Power of Words by Antonio Litterio
- These days it doesn’t pay to be a one-hit wonder, unless you manage to land a million-dollar contract at your first attempt. Readers know what they like, and if your work hits the spot they’ll want to read more, as fast as you can write it. Make sure you love your genre enough to produce more of the same, if it catches the public’s eye. Could your current idea be the start of a trilogy, or maybe the first in a long line of single titles with your name on the cover? Think ahead, and always have something in reserve.
- Make sure you know the “must-have moments” for your genre, and include them in your work. For instance, category romances need the action focussed tightly on a hero and heroine who meet within the first page or two, and have complex inner conflicts that tussle with physical attraction until their feelings deepen into emotional intimacy. Thrillers need to be a roller-coaster ride of action, with changes of pace, plenty of switchbacks and the occasional untrustworthy witness to keep your reader turning the pages. If your audience is desperate to find out what happens next, you’ll keep them reading. Whatever it takes, make sure those ingredients are included in your manuscript.
- It doesn’t matter in which genre you write, make your characters take the initiative rather than simply react to situations. Make them active, rather than reactive. It’s a good idea to keep the phrase “you’ve made your bed, now lie in it” in mind all the time while you’re working. It describes your characters’ narrative arc neatly. You deal them a double whammy. First they make an active choice, which catapults them into a situation. Then they have to face up to the consequences of that action, and live with the decisions and choices they make.