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By Cheryl Bur

If you want to keep your reader interested and caring about what happens in your story, your writing must be vivid and your action compelling. No one wants to read a story that plods along without touching their emotions.

Plot Techniques

Put your characters through hell. The more dangerous, embarrassing, or hopeless their condition is, the more fun.

Let things get as bad as they can possibly get, and then a little worse. Your reader must always know there's no way out for the character.

Characters need qualities that will get them into trouble. The need to be determined, bold, sassy, defiant, and tough. Never nice.

Plan plot twists to keep the reader from finding the story predictable, but keep it natural and logical.

Writing Tips

Use only the perfect word. Do not settle for anything less than the most vivid and descriptive word you can think of.

Avoid cliches. Keep your words fresh and original.

Be clear and consise. Say what you want and then move on. Do not drag it out.

Don't repeat sentence beginnings or words. This will make your writing dull and the reader will think you lack imagination.

Use sentences of different lengths. Mix short and long, simple and complex sentences.

Avoid using sentences more than thirty words long, or the reader will lose the meaning of the sentence.

Edit, edit, edit. Your story can only get better.

Join a critique group. If they say only good things, find another group.

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