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Writing Books/Good plot but poor story-telling skills.


Hello.  Thank you so much for volunteering your time and advice.  I've read some of your past answers and they are very kind and encouraging.

I am writing my first book.  It is fiction.  The subject matter involves a teenage girl who is the only unremarkable/untalented member of her family.

Since I started writing this book, it's all I want to do.  I even dream about my characters and plot.  I have developed a great story and intriguing characters.  I am having so much fun writing this book.  My problem is translating the story from my head onto paper.  When I read what I have written, it seems so amatuerish.  The plot is interesting, my characters develop and grow, the grammar is correct.  But there is more to a good book than that.  What can I do to improve my story-telling skills?

Hello Kara:

One of the problems emerging writers face - almost without exception - is an inability to judge their work, to know whether it's good or not. They are just too close to the material. It takes years of reading, writing and rewriting before you are in a position to objectively assess your writing. I would suggest you put that aside for now and continue writing your story. First drafts are invariably pretty crappy, but they can be fixed in a rewrite, or two. Your goal right now is to keep having fun and keep writing until you have a first draft finished.

Once that is done, your best bet is to find a professional to help you with your second draft. This may cost you a bit, but if you choose wisely it will save you from 1) wallowing around for months or even years by yourself or 2) writing and rewriting and rewriting draft after draft until you are satisfied with your work. Trust me, even if your book is published and becomes a best seller, you will still think of things you should have put in, and left out. That's just part of the game.

Another, very important thing: make sure your book is about something. Jealosy, the detrimental effect of anger, or love, or something, and make sure you have something interesting or helpful to say about your subject.

At my website,, I offer mentoring/editing services
at a very reasonable price.

I hope this helps. If it does, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my high scores over 1350+ questions.

And good luck with your writing!

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Susan Rand


I can answer questions about the elements of fiction and non-fiction writing: how to get started, writing techniques, re-writing, etc. I will NOT write for you, do critiques except from my website at, or give you ideas. I will not answer home-or-schoolwork questions in any category. If English is your second language, please say so, and I will make an exception. Please submit no more than one or two questions at once, as I tend to go into detail in my answers.


I wrote my first book in 1957 and have been writing and studying writing since. I have a BA in Written Communications, and have taught writing both privately and through adult education for 15 years. Have also edited (fiction books) for an online publisher and edited/wrote more than 100 articles for a teen sex education site. Currently writing web content and mentoring beginning writers.

BA degree in Written Communication

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