Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A Little List For Novelists

Ever felt like this when you're reading a book? One that grabs you and holds on tight. Do you find yourself escaping from the hustle and bustle of everyday life by immersing yourself in a good book?

If you're a reader like I am, you probably answered yes to my questions. I find total relaxation when I read a book, or a short story, that commands my full attention because it's so good. I forget about everything and everyone around me.

What qualities does fiction like this have?
  • A title that catches my attention
  • A fine hook in the opening paragraphs
  • Leaves me with questions to be answered as I read
  • Speaks to me with elegant prose
  • Takes some twists and turns now and then
  • Allows me to relate to the characters
  • Ends each chapter with something that makes me want to continue reading
  • Allows me to react with emotion of some kind
  • Has enough sensory details to bring me into the scene
  • A satisfying ending

If you're a fiction writer, can you apply the list above to your novel and have positive answers? If you can, you are on the right track. If there are some that made you squirm a bit, that's where you might need to do some revisions. Like a car that veers off the highway, you don't want to over correct to get back on track. Take it slow and easy and you'll be on the road again. A truly good book doesn't just happen. It takes several tries and a lot of hard work. Whoever coined the now cliched term blood, sweat and tears, surely must have been a novelist.

It's not so easy to find large chunks of reading time in a busy holiday season but during January, give yourself some time to walk inside a good book like the little girl above so that no one can find you. When you're finished reading the book, use the checklist above on your own manuscript(s) to see if you can write a book that readers would love to get lost in.

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