3 Tips for Writing Stories Someone Might Actually Want to Read

currently playing on my iPod: Oceans by Twin Atlantic

Want your novel to not suck? Try these three techniques.

1. Figure out what you LOVE about your favorite movies/TV shows and include whatever-that-is in your story.


I love BBC America’s The Musketeers because it has history, fantastic costuming, romance, fighting, and a setting in which I would happily spend a lifetime.


Harry Potter is one of my faves. I love the gothic setting and the friendship arc between the main characters. Also, magic.


Ah, Game of Thrones. While I wish it would tone down the graphicness, I adore the dragons, the historical feel, and the characters that are neither good nor bad.

So it’s obvious I’m a fan of magic, rich settings (that’s why I can’t get psyched for dystopians—white space suits and plastic decor aren’t for me), history, and deep characters.

2. Reread your favorite novels and include in your story the parts you love the most.

Deb Harkness’ A Discovery of Witches has romance, magic, and history. Perfect. I even adored the slower paced parts, because I just wanted to roll around in the setting.

In Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, I loved the herb lore, the history, magic, and romance. Plus, it’s set in the Scottish Highlands and later in France.

Maggie Stiefvater’s The Scorpio Races weaves very believable magic and characters I want to grow up to be.

8667848 284px-Gabaldon_outlander Scorpio-paperback-website

Once again, we see magic, history, romance, setting, and deep characters as important to me. Are they to you?

3. Now stick to what you like, what you watch, what you read. Don’t try to please everyone in your critique group, family, the universe. Please yourself as a reader and those who have similar tastes in fiction. If you try to tailor your story to thrill every reader, it will thrill no readers. 

What are your favorite elements in entertainment?

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6 Responses to 3 Tips for Writing Stories Someone Might Actually Want to Read

  1. Kory Wells says:

    You make some great points, Alisha. I realized not long ago how much I love reading magical realism and thought “Why isn’t that an element of my novel in progress?” So I’m contemplating that. And I have to add to your comments on The Musketeers – I also love what strong female characters – both ones to love and ones to hate – are featured!

  2. Jeyna Grace says:

    True. You can’t entertain everyone, but you can definitely entertain some.

  3. Debbie says:

    Those are exactly the things I like: an interesting historical setting, complex characters, a satisfying romance, and a dash of magic. Great last line!

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