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Tricks of the Trade

This one is going to be short.

There are no tricks of the trade. I wish there were. However, here are some useful things that might help. 1. Don't show all your cards too early. Keep surprises up your sleeve. In genre fiction misdirection is part of the game - lead the reader in an obvious direction and then take a different turn. but don't cheat - your readers will get very angry. Whatever you do, you can't break the story logic or introduce some new and random Deus ex Machina to rescue the plot. ( This rule seems to be different for TV and films which cheat all the time - 'Line of Duty',' Colossal' ? But there you go, I didn't make the rules!) 2. Keep the reader interested. Cliff hangers and other cheap tricks work and can also help to keep the writer engaged. (I try to leave my characters in a horrible situation every day so I have to go back to work to rescue them.) 3 Create characters readers can care about, then torture them. This doesn't have to be literally, though that is an all to common trope. Make life hard for them, obstruct them in everything they do and then - make things worse. I'm not convinced protagonists have to be 'likeable' or 'relateable' but that is what lots of clever people say so you can bear that in mind. 4. Don't overdo it with too much purple prose. Don't be boring and don't go on too long. 5. Deliver a proper ending unless you are writing a series and are G RR Martin/ JK Rowling and your fans will love you anyway. (I have thrown a book across the room before now because it ended in an unresolved way then proceeded to do the same thing in my own writing - twice! It's mean. Don't do it. OTOH there is a theory that it improves sales...)

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