WritersRoad Chat: Key Elements of a Bestseller

Last week on the writer's road chat on Twitter, our topic was: Key Elements of a Bestseller. Here are the highlights: 

@HeatherMcCorkle Element #1 is a compelling voice, which is easier said than done sometimes. #WritersRoad

HeatherMcCorkle So what makes a character's voice compelling? Someone interesting, unique in their own ways. #WritersRoad

Tina_Moss Needs to be different voices for each character. If they all sound the same, then uniqueness is lost. #writersroad

HeatherMcCorkle Voice is: The sum total of what your characters observe, think, feel, and express in their own unique way. From Writers Digest. #WritersRoad

HeatherMcCorkle A great voice, one people want to read and get to know, is the strongest selling point a novel can have.#WritersRoad

Tina_Moss Don't be afraid to take the character's voice to the edge. Authenticity over "correctness". #writersroad

HeatherMcCorkle One of the best ways to make your character unique and compelling is to really get into them and develop them deeply. #WritersRoad

akabins This is where the fun comes in of having multiple POV chars. (Different scenes though, never head hop)

HeatherMcCorkle Element #2 of a bestseller: Tried and Tested Characters. In other words, put them through the ringer!#WritersRoad

akabins When characters take on a life of their own, then you know they're ready #writersroad

Tina_Moss Do not show mercy because you don't want to hurt your characters. Be ruthless. #writersroad

@aralbereux: Conduct an interview with your characters. They usually tell me their secrets when I do this :)#writersroad

HeatherMcCorkle Something needs to happen to your characters in a novel and they need to react to it, actively. #WritersRoad

HeatherMcCorkle Element #3 to a bestseller: Balance between internal and exterior plot elements. #WritersRoad

@ErinTheAuthor It's tug o war. The solution is the knot in the middle & the internal & external conflicts tug at opposite ends. #writersroad

HeatherMcCorkle Where the scales fall on the balance of internal/external conflict can be effected by the genre you're writing. #WritersRoad

akabins I like to think of Inception. The external forces are at play, but the internal journey of the characters make it fantastic#writersroad


  1. So true characters have to sound different. And I admit that sometimes I struggle with this.

    1. It can be hard. But it can also be a fun challenge if we approach it right.

  2. I think I'm loving Tina Moss. Great comment!

    1. She was rocking out the great comments that night!

  3. Tina Moss did have a great comment. Funny, on my post today, the ghost of Mark Twain and I are discussing what makes a bestseller with him groaning about 50 SHADES! :-)

    1. LOL! That sounds too good to miss. On my way.

  4. *blushes* Aww, thanks guys! Another great chat for the Twitter books. See you all tonight!

  5. Great discussion!!! I also struggle with making my characters sound different. I have more work to do.


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