This week I learned another valuable lesson that I want to share with you. I learned that your writing has to have a reason to be there. It sounds logical, but if you think about it it is harder than you think.
Why should my novel be there? There are so many love stories written, so why should people read mine? I could throw in a lot of sex and I’m sure it will be read. Just go to Amazon and put in the two words ‘vampire’ and ‘romance’ and you’ll be amazed what trash comes up, almost pornography if you ask me. But apparently it sells. I like my books to be a bit better than that. Sure, there are love scenes in it, but they have a purpose in the relationship arc I’m building, they’re not there to turn people on.
So what is it that makes a book a good book? Why should it be there? Because good books tell you more than what is written. Example: Finding Nemo is a story about fishes, no doubt about that, but it is also a story about a father-son relationship. Why did Nemo leave his father? What does his father learn whilst searching for his son? How has their relationship changed from the beginning to the end of the story? There is a moral to the story. It is not something that is forced upon us. It is not a lesson that the writer wanted to teach us. It sort of happens, in the background. That’s why it’s a good story.
How do you write stories like these? I suppose you have to think about the background picture before you start writing. When I wrote my novels I didn’t think about these underlying structures at all. Somehow they were there though. In my first novel Kate learns that true love is often found closer than you think and not necessarily in the prettiest person. In my second novel there are two story lines. First the change of mother-daughter relationship and second the husband-wife relationship. The book tells the story of the sacrifices/decisions made and the consequences that they bring and what impact they have on the relationships. Because I didn’t have these underlying stories in mind when I started writing I probably could have written them better, but I am happy that they’re sort of there.
For my third, and last book of the trilogy, I will certainly think more about these underlying story lines. Not only makes it for better reading, it also makes for better writing. If you know the characters and their traits by heart and which direction you want to go with them, it is so much easier to write about them; why they do the things they do and how they do the things they do (the little character traits that make them ‘alive’). I am hoping that with this extra effort put in my story line the book will be better than the first two.
Have a Happy Writing Weekend!