I have a love-hate relationship with the Star Wars prequels.
On the one hand, there are some things I think the movies genuinely did well and some ideas which were genuinely interesting. On the other hand, I’ll gladly admit the movies didn’t always communicate its ideas in an interesting way.
That’s one of the harder lessons you have to learn as a writer: you can have the best ideas, but the story won’t work if you execute them poorly.
Here are three things to watch out for as you develop your story.
1. Does the Dialogue Feel Natural?
The words which characters say usually play a big part of communicating your story’s plot points or help illustrate the major themes.
So, depending on what ideas your story explores, your characters need to say certain things. This is particularly true if you’re writing something like Ayn Rand’s book Atlas Shrugged that has plenty of political or philosophical commentary.
However, you need to make sure the dialogue is also believable. If the way characters say certain things doesn’t fit their personalities, or the words don’t sound like something people would actually say out loud, then readers will miss the point.
2. Does the Style Create Interest?
The way you describe a scene can have as much impact as what actually happens in the scene.
On one level, this means you must know what kind of reactions you want your audience to have. You can take a given action and make it seem sad, funny, scary or heroic depending on how you present it. One episode of the TV show Mr. Bean shows the main character doing some very selfish things, but the tone makes these actions seem funny instead.
On a deeper level, this means you must make actions seem interesting. Develop your writing style and descriptions so that your readers can relate to your characters and the world you’ve created. Do this well and even simple stories (such as ones taking place in a single room) can be compelling.
3. Do the Scenes Capture the Ideas?
Whatever actions or interactions you show in your story, they need to capture your ideas in the best possible way.
However, reaching that point means you occasionally need to change scenes in ways you didn’t expect.
You may need to fully show a scene that you only summarized. You may need to move scenes into a different order to change the overall effect.
What’s a writing tip you’ve learned to make ideas shine? Let us know in the comments!
G. Connor Salter has had over 150 articles published, including contributions to Aphotic Realm and Area of Effect. His ebook Sunrise Over Beijing is available through Amazon.