A number of years ago a friend of mine told me he wished he’d written Norman Zollinger’s Riders to Cibola, a saga about a ranching family in south central New Mexico in the 40s. He loved the characters so much that he envied Norm’s getting to spend so much time with them, much more than the time it took to read the book. My friend wasn’t interested in writing. He just wanted to live with the characters he’d come to love.
I started looking at why I loved certain stories, certain characters or settings. I think we all want a novel to transport us from the humdrum of ordinary life. Move us to another time that’s more exciting, more fulfilling, just more.
Figuring out what it is that moves you will also help you see where your heart lies. You’ll remember from Writing Tip #1 that you should write what you love. Now you’re going to figure out how to analyze what you love to read.
This begins with keeping a reading list/journal. When you read a book or story that speaks to you, make a note of it. The more detail you can include, the better you’ll capture the essence of what it was that made you feel that way. Was it the setting? Where and when was the story set? What details pulled you into the scene? Was it the characters? Which characters specifically? What qualities caught your attention and interest? Was it the interaction of the characters? Where were the areas of conflict? How did they work out their differences?
Keep track and then go back and review what you’ve written. Do you see a pattern? More entries that intrigued you with their characters? More with the plot? More the setting? You can use the details you’ve included from your entries to teach you about how to make your own stories grab your readers.
I’d love to hear from you what are your favorite books! Just click on “Leave a Comment.”