10 Things To Know About Your Book (Part 2: Or, the Literature Strikes Back)

Have you read part one, as yet? If not, then I think you’re taking this a little out of turn, don’t you? Honestly, if there’s only two parts and you can’t snatch them up in the right order…


Well, really.


That said, if a little refresher’s in order, we already covered from conflict to purpose and that quaint little road we call “the beginning.” The frame of the thing has taken shape, but some of the juicier bits still require that special bit of tweaking only an author can muster. Be it of love or a very compulsive and twitchy tick we call “the scribbles,” the meat of what is to come still remains, and the mind finds itself faced with the following:


  1. What are your characters’ goals?
    Good, bad, or Swiss—figure out what makes your people tick. What do they hope to achieve?
  2. How do they intend to achieve those goals?
    Fantastic, your people now have goals! Now how do they hope to actually bring them about? Bearing in mind, of course, that your characters are mostly (unless they’re not) human, and their goals and methods can be as flawed as reality.

    Light Yagami

    Light Yagami. So flawed, “flawed” must be put in air quotes for him. (Photo credit: Wikipedia. Educational, point-making, and not being used for profit, nor do I claim to own the character or his likeness…etc. etc.)

  3. How do you intend to pace this beast out?
    Are we going to learn as the characters learn? Or shall we be privy to more than their mere eyes can catch, to heighten the tension by knowing they are about to face a cruel trial? Pacing is, at its heart, deciding exactly how you want to take your story and relate it to us, the collective reader. It’s a balancing act. Throw everything at us at once, our heads spin, our gaze dulls, and we realize there’s no more substance to be had. Dance around too long before throwing us a line, and our eyes wander, we lose focus, and lose interest there as well. Find your voice. Know your story. Then feed it to us piece by piece.
  4. Where is the action?
    Are there to be battles of arrow and steel? A dramatic crescendo of cannons? Passionate clash of the heart? Or a social duel, politicians warring at the pulpit with words, and a society hanging in the balance? Depending on what your book is, the style of action may differ greatly, but you should know how you’re going to captivate us, and give us our climax of literary greatness, and when and in what increments you intend to pursue it.
  5. Remember that awkward moment when you blew up the world? Good times.

    How does it end?
    The ending must tie up the loose ends (but know that there will always be at least on reader there to point out all the loose ends you didn’t address to their satisfaction!), resolve the overarching conflict (unless you’re tying this into another series, you rascally devil you), and give your readers something to show for sticking with you for so long.


And that, as they say, is that. Ten Things. Beginning to end and through enough meat to put some serious flesh over the heart of your masterpiece. Now you just have to write the bloody thing. But don’t worry, buck up kiddo, after that comes the real fun–editing.


Wait: we did cover sarcasm’s importance in literature, right?


But seriously, while I may not have covered everything, these questions are all key to helping relate your story to us. If it doesn’t mean something to you, after all, what are we supposed to take away? A wise man once said that every scribble is piece of your soul poured out on the page–you’ll never get it back, but if you’re lucky, you can share it with the world. Help to make our eyes dance with envy of that soul, friends.


Give to us the world.


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