In the 21st Century, writers are facing several challenges in the classical method of writing novels. TV shows, movies, and games have captured the attention of a sizeable chunk of prospect readers. Some writers may be courageous enough to apply their creativity to generating games, shows, and movies, but for the rest of us, there is still a sizable demographic of readers left for you to impress.
To capture a reader’s scattered attention in the era of distractions, one must write something unique. Now, this is challenging with a lot of books out there, so some ideas have been written multiple times by different authors. I have experienced this before when advocating for someone to review my book. The reviewer declined because they felt my story sounded too similar to another book. However, a phrase that fits this situation is: ‘… there is something to be said about the journey.’ By this, I mean that as similar as two stories may be, none could ever be exactly the same as the one you write.
A novel is comprised of 60-80k words or more. Anything less than 80k words is a short story. With the steep increase in self-publishing in the last few years, a growing trend has been to write shorter editions by breaking the story up into several volumes to maximize their given revenue. One can think of this as the rising popularity of miniseries and movies with sequels and prequels, as opposed to standalone movies that don’t exist in a larger series.
Another tip is to write a story for a different medium, such as writing video games. Gone are the days of poor graphics and paper-thin plots. There has been a large influx in story-focused games in the last few years, which contain deep narratives and character growth. Video games don’t restrict you to a single genre, either. RPGs, horror games, and visual novels (to name a few) are all starting to feature story-driven gameplay and have seen great success.
Lastly, scriptwriting can move a writer into the realm of writing movies and TV shows. For the last 100+ years, scriptwriting has been relatively straightforward and systematic. This style of writing focuses primarily on stage directions and dialogue and can be detail-heavy or light, based on a screenwriter’s preference, story, and style. Scripts are usually 100 pages long but can be even less for individual TV or miniseries episodes. A show’s season is usually 6-10 episodes, but these are often split up between multiple writers.
Writing can seem like a challenge now, but advancing outside of your comfort zone to try a new medium or style could be a valuable learning experience and a way to expand and hone your skills.
Written by Dennis Scheel
Dennis Scheel has always had stories running in his head but was unable to tell them until after his accident, which left him mute and paralyzed on his right side. After he worked his way back through recovery, he wanted to try to tell his story once more after an acquaintance told him he was talented at writing poetry. Prior to that, his ex had convinced him not to write for ten years by insisting that he had no aptitude for writing. This time, Dennis tried writing his stories in English for the first time. Finally, he succeeded and has never stopped writing since. The effort has produced three stellar novels:
No Way Back- The Underworlds
Taken With a Dark Desire: The Underworlds
Rejecting Destiny: The Underworlds
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