the event.

Classic examples of narrative narrative are fairy tales like Hansel and Gretel. Here’s an example of how the difference is noticeable.

That’s how it sounds narrative:

Hansel and Gretel got lost in the forest. It was dark and cold there, and they were very afraid.

That’s how it sounds:

Gretel shivered and her pale face stood out against the night-black tree trunks.
“I’m tired,” she whispered.
Hansel wiped his nose with the back of his hand.
“We have to move on,” he urged.

An essential part of the scenic storytelling are dialogues. But many more elements are added, in particular pictorial descriptions of locales, figures and actions.

8. The dialogues

One might think that the most important thing about dialogue is what is being said. But the opposite is the case: Dialogues live above all from what is not pronounced. The most common rookie mistake: The characters talk too much.

Back to our example of Hansel and Gretel.

There is too much talk here:

Gretel shivered and her pale face stood out against the night-black tree trunks.
“It’s so cold here and we do not know where we are. Besides, I’m tired, “she whispered.
Hansel wiped his nose with the back of his hand.
“It’ll be midnight soon, and if we do not find our way home fast, we’ll have to sleep in the forest. There we are at the mercy of the wild animals. We have no time, we have to go on, “he urged.

And that sounds like the wordless version:

Gretel shivered and her pale face stood out against the night-black tree trunks.
“I’m tired,” she whispered.
Hansel wiped his nose with the back of his hand.
“We have to move on,” he urged.

Exciting dialogues arise only through revision. If you are in the midst of the writing process, then it is best to write dialogues the way the words come straight to your mind. This first version should be revised later: To make it more entertaining and exciting, it often helps to reduce the sentences in direct speech so far that they are just understandable. The readers are usually already a few words enough to follow a story. Anything beyond that is often boring.

Of course, there are really good books with verbose dialogues. But it takes a lot of experience to write in-depth dialogues that will not bore you. Therefore it is easier to keep dialogues short at the beginning.

9. The feeling

It has long been known in the music scene and we viewers know it since “The Voice of Germany” at the latest: singing is nothing without feeling . And when painting and writing it is no different: Only if you give your own, real feeling into a creative work, it is really good. Why it is like that? Because we humans have very fine antennae for the feelings of others. Because we notice if a song, a picture or a story transports human feelings. When a creative work expresses genuine feelings, we react to it with our own feelings – we are touched and the work leaves a deep impression on us.

But how do my feelings get into the book I write? If I want to write a scene, then I dive into the events, very deeply, until I feel what the people in my scene feel – what I just want to describe. Only then do I write down the whole thing – out of my own, genuine feelings.

10. A good writing style

The hardest question at the end: What makes a good writing style? And how do I get there?
Only one thing helps: try it out. Write a lot. Find out what you feel comfortable with. At the beginning you can orientate yourself on what you like to read yourself. A good exercise is to write your own text over and over again in different styles of writing: sometimes as comic, sometimes as Kafka, sometimes as Rowling and sometimes as a book novel. So you can better recognize the differences and learn to use the language consciously.

Caution is needed with metaphors and adjectives. Many great books are peppered with it, but others become illegible. Because metaphors and adjectives are like the salt in the soup: Used wisely, they are wonderful, but a small pinch of too much is enough to make the whole thing undrinkable.