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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Featured Writers Series: Susan Wingate

Quality Fiction
Six Ways to Add Depth in Your Writing
©by Susan Wingate

Quality fiction is built from several key elements in your storytelling. If a story doesn’t ring true it’s usually because one or more essential elements are not developed to its fullest.

Particularly, the onus is upon the author to give us indications of what you are trying to say with your story. In other words, “what is your point?” Why should the reader feel it necessary to read your story and what profound message are you trying to get across to the reader?

As readers, we want a writer’s teaching to be earth-shaking, thought-provoking, and something we hadn't thought of before. Readers want works of fiction that have something of importance to say. They want an engaging story written in a beautiful style, yes. However, it’s not good enough for style and grammar to carry a story. Meaning behind the story should evoke emotions in the readers and make them feel changed upon finishing the book. The story should resonate in the very core of your reader.

A good amount of time spent with these six elements, time of concerted effort and concentration can help you build a succulent story that readers will remember long after putting it down. These elements are:

1. Point of View (POV) – Whether writing in 1st, 2nd or 3rd person, your story’s POV should feel organic to the story. It should never feel forced. Certain genres are given to certain POV. For instance, many mystery novels are written in 1st person or 3rd person close so that the reader only sees action that the character who is solving the mystery will see.

2. Voice – This is a concept that eludes some writer yet is really not that difficult to understand. Voice is how you, the writer, tell a story. My voice sounds a lot like me if you had me in a conversation and I was talking about something or someone.

3. Character Development – Your characters should feel real and be sympathetic – or people with whom the reader can relate. Most people are not always good and most aren’t always bad. They should feel human and have human thoughts and desires, wishes and hates, just like real people. They should be complex and the readers should care about and identify with them.

4. Plot – Different genres adopt different plots – mysteries adopt the riddle, romances adopt the love story. Literary fiction adopts more character-driven plots where plot is secondary to the story. As a writer it is your responsibility to learn the different elements within each different kind of plot. The plot should be logical when applied to the story and should be believable.

5. Pace – Makes the reader want to turn the next page and read what comes next. It’s the way the story builds and ebbs – it’s the flow of the story. Sometimes a story gets quick around very important action and sometimes it slows down in important narrative, sometimes these two reverse. Your storytelling should embody a roller-coaster effect. It should never be full-on fast and steady or very slow either. Rereading for pace is an important step in editing your manuscript.

6. Plausibility – Making your characters believable and putting them into plausible conflict is crucial to a reader buying into the story. As well as making the conflict plausible, your characters’ setting must be part and parcel to the story’s world. The story’s world is made up not only of people but place, voice, and point of view. Another way to understand plausibility is to ask yourself, “if I read this would I think it could happen?”

Depth in writing is a critical make-it-or-break-it aspect of getting published. The more you concentrate on each of these six elements within your story, the greater your chances of getting published.

Susan Wingate’s website -
Susan Wingate’s blog -
For more information about Susan Wingate’s virtual book tour and her full schedule at


  1. Thank you for hosting me while I traverse the world on "Bobby's Diner" blog tour. What a fabulous blog this is. Teaching the art of writing is one of my passions. Keep up the great work!
    Sincerely, Susan.

  2. This is a fantastic list here. I am blown away and became very excited while reading this. As a writer not could relate to much of it but I've heard some of these points over the years...but NEVER listed all in one place like this. I LOVE it and will keep this list as it a wonderful tool to refer to while writing. Thank you both Mar and Susan. I will also check out Susan's site. I love the sense of passion in her writing just in this piece alone.

  3. Hello Robn!
    Thanks for your kind words about the list. I love the art of teaching, especially teaching the craft of writing. I've been a writing instructor now for going on 4 years and it's the best part of my work sometimes.

    Anyway, thanks for posting while on my blog tour. I appreciate your comments.
    -Sincerely, Susan Wingate

  4. It's looking good thank you. I really like your site. It's very friendly! - Veronica


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