When you first start writing a novel, you’re writing a story that follows a character or multiple characters; generally, you’re writing from your own head in expressing immediate ideas and observations that you see your characters experiencing. You try to be detailed as possible. Even though it’s told behind the eyes of characters in your book, it’s still considered your diary, because only you understand it’s depth.
Because this isn’t “The Diary of Anne Frank,” a nonfiction written by a girl for herself, you should consider your reader’s perspective on the story. To do this, you take your raw “diary” format of your story and revise it and take it to an editor. The goal is to avoid “Why did this happen?” Or “why did they do that?” Or even “this relationship is fake.”
You can add and change things for the readers so they can understand what you mean. Writers take many years to perfect their novels, gearing them toward their audience. However, when authors go under contract and are asked to kick out a book every year, this sometimes takes away from the process. The “diary” format within the year-old story is more raw than it should be, and it irritates the reader when not clarified.
Actions speak louder than words. Everything your character says in dialogue will be trumped by your character’s actions. The only thing that can trump actions is a character’s thoughts:
Be brutally honest. If you can’t think of what your characters are thinking at that moment, try to relate to them on an emotional level. If they’re feeling confused, write something like, “I have no clue why that happened,” after the character has happy dialogue with someone else. Maybe the character is feeling nervous, but their actions are jumpy and vibrant. Directly after you say, “They raced to the pole to see who could get there quicker,” write a thought like,” I should be at home taking care of Jesse.” Even if your actions, dialogue, and thoughts all have the same feeling, your readers will still appreciate your character, relating to them more then that they’re confident in what they’d suspected was true. Even if your readers can’t relate to the actions or dialogue your characters make, there will still be some sympathy toward their thoughts.
Tip: If you want an even more realistic story, think about how your other characters are feeling as your main character is off observing and feeling by themselves. If one character is away being stressed, how will they react to your character that is happy when they come together in the next chapter?
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