Welcome back to, Don’t Get it Right, Get it Written! By Stuart White
More on Stuart HERE
Stuart continues his tips on how to decide…What is your novel about?
MORE TIPS: WHAT IS YOUR NOVEL ABOUT?
So let me ask you. What’s your novel going to be about?
There are often two generic sorts of answers to this question, and one of them in my experience is the WRONG way to go.
Here’s Answer 1:
“Well, I’m doing this science-fiction romance novel about a race of giraffe-like creatures that accidentally land on earth, meet a tribe of hermaphroditic monkeys, and together they colonise earth and breed a race of loving creatures and……”
Good! Yes indeed. Why not? Interesting idea. It’s a story, it’s different. I don’t recall seeing that before. Yup – go ahead and write it.
“Well, you see it’s kind of my life story. It’s about me and my friends, and how we meet and talk, and it’s also about that bitch Charlotte who is supposed to be my friend but she is like SO not my friend, and about when I went to Summer camp and got poison ivy, and……………”
NO! In the name of all that’s holy stop right now. NO! Don’t do it. Come back from the cliff edge before you commit writing suicide.
YOU ARE NOT THAT INTERESTING
Sorry but it’s true. And by you I mean me, him, her, them – a good 99.9% of the population).
Your life story? If you’ve spent five years in the French Foreign Legion fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, left only to have been kidnapped by white slavers, then escaped to become a trapeze artist with the circus, go over Niagara Falls in a barrel, walk from Toronto to Tierra-del-Fuego, then marry the heir to a Nepalese fortune and set up home in an Everest base camp, now THAT is a life story!
For rest of us, well, our lives tend to be same old, same old, and who wants to read the same old stuff? When we read we want to be taken out of ourselves. We want to soar on emotional highs, be moved, and changed if possible. We want to – almost literally – be taken somewhere else, and that means to forget for a while our rather dull earthbound lives.
(And remember, this is a novel isn’t it? A novel is fiction; your life story is reality. And if you want to do an auto-biography the same rules apply. Is your life interesting enough? In all truth, probably not. Sorry.)
And – I just noticed something from two paragraphs back. ‘Almost literally?’ Beware of ‘literally’. Literally means you actually did something. If you say, “I literally exploded with rage,” it means that your body came apart as though a bomb hit it. “I literally went insane.” No you didn’t or you’d be in a psychiatric facility now. Don’t use literally unless you really mean it. So we don’t want to be almost literally taken somewhere else (rap on knuckles for me) we want to be figuratively taken somewhere else.
TO BE CONTINUED…..COME BACK NEXT MONDAY FOR MORE GREAT WRITING TIPS from Guest Author, Stuart White.
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