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Summer on the Bluffs: Top Five Writing Tips

Hello my writer baes! Welcome to our very first Top Five Writing Tips blog. In this post, I will be sharing my Top Five Writing Tips from the novel, Summer on the Bluffs by Sunny Hostin. I have a little treat for you at the end of the post 😀

(1) Add an element of suspense to your fictional writing to keep your readers interested. Some novels are naturally suspenseful, such as crime thrillers or mystery novels. However, you can add suspense in any kind of story. If you decide to do so, I recommend adding it at the beginning of your story, like Sunny did when she revealed to us at the beginning of the novel that Ama was keeping a secret from her goddaughters.

(2) Use flashbacks to give the story more context. When writing a novel, you are usually focusing on one period of time in the present. For example, over the course of several months, or even just a day. As such, you give the story more context when you sprinkle in flashbacks to the past. We see just that in Summer on the Bluffs, when Sunny provides us with the background stories of Ama and her goddaughters to make sense of what is going on in the present.

(3) Tell the story from different perspectives. In Summer on the Bluffs, we see that Sunny propels the story by giving us Ama, Perry, Olivia, and Billy’s perspective on events that occur—she does this particularly at the end of the novel. This is powerful, especially after you use flashbacks to set the ground work of developing the characters. As such, by the time we get to the big reveal, readers can empathize more with the characters.

(4) Create nuanced and polarizing characters. This tip also relates to the former two tips. Characters are what drives the story; as such, the more nuanced and polarizing you make the characters, the more engaging the story is. Additionally, don’t be hesitant about creating characters that you think may be unlikeable, just focus on telling the most engaging story you can.

(5) Touch on topics your audience will find controversial. Here’s the thing, in my opinion, writers should aim to provoke thought in their readers to inspire growth. A great way to do that is to touch on contentious topics. Doing this allows your uninformed readers to gain exposure to controversial topics that they would not have encountered otherwise. In this novel, Sunny exposed us to colorism issues, interracial dating, a same sex relationship, global warming, and the list goes on. My recommendation though is, try to stick to a few controversial topics at a time as not to overwhelm your readers.

Checkout our illustrated book summary and review of the novel:

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