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How To Write An Unforgettable Novel
Kathryn Brown Ramsperger -- Author & Intuitive Life Coach(R) Kathryn Brown Ramsperger -- Author & Intuitive Life Coach(R)
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Rockville, MD
Thursday, March 4, 2021


What makes a good, unforgettable novel? Better yet, what makes a good, unforgettable novel great? Think of all the books you’ve read over the years; which ones stand out? What novels were real page-turners and which ones did you shelf or give away after drudging through the first three chapters? Was it the characters that captivated you, or the plot line, or both? Can you describe what held your interest? There are certain elements of a good story that captivates readers, and utilizing these key components will help you write an unforgettable novel.

Your novel should have a strong opening.

The premise doesn’t have to be gripping, but the opening paragraphs do. The story idea can be simple or even formulaic (boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy wins girl back) as long as other elements hook readers and hold their interest. For instance, how does the boy meet the girl? In a coffee shop or while skydiving? Why does he lose the girl? Because of burnt toast or because the skydiving instructor sabotaged her parachute? How does he win the girl back? With flowers and an apology or because he sits by her bedside in the hospital for six months while she recovers from major injuries? An unforgettable novel has an  unforgettable beginning.

Use powerful descriptions.

To sustain a reader’s interest, the story should be descriptive where possible. “She fell on her way to the mailbox and found a note” is not as intriguing as, “She sprinted down the driveway toward the mailbox, tripping over a brick that hadn’t been there before. As she wiped dirt from her skinned knees, she noticed a cryptic message scrawled on the brick; ‘You’ll regret what you did.’”

In the examples above, the first is too mundane. The second description is compelling, leading the reader to visualize the event and wonder what the character did for someone to throw a brick into her yard. Does she have enemies? Was the note from a jilted lover? Why was she in a hurry to check the mail; was she expecting an important letter or package? You want to provoke the kind of questions in a reader’s mind that compels them to want to find answers.

Have strong and distinct characters.

It can be helpful to write out a personality profile for each of the characters in your novel. It’s okay in some instances for tertiary characters to be “cardboard cutouts,” but your main ones need to have depth and believability. Resist the temptation to make the hero perfect or the heroine without flaws. Antagonists need not be totally reprobate; even Darth Vader—although evil—didn’t start out that way. The characters should draw readers in; they should have some qualities that the average person can identify with or at least understand. Give variety to their appearance, temperaments, and speech patterns.

Be sure to show and tell.

It’s essential to have a good balance of both showing and telling. While action is certainly important, don’t be afraid to use narrative to tell what is happening in the story. A story usually cannot be effectively moved along through dialogue alone, especially if your novel is set in different era or different world. As writers, we’ve been taught to show, not tell, but there really needs to be a healthy portion of both. Think of yourself as a tour guide taking your audience to new places. There are times you’ll need to point out certain landmarks or the significance of a location. Just be sure it is relevant to the story.

Good dialogue should add to the story and help move it along.

Think strategically when it comes to dialogue. In movies, nothing is accidental. Colors, backgrounds, clothing, scenery, the weather, product placement (the main character holding a Pepsi or a Miller Lite), and every prop is there for a reason. The actors make every word count. Likewise in a good novel, every word or conversation spoken between characters should serve a purpose. Yet, not only their words, but their demeanor and body language carries weight as well.

Use ebb and flow through the story.

Every page from start to finish should not be a reflection of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. Non-stop action in a 300-page book will leave readers mentally breathless. Conversely, Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood page after page will put readers to sleep (no offense to Mr. Roger’s legacy).

The scenes should have a proper balance of ebb and flow, building tension as you take readers to peaks, and then giving them a respite. This ebb and flow, tension and release, works hand in hand as readers are propelled toward the ultimate climax.

End your story well.

Whether your novel has a happy ending or a sad one, bring resolution to the reader. Tie up loose ends. Leave your audience satisfied that all the time, energy, and emotions that they put into reading your book took them somewhere gratifying and didn’t leave them stranded.

You know you’ve hit the target when a reader wants to hang onto the book and read it again in the future or they recommend it to their friends. Writing an unforgettable novel isn’t impossible; it’s a matter of immersing yourself in the story and making it come alive.

It is likely your story is already unforgettable on its own, but writing it into an unforgettable novel can seem insurmountable sometimes. I can help provide you with the tools and methods to step into your story and share it with the world! Contact me here for a free 15-minute consultation to get started.

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Kathryn Brown Ramsperger
Title: Author & Coach
Group: Ground One LLC
Dateline: North Bethesda, MD United States
Direct Phone: 301-503-5150
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