Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Really Bad Ideas For Your Novel - Part 2

So, after lots of work, here's Part 2 of My Bad Ideas!

Make sure you have adverbs on every page. Adverbs can be useful when you want to describe something. But too much of them can result in dense paragraphs that will make even Olympic readers shudder. When you're done with the writing, highlight every adverb on every page just so you know where they are. If you see bricks of yellow or whatever colour you're using littered in every paragraph, you know you have a problem. Here's a little example for you:
"Stop talking," shouted Duck angrily.
And change it to "Stop talking!" shouted Duck.

...She ran up the stairs quickly and nervously looked around to find an escape...
The adverbs have been highlighted.
I don't know about you but they do absolutely nothing to excite me and are just a bit dull. Instead:
...She ran up the stairs, panting between every step. She stumbled around to find an escape and took each step with caution... might be a bit more fun to read

Include as many characters as you can. There isn't a quote of how many characters you can have in your novel but make sure it isn't more than 5 or 6 main characters. Even then, 5 characters is a bit much. I usually have 2 or 3 main characters and 3 minor characters. I use as many side characters as I need. I try to limit this because no reader will ever be able to remember 50 minor characters.

Give your character a bit too much personality. It's best to give readers an insight to your character's personality but don't fill her up with too much wackiness. That can be a bit overwhelming for some readers. I tend to follow this guide:
Up to 10% wackiness
Up to 20% shyness
Up to 15% sarcasm
Up to 5% clumsiness (Bella Swan anyone? Seriously, keep away from the clumsiness if you can. It's not a flaw. It's just annoying to read. In real life, it's funny. Ever watched anyone fall into a canal? That's just pure lol. Until they get their foot caught on some weeds and you have to pull them out)
Up to 20% of your best friend
Up to 10% of you
Up to 20% of normal

Change perspectives every few minutes. First, it's confusing. Second, it'll stop readers from forming connections with a character if they only see the character for five minutes in the entire book.

Kill off everyone and I really do mean everyone who appears in your novel. Or you could just hunt down readers and stab them in the heart. It'll save them from actually having to read the book. Plus, the killing bit can make you psychotic.

Hope you enjoyed reading this!



  1. I really like your percentages relating to character. You are SO right about that and I might have to swipe that breakdown from you :)

  2. Love this post! Your points are so spot-on. Although, I must say, even though I agree not to flood a book with characters, I think there are instances where a book can have a bit of a larger cast. Like, I know mine tend to skew that way whenever my plots are more whodunnit in nature. Gives readers more than a couple characters to suspect! (But never 50-something, like you mentioned. That's just overkill!)

    Also, I think there are instances where killing off an entire cast of characters is totally okay, and even necessary, for a book. (Even if it is gut-wrenching and tragic, for both the writer and reader.) Then again, I've always been a fan of slashers and such, so make of that what you will. XD

  3. @ Heather. A lot of characters are pretty much needed in a mystery (crime) but some genres don't require a large cast. Fantasy would probably.

    haha! I prefer characters being a live. It's depressing if everyone dies.


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