Today's tip was sent in by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban (Tip #99), author of Two Moon Princess, who blogs at Dare to Read. Please visit her blog to see what she's up to when you're done visiting here.
Know Your Story
Only 1/9th of the mass of an iceberg is visible and so it must be with your story.
You must know your characters. You must know their likes and dislikes, you must know what happened to them before the story starts. You must know what they are doing and where they are at all times, even when these scenes don't appear in the book.
You must know your setting from the tallest mountain to the tiniest scratch on your protagonist's cell phone's screen. Even if it's never mentioned.
Only because this hidden 8/9th portion of the iceberg is there hidden under the water, can the iceberg float so seemingly effortless on the ocean.
To forget this mass of ice exists can be deadly. Not to have a thorough knowledge of everything and everyone in your story will create holes in your plot and contradictions in your descriptions that can destroy the credibility of your reader.
Remember what happened to the Titanic.