Get Published – 5 Vital Elements In The Novel

The creation of a successful page-turning novel that reaches publication involves many contributing elements and factors. The new writer must make it his business to study and understand what these elements are and what they do. Here is a selection of just five of those elements.

Let us discuss each element in turn to understand what each one is and what its function is in the novel. It will be noted that these five elements, although discussed separately, inevitably interact with each other. The complete novel is the sum of its many parts.

1. Tight writing.

What is meant by tight writing? Among other things it means the writing is spare, lean, that is to say, every word used must earn its place in the novel. It also means that the language used is at its most simple with short sentences and paragraphs, saying exactly what the writer wants to convey to the reader.

There should be no extraneous words or phrases included which are there to pad out the prose or to demonstrate the writer’s erudition. It goes without saying that long descriptions of locations or characters defeats tight writing and also pace; pace and tight writing go hand in hand.

It is during the final editing that tight writing is best achieved, after the act of creativity is over. The writer can then examine his work with a cool eye, eliminating anything that is superfluous.

2. Pertinent Dialogue

Dialogue in the novel should not be just a lot of idle chatter. Dialogue is a valuable tool when it is apt. It drives the plot forward and aids that vital component, pace. It is through apt dialogue that the reader grasps what the writer is trying to say and also what is happening in the novel, and gives the reader the illusion of being a part of the story itself.

Dialogue helps the reader to follow and understand the twists and turns of the plot. Apt dialogue also helps to deepen characterisation. The reader can size up the characters by what they say and how they say it. Idle and pointless dialogue is completely unhelpful to the reader, and defeats tight writing.

3. Characterisation

Perhaps creating plausible, rounded characters is the most important element of all in creating a page-turning novel. To create living characters their creator, the writer, must believe in them utterly. They should reside in his head and he should be aware of them constantly, even when he is not engaged in the actual writing.

To create living characters the writer must know everything there is to know about them; their family background, their social position, their hopes and dreams; their dreads and fears. Most of all the, writer must know the character’s ambitions and goals. The writer must know without any doubt, how his character will react in any given situation.

The character’s speech patterns, views and opinions will enhance his plausibility for the reader. If the writer does not know or understand his characters then there is no hope that reader will, which will result in lack of interest. The characters a writer creating must be living, breathing entities.

4. Point-of-View

Getting the point-of-view right in the novel is a make or break element. Understanding the ramification of getting point-of-view wrong is important for the writer; the difference in succeeding and failing to publish.

For some reason, an explanation of how to maintain the integrity of the point-of-view is difficult to give and understand. But once the new writer has grasped it, it appears quite simple. Basically, the conventions are thus. (a) One point-of-view character per scene. (b) To enter the point-on-view of another character means to begin a new scene.

Multiple points-of-view in any given scene or even a paragraph kills the story for the reader. The reader needs one main character to follow in the story, at the most two. Minor characters will also have their points-of-view in their own scenes, and the reader will accept this because they have already attached their empathy to the main character, but will be curious about being in the minds of other characters also, which better help them understand the plot and action.

5. Conflict

What is conflict and how does it enrich the plot? Conflict is the opposite of harmony. Conflict is what the reader is looking for in a novel as it creates interest and excitement. Conflict can arise as two different characters compete in striving for opposing goals.

Conflict can also occur when one characters is at war with himself, that is, when dubious desires within him clash with guilt and conscience. A character can be in conflict with the elements, where life is at stake.

To sum up, conflict is battle, when opposing forces confront each other. It is all the more exciting for the reader when one opponent is all powerful and the other weak; a David and Goliath situation, if you will.

Conflict is present when the main character has a dominant obstacle to conquer. Most all action is conflict in one degree or another.

These are just five of the many elements that create the publishable novel. It is hard to say which element is the most important, but all have their part to play, and it is in the new writer’s interests to make the extra effort to understand how they work and what they can do in making a success of their writing.

Get Published! What Is a Literary Agent and Why You Need One?

You are an aspiring author who wants to get your self-help book published by a traditional publisher, right?

Then let me ask you a couple of questions.

First, how many acquisition editors do you know personally? “Um, er, well…I don’t know any” is your reply. Do you know which publishing houses are looking for a book like yours? “No, not exactly…” you say. And how many publishing contracts have you personally negotiated? “Well, none actually” you confess.

Exactly! That’s why you need a literary agent.

Successful agents not only know which publishers might have interested in your book, they know the acquisition editors at each publishing house…by name. They have relationships with some of the most important people in your life-the editors who can make your dream of becoming a published author come true.

Some people are a little afraid to use an agent. But you may already use agents for all kinds of enterprises: You probably used an insurance agent to get your health or car insurance. The last time you bought or sold property, you may have had a real estate agent broker the deal. While a lot of people book their plane flights online these days, it’s possible that you’ve relied on travel agents sometime in your life. And while you might not think of an attorney as an agent, lawyers represent you when you’re involved in contested legal matters. There are all kinds of agents who have special expertise and can represent you in many important matters. A literary agent is no different.

But what exactly does a literary agent do?

A literary agent is a publishing professional who represents you and your book to viable publishing houses. Your agent will probably give you ideas about how to strengthen your proposal and, once it’s ready, submit it to publishing houses that are buying your kind of book. Once you get an offer, your literary agent helps you understand the contract, negotiates changes you might want and ultimately transforms you from an aspiring author into a published author. They have relationships with acquisition editors and knowledge about the publishing industry-both of which you don’t have and both of which you need.

Can an agent in the entertainment arena such as movies, television or music properly represent you and your book?

Short answer: No.

A little longer answer: Would you ask your real estate agent to find you the best life insurance policy? Would you want your travel agent representing you in a court of law? Would you want your insurance agent to sell your house? No, no and no. You need a literary agent-the only kind who can get you a publishing contract and properly protect your interests. Remember, the publishing houses have teams of attorneys who carefully write contracts in the best interests of them, not you. They’re not interested in protecting your rights-they are interested in their own. And believe me, there are a number of ways publishing houses can tie your hands if you don’t know how to read the fine print.

Yes, you need someone who knows who and when to call when it’s time to submit your book, what pitfalls may exist in the offered contract and the ability to negotiate on your behalf.