Novelist Jerry Jenkins Provides Tips to Write Good Fiction

Friday, October 11, 2019

Follow this 12-step program for success, provided by novelist Jerry Jenkins.

  • Settle on a winning story idea, which makes you passionate throughout the novel because it helps you keep going until the end.
  • Outliner or pantser? I think I do both to help organize my thoughts. Yeah, I am a hybrid. Consider the Classic Story Structure method. Koontz recommend plunging character into terrible trouble. Then progressively make situations worse for this character until the character’s predicament becomes hopeless. Then, turn the character into a hero for surviving all the shit you put them through.
  • Unforgettable character, especially the protagonist with potential heroic qualities. Don’t make the antagonists too evil because it isn’t realistic. Just make them demented, which leads them to criminal acts without them realizing it because they think they are doing the right thing.
  • Do a lot of research to make your fictional story believable, or at least appear nonfiction. The Internet has everything you need, but libraries can help too.
  • What is your character’s point of view? I am always undecisive which one to use. I like using first point of view in memoir-style novels, in which the main character is narrating the story. Third person is also interesting, if I want to write the big picture, describing details of scenes and people. But first person is more interactive because the main character is speaking to the view about their view. I think the third person is about letting the viewers make their decision by reading the details and deciding for themselves.
  • Begin in “Medias Res.” Write a good opening, such as surprise opener, dramatic opener, philosophical opening, or poetic opening.
  • Trigger the theater of reader’s mind. Suggest enough to trigger the reader’s imagination by showing and describing in detail what happens.
  • Ramp up main character’s trouble. Add conflicts.
  • Make main character’s predicament appear hopeless.
  • Bring it all together.
  • Leave reader satisfied with the climax. Don’t rush it.
  • Separate writing from editing.


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