Friday, October 31, 2008

Make It a Story You Love

When someone asks how to know when a novel is complete, I always say that when it is good enough that the author wants to read it just for the enjoyment of reading it then it is done. Another question we might ask is when we know we have a story idea that is worth writing.

Before I even knew that someone else had written a novel even loosely based on the story of Hosea, I fell in love with the story and decided that I wanted to tell the story that has since become For the Love of a Devil. As always, the first draft was terrible and I asked myself what I was thinking, but after several edits I got the book to the point where I can enjoy the story. Now I am considering my next project. As I look at some of the ideas that pop into my head, I keep wondering if they will make a good story.

I think the key to my next project will be to develop a story for which I love the concept. If I love the concept, after some hard work, I will then be able to produce a manuscript that I love. That doesn't mean that the first draft won't be terrible, but if I love the concept then I can mold the final story into something I love.

A good story has to be molded before it is written. The problems have to be defined. The characters have to be created. There are many things to determine. Once they begin to look like a story I would enjoy, then it is time to begin to write.


Avily Jerome said...

Hey there!
Great advice!

They say there's nothing new under the sun, so probably no matter what you write, somebody out there has something similar.

It's important to really care and be invested in your writing.

For me, I don't always know where I'm going or what the obstacles are going to be when I start. I have an idea, and a general direction, but inevitably, something comes up or changes.

Once in awhile, I'll start writing and come up with something I love so much that I'm tempted to rewrite the entire plot, just to make it work out a certain way.

Or, I'll kill somebody off because my love for them is getting in the way of where the story is supposed to go. :)

Timothy Fish said...

Killing a character off because I liked him too much isn't something I've considered. Interesting. I subscribe to the notion that when in doubt kill the character and see how he takes it. In my most recent book I "killed" the protagonist by having his wife leave while he is planning to celebrate their anniversary. For that character, he would have rather died.

Avily Jerome said...

Yes, but then he's still alive and if I understand the premise of that book, the entire point is him overcoming that. His epic struggle is because he's alive, not dead.

In one of my stories, after I kill one character, the MC has to survive that grief, which sends her into a very self-destructive cycle for awhile.

In another, the person I'm going to kill (haven't actually gotten there yet :) actually gives the MC the strength to face her own issues because of his death.

That's the one, though, that I almost changed the entire plot for, so killing him is going to be really hard, but I think it will make the story better.