Heya writers/readers/chocolate hoarders (I know you’re out there 😉). Anyway, I kinda feel like if any of y’all have known my really awesome friend, Mahitha, for a while now, it’s kinda obvious I’m not her.
I know we’re all kinda sad about that but don’t worry. I’m only temporarily stealing her blog. Eventually, after I double check that she isn’t one of those aforementioned chocolate hoarders, she’ll be back. *cheers fill the blogosphere* But in the meantime, I thought I’d give y’all a quick writing post!! So who is the girl typing these words exactly? Well, I’m Issabelle. I’m a co-founder of Teen Writers’ Nook and teen published author of YA fantasy. (Oh, yeah, and I love chocolate and The False Prince if you hadn’t figured that out by now. XD) Which brings me to today’s post: Four Things I learned about Writing After Reading The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The False Prince is a fantasy novel from NYT bestselling author, Jennifer A. Nielsen. And, well, after reading that book, it taught me a lot of great things about writing (cuz Nielsen is a genius, end of discussion). So that’s what today’s post is gonna be about! Let’s go!
#1. Don’t waste your opening chapter with boring stuff.
Okay, that was probably not the best way to word that, but seriously. The False Prince immediately opens the story up where stuff is happening! We don’t waste the opening reading about the character waking up and eating breakfast and just living a typical, normal, kinda boring day. HOWEVER, you should still show the normal life for your character at the beginning (it’s a lot more crucial than you’d think), but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. In the opening chapter for The False Prince we see a glimpse of Sage’s normal day (note: a glimpse, we don’t need it spilled out to us). He’s stealing from the meat butcher and is now running for his life. It’s exciting while still giving us an opening that doesn’t rush to the plot point. So, in your opening, show us a normal day for the character, but show us the part that will still draw the reader in from page one and keep us hooked until the inciting incident. (Which, by the way, in The False Prince, the inciting incident occurred at the end of chapter one, so if you’re wondering when is the soonest you can have the inciting incident, end of chapter one is probably the best place to stick it!) Why is this tip important? Because when you’re querying your novel to agents or trying to get people to buy it, where do these people start at? THE BEGINNING! If they’re bored, they’re not gonna continue reading your story which means they’re gonna miss the awesomeness in it!
#2. It taught me a lot about how to write good fight scenes!
If you’re writing a novel with action, most likely you’re gonna have a lot of fight scenes. So this is a REALLY crucial thing to nail. But, if you’ve ever written a fight scene, I think we can all agree, they’re one of the HARDEST things to write. And, when I was struggling with my fight scenes, a common advice I got was to study how other authors wrote there’s, especially the ones you really enjoy. Naturally, I turned to The False Prince, and it’s helped me a lot. So, if you’re struggling to, I do HIGHLY recommend this book. (Well, more of the later ones in the series, like book three, since there’s more fighting. And maybe also try out Nielsen’s The Traitor’s Games series, since again, golden fight scenes!)
#3. You can write characters with unlikable personalities and STILL have the reader cheer for him!
If there’s one thing reading The False Prince and the whole series has taught me, it’s that (1) readers want flawed characters and (2) they don’t have to have likable personalities!!!! So let’s look at Sage, he’s pretty much a fan favorite. But when you start out, well, he’s got a lot of flaws. Like a LOT! And, well, I think that’s one of the reasons I really like him. He’s normal. And if you’re writing a character with an unlikeable personality (*raises hand* I write them all the time!), but if you are, this is probably the BEST book to read. Sage has his unlikable sides, but the reader loves him and cares for him and is always rooting for him. Why? Because Nielsen knew how to make him likeable despite his flaws. And, well, I’m not gonna tell you the trick. You’re just gonna have to read the series and pay close attention to what she’s doing.
#4. It taught me how to foreshadow plot twists
Foreshadowing plot twists is hard. How much do you give the reader? How do you keep them guessing? Nielsen does a great job almost giving you the plot twists, but concealing them by keeping you guessing. And sometimes, her foreshadowing is so small, when the plot twist is revealed, it really catches you off guard. (Read The Scourge by Jennifer Nielsen if you want a really good example of this!). Nielsen’s just the queen at her plot and her plot twists, so, yeah, nuff said. You can learn a lot about epic foreshadowing and just how to write an engaging plot in general by reading literally ANYTHING by her. Even her historical fiction!!!!!!!
So there’s my post! THANK YOU SOOOOOOOOOO MUCH to the lovely Mahitha for allowing me to guest post on here!!!!!! (And for, you know, waiting on me for a month and a half to write this. Y’all she’s just awesome and if that doesn’t prove it, I don’t know what does!) And thank YOU, awesome reader, for taking the time out of your day to read one girls’ crazy rambles. You rock!!!!
Keep on being awesome and never stop writing,
“Hey…did someone say chocolate…?”
And so, Mahitha’s search for chocolate begins.