Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A bit of inspiration Story needs

Back to On Becoming a Novelist. This time I'm talking about some things a good story needs and using this book as a jumping off point. The story needs to pull the reader into the world the writer has created. Even when writing contemporary fiction, the world the writer creates isn't the one we're living in. Why? The writer brings his own unique experiences into his writing.

A good story raises questions in a reader's mind but it also answers them. Leaving a reader dangling is one way to lose them. But drowning them in details will also lose them as readers. Too many scenes that say the same thing can become annoying. Each and every scene must add to the story by developing the characters, pushing the story or plot line, thus giving the reader the information they need to answer the questions they might need. As well as too many similar scenes, too many characters can ruin a story. Having too many villains who all seem to be the major one can confuse the reader.

A good story is really a performance, akin to a play, but one we use our mind's eye rather than out sight to envision.


Jennifer Probst said...

HI Janet,

Many of the workshops I attended reminded me to have 3 purposes for the scene or it should be removed. I needed that because I seem to write a lot of fun dialogue that has no other purpose but to entertain me!

Shoshanna Evers said...

Good stuff Janet! You should write a book about how to write a book!

Janet Lane Walters said...

Shana, Already have. Written with Jane Toombs. Called Becoming Your Own Critique Partner. Available from Zumaya Press in ebook and pring.