Writing Advice of the Week: Your Book is a Conversation

Reading Time: 7 minutes
(Image by Fallon Clark via Adobe Firefly.)

What do you want to say to your reader?

Writing a book allows you to have a conversation with a reader you’ll never meet. I mean, sure, it’s a one-sided conversation, and you must guess at the reader’s possible reactions, questions, and confusion points, but a book is a conversation, nonetheless.

That’s one reason I love to work with authors whose books speak messages of inspiration, aspiration, and achievement. I choose to fill my conversational cup with story content that brings me joy, wonder, hope, and contentment.

I’m not alone in gravitating toward hopeful reads — many other book coaches, editors, and readers like hope.

Hope — that universal, genre-independent, powerful human need — is important for us all. It reminds us of the potential in the world, of the creativity. It reminds us of beauty.

Your book allows you to send a message of hope, a message of beauty, a message of good, to your reader. Bringing your reader those good vibes doesn’t have to feel complicated.

First in this week’s advice comes from Saralyn Richard for Women Writers, Women’s Books, who writes that there is one Writing Requirement: Have Fun. Richard’s advice is especially important when writing hopeful stories. Similarly to the way you can hear a smile over the phone, your readers can feel whether you had fun while writing — even if your story characters aren’t having fun.

When writing those characters, remember readers bond with characters they recognize, people they see in their everyday lives, including themselves. There are 8.1 billion humans on Earth — 8.1 billion sets of experiences. The second piece of writing advice for this week comes from Samantha Cameron for Jane Friedman. Cameron shares, Writing The Other: 4 Not So Easy (But Doable!) Steps. The steps really are doable, and your story will be all the more relatable and bond-with-able for it.

Beyond the fun and relatability of writing, this week’s advice included several nuggets suitable across genres, tropes, archetypes, and structures to help you have better conversations with your readers.

Literary Devices To Compare And Contrast by Joni M. Fisher for Florida Writers Association Blog offers a snappy little review of analogy, antithesis, metaphor, and simile to pick up if those terms are unfamiliar or if you want a general refresher to get those ideas bubbling. Remember that using certain devices well may depend on genre. The word “dog” used metaphorically in a contemporary romance novel likely has a different meaning than it does in a sci-fi story set on a planet inhabited by intelligent dog men.

And humans are great are not actually saying what they mean or meaning what they say. Unveiling Subtext: The Power Of Indirect Communication In Story by Zena Dell Lowe for The Write Conversation provides insight into the covert communication hidden beneath the words your characters say and how to leverage the power of subtext for meaning and characterization.

Crafting The Hook: Why Your Novel’s First Line Is Crucial by Shavonne Clarke for Written Word Media reviews that all-important introduction to your story world, including four qualities of good openers and some examples to get you thinking in first lines. Voice is a big part of that opening hook, so don’t be afraid to really dig into character to deliver it.

Lucy V Hay for Bang2write says, “You have to invest in craft, not theme,” in her article, Why Obsessing Over Theme Will Make You Ruin Your Story, in what may be my favorite quote of the week. Theme comes from the reader’s interpretation of your story, so let the story lead them toward the themes most relevant to them, rather than trying to force theme.

Editing Mastery: Strategies For A Comprehensive Self-Edit by Leigh Shulman walks through a practical strategy for self-editing that includes all the basics, including pulling in early readers and celebrating your progress along the way. And remember that the craft is in drafts, so move methodically and take the time you need for re-envisioning and editing your story.

When you have fun with your writing, take the time to research and craft characters that read like real people, and focus on the conversation your book has with your reader, you’re on your way to creating an enjoyable reading experience.

So, what do you want to say?

And what do you hope your reader will say back?

More Productivity Advice for the Week
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Maria collects more advice links each week than I can possibly share in a single writing advice article, so be sure to check out the overflow below if you need something I didn’t include.

Happy writing!

We subscribe to more than 200 writing advice sites and gather the best posts for you every single Sunday. You can see all the previous writing advice of the week posts here and subscribe to the RSS feed for this writing advice series here (direct Feedly signup link).

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Or watch me discuss this week’s writing advice on video:

Fallon Clark is the book pal who helps you tell your story in your words and voice using editorial, coaching, writing, and project management expertise for revision assistance, one-on-one guidance, and ghostwriting for development. Her writing has been published in Flash Fiction Magazine. Check out her website, FallonClark.com, or connect with her on LinkedIn or Substack.

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