The Ten Commandements

I am happy to belong to a group of successful authors on Main Street, but I am dedicating this post to the readers who wish to start a book and to the beginner writers who struggle to improve.

While I was editing my manuscript, I wrote a few must, that I called my Ten Commandements for editing. They were inspired by famous instructors.

Someone said that creating a good book is ten percent writing and ninety-percent editing. These statistics may or may not be true.  While I try to write my first draft as fast as I can to let the story flow, I certainly spend a lot of time polishing my manuscripts before sending them to an editor. Here are the ten commandments I learned from editors, successful authors, mentors or workshop instructors:

  • Hook your reader with your best first sentence, first paragraph, first page. (Mary Buckham)
  • Leave your reader in suspense with a grabbing hook at the end of each scene and each chapter. ( Mary Buckham again)
  • Avoid introspection in the first three chapters or first fifty pages. (Donald Maass)
  • Stay in the present. I still hear the late and wonderful Kate Duffy repeating: “Stay in the present. Don’t tell me the back story of your characters. Let us discover it through their actions as the story develops.”
  • Show, don’t tell. A reviewer made my day when he posted a review of my sweet and spicy, medical romance, BABIES IN THE BARGAIN, on Harlequin website. He wrote: “Babies in the Bargain” could serve as an object lesson on how to ‘show’ and not ‘tell’ a story. You always know exactly what the characters are feeling, indeed, for the most part you ‘feel’ along with them. It’s a great read.
  • Change setting when you change scenes to avoid boring the reader. Change POV to better show the emotion.
  • Pepper your dialogue with emotion.
  • Add sensorial details that make us feel, see, hear, smell with the hero and heroine.
  • Show the emotional development. (From an editor at Mills& Boon) You should see a definite increase of attraction from scene to scene until the love scene fall in place.
  • Raise the stakes. (Donald Mass)

Here is an extra and most important commandment:

Create lovable characters. If your characters are weak or do not appeal to the reader, the reader will not connect with them and the best plot will fall apart. I received a very nice praise from NY bestselling author Roxanne St. Claire that I used on my bookmarks: “Mona Risk writes heroes with heart, heroines with spunk, in stories and settings that are simply unforgettable.” This praise can apply to the authors on Main Street. 20140805-082123-30083560.jpg

And here are famous quotes by famous writers:

All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary – it’s just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences~~Somerset Maugham.

The secret of becoming a writer is to write, write and keep on writing~~ Ken MacLeod

We do not write because we want to; we write because we have to~~ Somerset Maugham

The greatest rules of dramatic writing are conflict, conflict and conflict~~ James Frey

Mona Risk recently received an OUTSTANDING ACHIEVER Award at Affaire de Coeur Magazine. She’s a two time winner of Best Contemporary Romance of the Year at Readers Favorite, a winner of Best Romance Novel of the Year at Preditors & Editors Readers Poll, and an EPPIE award finalist.
Mona Risk’s name was posted on Amazon.com in the 100 most Popular Authors in Romance list for several months and her books have garnered: Top Picks; Outstanding Read; Sweetheart of the Week; Best Book of the Week at various reviewers, and received two mentions in Publisher’s Weekly.

She had published several boxed sets of romance novels:
Holiday Babies Series–Christmas Babies, Valentine Babies, and Mother’s Day Babies.
Doctor’s Orders Boxed Set: Babies in the Bargain, Right Name, Wrong Man, and No More Lies.
Foreign Lovers–Her Greek, Tycoon, Her French Count, Her Russian Hero, and Neighbors and More.

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4 Responses to The Ten Commandements

  1. Carol says:

    Absolute attention-grabbing words. Short and to the point, yet filled with valuable information. Weddings on Main Street is full of great stories I can’t wait for their next boxed set of stories.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. leighmorgan1 says:

    Succinct and well received. Thanks, Mona. It’s good to be reminded!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. E. Ayers says:

    The first thing a writer has to do is write a story. From that point forward, it is work! Otherwise it’s only a story.
    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Joan Reeves says:

    Great advice, Mona. I shared it with Stumble Upon.

    Like

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