arrow-right cart chevron-down chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up close menu minus play plus search share user email pinterest facebook instagram snapchat tumblr twitter vimeo youtube subscribe dogecoin dwolla forbrugsforeningen litecoin amazon_payments american_express bitcoin cirrus discover fancy interac jcb master paypal stripe visa diners_club dankort maestro trash

Shopping Cart

The 8 Specific Elements to Writing a Bestselling Novel

by Writing Workshops Staff

2 years ago

The 8 Specific Elements to Writing a Bestselling Novel

by Writing Workshops Staff

2 years ago

Hugely successful books have specific elements that set them apart and cause them to rise to the top of the pile and get readers enthusiastically telling their friends to read them.

While there are plenty more elements that novelists must master—a cast of great characters, masterful plot and structure, for example—the 8 specific elements of bestselling novels are often ignored or minimized.
Yet, if writers nail these brilliantly, their novel will stand high above the masses published every day. 
It takes a lot to write purposeful scenes that are carefully constructed to accomplish the important work of advancing your plot.
Another challenge for writers wanting to craft a bestselling novel is they must create and build meaningful tension, revealing crucial character bits, and manipulating readers’ emotions so they will feel what you want them to feel.
Here are 8 essential elements to writing a bestselling novel in your own manuscript:

1) High Moment and Character Change: You have to know the specific purpose of your scene, build to a key moment at the end (last lines) of your scene, which creates change in your character.

2) Microtension on every page. All points to the secrets and twists to come. What are you not saying simmers under the surface of your scenes. This will make or break your story. Discussion of critical action-reaction cycle.

3) Nuances of deep POV, including unique voices for every character. It's important to establish character mood, mind-set, and motivation right from the start.

4) Sensory detail. Going beyond five senses, using specific wording to set mood and tone for the scene. What the character processes through her senses should reveal important things about her and not merely convey information.

5) Emotional manipulation—you must know how you want your readers to feel and how to get them there. And you need to masterfully learn how to show emotion in three key ways.

6) High Stakes! High, believable personal and public stakes that ramp up to the climax.

7) Purposeful backstory in the right amounts and the right places.

8) Tight, distilled dialogue. It makes or break a scene. We'll look at "on the nose" dialogue and discuss dialogue mechanics. Characters rarely say what they mean, but what they need seeps through.

If you're looking for a guide, consider one of our upcoming fiction workshops!

How to Get Published