How to Write a Successful Story using my #10 TOP WRITING Secrets

Do you want a story that connects with the reader? Leaving them begging for more? A story that is publishable and in big demand? … Then follow my #10 Secrets for a successful story.

Image Danilo Rizzuti/FreeDigitalPhotosnet

Image Danilo Rizzuti/FreeDigitalPhotosnet

My #10 Top Writing Secrets

Create an original, intriguing story and let the reader know in chapter one what the premise is

Start your story at a dramatic pivotal entry point into the plot

Compel your Reader to care deeply about the main character from the very start

Express your main characters hopes and motivations early on in your story. What does your main character really want? What do they fear?

Connect the Reader emotionally to the main POV character using sharp dialogue, personal thoughts and emotive body language

Orientate and anchor each new scene with SHOWING detail so the reader knows exactly where and when they are. Illustrate your scenes in the most cinematic way possible … Utilize the five senses

Include scenes and characters which push the story forward

Amp your nouns and verbs to the max where possible. Create strong vocabulary and images that project your story forward

Challenge your character to a series of conflicts and a brick wall trials which they fail to achieve, until the final climax

Share your story with your writing buddies, let them critique it and follow the advice that resonates within you

Where did I learn the craft of story making?
In my beginner days, award-winning authors Anita Bell and Katherine Howell revealed their secrets in one-to-one private consultations. Then I completed two six month writing courses with the Queensland Writers Centre … the Year of the Edit with Kim Wilkins and the Short Story Development series with Kate Eltham. Editors Selena Hanet-Hutchins and Sally Odgers shared their editing and writing expertise with me.

Last year I won a mentorship with the Society of Editors QLD. Generous publishers have offered personalized detailed feedback … I have much to be grateful for 🙂

Why reveal my secrets today?

This week I critiqued two writing buddies stories, sharing what works in their story as well as what doesn’t work. We all need a critique buddy or two to support us. We cannot see flaws in our own writing as we’re much too close.

This Saturday, I in turn will hear from members of one of my writing groups as they deliver critiques on my first two chapters. My only desire is to remain open-minded, so I can reap the benefits of their constructive feedback.

I’m on a HUGE learning curve with my writing … I’ll continue  to learn, fine tune and expand my writing skills and ONLY my Writing Colleagues can HELP ME !!

How has a writing course, an editor or critique buddy helped to improve your writing?

What VIP writing lessons have you learned along the way as a writer?

NB. This BLOG is edited.KT.

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13 comments to How to Write a Successful Story using my #10 TOP WRITING Secrets

  • Lee

    Thanks Karen for these writing tips. You’ve given me much to think about as I’m just finished my first draft.

  • Hi Lee, Glad my writing tips were helpful. Love to share and help others writers along the way. That’s exactly what my writing colleagues have done for me:))

  • Some great tips there Karen, especially the second last one ‘Challenge your character’ – great advice, thanks.

  • anon

    Excuse me, but what makes you think you are an authority on this matter? Have you had a novel published? Then why do you think anyone should take your advice?

  • Thanks Kristy, Glad you like my writing tips. When I’m planning my novels I think of the most challenging trials I can put my character through. Then I up the ante again. Karen :))

  • Anon, thank you for dropping by :)) You’ve asked a very good question which I’ll try to answer.
    I have #5 completed books of which #3 Publishers have requested and are considering for publishing.
    One of my short stories is already published and another one will be published February next year in an anthology in the USA.
    For three years I’ve lead a writing group and share my critiquing skills free of charge with others and have watched my fellow writer’s craft develop.
    My blogs are researched thoroughly and are my honest opinions of what has worked for me and for other writers.
    Please check my list of mentors on the blog post. They’re the leading writers in Australia. I have much to be grateful for :))
    I wish you all the best in your writing 🙂

  • Thanks Rebecca. Love to read one of your fiction stories one day :))

  • Thanks for these tips, Karen. They will help guide me as I tackle my novel. One thing we don’t need is negative comments…but I guess that’s just part of the process 😉

  • Hi Carol,
    As I was putting up my post today I had an inkling someone would challenge my expertise in writing these tips.
    I tried to address their criticism as best I could. See BELOW.
    Glad my “secrets” were helpful. Good luck with your Year of the Novel 🙂

  • Hey Karen,
    Only just got around to reading this post! It’s great. So many fantastic tips (which, btw, you are more than qualified to answer, even if you weren’t published). I especially love the ‘challenge your character” tip. I think sometimes we get a bit ‘precious’ about our characters and almost try to make it easy for them (like we do our children, I guess!). This was a good reminder to keep the pressure on them to make a compelling and page turning story.
    Thanks so much for posting 🙂
    PS. The other thing I would say to ‘anon’ is that many of the great sporting coaches have never won medals, yet they coach people to do just that. Just because someone is not published does not make their tips and comments any less valid, correct or encouraging.

  • Hi Susannah,
    Fabulous to discover you again on my website. Thanks so much for your supportive comments. Everything I blog about is backed up by two six-month writing courses at QWC, research and my personal experiences. Glad you found the “Writing Secrets” helpful :))

  • Hi KIDS WRITERS and Illustrators and other creative talent: We are interested in publishing and adapting your content for interactive, mobile devices.

    Interested in our cooperation project ?
    michael {at}

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