1. Do not kill the dog.
You can kill anyone. Good guy, bad guy. Heck, you can kill off a kid (if that’s the kind of novel you’re writing) but you can’t kill a dog.
If the dog gets hurt, he should be recovering by the end of the book.
2. True love never dies.
I saw a book recently where I had read another story by this author. She had killed off the soul mate forever-love our hero had got back together with after years of separation. The hero was now going to fall for someone new.
3. Children either make or break the book.
It’s a fact, having a kid as a secondary character and they will either steal the show or the reader won’t believe they’re real.
Think about it. My 2 year old speaks in single words: “Me. Go. Car.” But your two year old might use sentences, or not even be talking at all. So if you tell the reader this kid is “two years old”, it could be normal to me, or throw me for a total loop.
I’m curious to know if I can write a book and never actually mention how old the child is. Just have them interacting however they do, developmentally and you’ll have to make up your own mind how old they are.
4. Actions speak louder than words
We’ve all heard, “show don’t tell” until we’re sick of it. Then we read a book where it’s done over and over until we’re ready to throw out our laptop and never bother writing another word if this is the kind of junk people are coming up with these days.
Then I read “Plot and Structure” by James Scott Bell (pretty much all of his writing books are golden) and he said that some telling is okay.
The man’s a genius.
5. Plausible Insanity
Your novel has to be so justified, that the unbelievable seems completely reasonable. Because fiction isn’t real, it’s some wacked out facsimile of life that is WAY more exciting. Otherwise, why would entertainment be called “escapism” if we aren’t getting sucked in to something in order to avoid the drama in the world that’s too real?
Lisa Phillips is an Inspirational Romantic Suspense author who would much rather get lost in fiction than change diapers. She's an ex-pat Brit who leads worship with her husband at their local church. Her first book, a Love Inspired Suspense called The Ultimate Betrayal, will be released summer 2014