|By Antonio Litterio
Aways do your research, but leave them wanting more. Drip feed information. Coax them to keep turning the pages by revealing only a little bit of what they want to know. Be a literary fan-dancer, but like the best burlesques, know how much to give, and when. Lead your reader up a blind alley or two, distract them with the occasional red herring but give them the pleasure of exposing the odd secret along the way as well. Don't frustrate them too often, or for too long. When there are so many real-life distractions both on-and-off line, there's a balancing act to be managed between suspense and revelation. Keep it fresh to keep them reading.
One cliche that no tip-sheet can avoid is "write what you know". It works. You’re an expert on at least one thing - your own experiences. That’s a rich seam to mine, so get digging. That doesn’t mean you should regurgitate your life story and nothing else ad nauseum, though. Did Shakespeare murder his wife over a pocket-handkerchief? Did Thomas Hardy hang children from clothes hooks? No, but they used their own experiences of human nature, jealousy and misery to colour their inventions. people are people the world over, and they've been like that down all the centuries. Powerful emotions drove Cain to kill Abel and King David to send Uriah the Hittite away to war, and they've throbbed through the veins of thousands since then. Find your story, and make it speak to everyone.