Friday, July 1, 2011

Guest Post by Cheryl Rainfield

How To Make Your Writing Gripping and Powerful 
Cheryl Rainfield, author of SCARS

When writing is powerful it grips readers, immerses them in the story and doesn't let them go until the end. But how do you do that?
Here is what I think helps:

-Write about something that matters deeply to you. Be passionate about the issues. Readers will sense your passion.

-Write your own truths and emotions into the fiction. This helps to make the writing stronger, make the events more real for your readers. Readers know when you're not being honest or you're not going deep enough, and truth strikes a chord in the reader.

-Give your characters depth and layers. Make sure they're not one-dimensional. When characters have depth, readers care about them more, and about what happens to those characters.

-Keep a thread of tension throughout the manuscript, ramping it up when you need to. Tension and conflict drive a story forward.
 Make sure that your story events all lead to the climax, otherwise it feels like a let down or a betrayal.

-Help the reader relate to your main character. Make your main character easy to identify with and empathize with (though your main character must also have flaws--people don't want to read about a perfect character, though they also don't usually want to read about a character who doesn't want to redeem themselves in some way).

-Draw on your own emotions to write. Don't hide from it. Emotions make a story feel more true, and are something readers can relate to, regardless of whether they've had that specific experience or not.

-Use specifics when you write. Bring in details (but not too many--make sure you sprinkle them throughout the action and dialogue so they don't stop the story flow). Specific details also help make the story world and events more real.

-Use all the senses--smell, touch, taste, hearing, and sight, to help the reader really be in your character and world.

And of course, get feedback on your writing. A good critique group is highly worthwhile.

Thank you, Cheryl, for sharing this with everyone. Here's Cheryl's Blog, so be sure to drop by and say hi.


  1. Excellent post, Cheryl. How true, that passion cannot be faked and is needed if you want to connect with your readers.
    Thanks for bringing us your guest!

  2. Great post! I find my weakest point is that I keep letting my characters find their way out of trouble too quickly. Trying to work on that... :)

  3. Yes, Jemi. Guess that's because we love those characters so much. Have to fight that tendency.

  4. Very good advice, Cheryl. Thanks for helping me "get a grip."

  5. Great post! I love how you say to draw on your own emotions when writing. Who said, "no tears for the author, no tears for the reader"? Also, I read recently that good writing is scraping the soul--it should hurt a little. :)

  6. I wish I was born with the passion to write, I am amazed daily by the skills I have read.

  7. Wow, this totally makes me want to read SCARS. Another book on the TBR pile. Thanks Cheryl.

  8. Thanks all. Glad to have Cheryl here for a visit and glad you stopped in to comment.

  9. Ooh, this is definitely author's fodder. I'm going to shout it out on face book. I love how this post screams be true to yourself, it's so refreshing compared to many that I've read where it feels rigid and daunting. Thank you for the faith to trust ourselves! *Hugs*

    btw, thank you for visiting my Darkspell Celebration!

    Can Alex save Winter from the darkness that hunts her?
    YA Paranormal Romance, Darkspell coming fall of 2011!
    Pre-order your copy now!

  10. Great post, jam packed with valuable advice. I'll hop over to Cheryl's blog. Thanks for hosting Cheryl, Lee.

  11. Thanks so much for having Cheryl as a guest blogger! Thank you Cheryl for the wonderful writing advice. Going to follow your blog too.

  12. Such good tips. We all need these reminders now and then.

  13. Great video/interview of you! And great info about writing with passion.

  14. Wow, Cheryl, great points. The "thread of tension" is a great image that will stick in my head from now on. Thanks for the advice.


Please say something to me, anything. Well, not anything, but a kind word will do.