Writing Tips

Define Your GENRE
What is your story about? Each genre has its own set of rules: word count, number of pages, etc.

Who is in your story? What do they want? What is as important to them as that next breath? List ten things for each. Avoid opening confusion with too many characters. Each character, except walk-ons, should have a goal, a strong point, as well as a fatal flaw. What mannerism; way of speaking, is unique to each one?

A)  Star of the Show – protagonist
B)  Villain – antagonist
C)  Love interest
D)  Mentor – wise old woman, best  friend, grandmother, grandfather, etc
E)  Bit parts – the walk-on cab driver, waitress

What is the THEME of your Story? What is Your Point in Telling This Particular Story?
Romeo & Juliet – Great Love Defies Death.
Beyond the Quiet – a repressed widow learns to live.
No matter what story you want to tell, always remember the #1 Rule in storytelling:

Stay off your soapbox or you will lose your reader. If you absolutely must lecture on your theory of life, go into  your bathroom, stand in front of your mirror, and talk to your heart’s content. For your novels, however, learn the fine art of subtlety. Everyone runs when a windbag enters the room or takes over the pages in a book.

Story Structure is the stumbling block in many writers’ adventure. Is there a basic plot? Yes:
Basic plot: character A wants something and character B tries to stop him. According to Aristotle, there are three sections of a story: the Beginning, Middle, and End; or, Act 1, Act 2, & Act 3
Each act has a specific job to perform, and therefore, each has different requirement.

Visit my website for more tips, information about editing, your critical first chapter, and/or plotting and story structure:

Brenda Hill


2 comments on “Writing Tips
  1. Great tips. Tough we are a mystery/thriller/suspense genre book club, we also have a few aspiring writers in our group. I am also a local writing club member for past 9 years. Glad found your site. Your reasons for having a blog? We are located in the tri-state mountains, in Blairsville, GA and are called “Nailed” Book Club, circa 2012.

    • Brenda Hill says:

      Rhonda, so sorry I missed this, but thanks for reading. And congratulations on being a member for 9 years! Amazing. Good luck to the aspiring writers. Publishing has changed drastically, so now most anyone can publish; however, learning the craft is another matter, and I’m always pleased when writers take the time and trouble to do so.

      Thanks again,

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August 2022
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