So you want to write a story, or even a book?  Here are some tips I have found useful.  Read them carefully and keep them in mind the next time you pick up a pen or pencil.

     First, you must have an Idea.  Play around with that idea in your head for a while.  The idea will become your controlling agent when you begin your writing.   

     Next, think about demographics.  That is, who is your audience?  Are they children, adults, ordinary folks…or a more elite group?  This will require a mastery of language.  If you want to write, you are likely one who loves words.  Be careful with them, though.  You do not want to talk down to your audience, nor do you want to talk above their word comfort level.

     Who are you writing about?  Your characters should be believable, even if they jetted in from Mars.  Make their actions suit their character.  Descriptions are good, even necessary, but actions are more important.  Use plenty of action words—verbs–instead of adjectives.  The reader understands your characters better when he sees them in action.

     How do you wrap up your story?  A good way to do this is to imagine you have placed a gift in a box and now you must tie a ribbon around it.  One end of the ribbon – the end – should connect with the other.  This means that something in the beginning of your story is satisfactorily connected to the end of the story, thus tying it all together in a believable way.

     However, leave something for the reader to think about.  Some of the best story writers create characters and situations which, though solved, leave enough on the plate that the reader finds himself yearning for more.  That is the appeal of sequels or sagas.

     When I am engaged in a thoroughly satisfying book or short story, I find that I really don’t want it to end.  I have become so involved with the character that I want to see him or her continue those activities that have captivated my attention.  When you can get that sort of relationship established between your character and the reader, you have really achieved something. 

     Perhaps then it is time to think about another chapter in the life of this marvelous creation, your character.  Another book!

     This last tip is perhaps the most important of all.  An aspiring writer should be very well read.  Books from all literary periods, books from a great variety of writers.  When you are very well read, you are in a better position to know what is appealing in a book.  Then, who knows?  The next classic on the market may be something you have written!

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