Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tuesday's Inspiration inspired by John Gardner

While reading On Becoming A Novelist by John Gardner, I came across this short passage. "Two things can keep the common reader going, argument or story." Had to think for a bit about what this meant. Engaging a reader is a must if the reader is going to continue writing and being read.

Recently I was reading a story that was well-written. Nothing wrong with the way the sentences were going and the story was a good one. But much of the story bored me and that was because of the repetitive nature of the internal dialogue. The characters thought the same things about each other through about two thirds or three quarters of the book and I found myself skipping those parts. Not a good way to keep the reader interested.

I've also read stories where there's been a lot of plot and good plot but the story has been too light to keep me reading. What do I mean by too light? There are only so many plots and it's what the writer makes of the story, the twists and turns that are unexpected that make at least me want to read on. Sometimes the story is so contrived a reader will shake their head.

So the moral of this to me was that the story must keep moving forward and if there is conflict between the characters there must be solutions to each argument or the story keeps rolling on the treadmill. So if your characters have the same argument or conflict and this doesn't change look for ways to change something, Or if the story lacks a forward movement toward the climax find ways to change an element.


Sandy said...

When I started writing I was so repetitive, but it looked different to me. lol

Melissa Keir said...

How important of a skill! We have to make each story unique too. No one wants to read a book and find that the book is basically the same as all the other books they've read!