Thursday, May 17, 2018

How To Write A Novel Readers Love – The Why

Dear friend,

In the last letter, How To Write A Novel That Readers Love – The Point, we discovered the first secret to writing a memorable story.

Define the point your story will make.

Now that you’ve clearly defined your story’s point, you can move on to the second step of crafting your novel:  Knowing why you want to write the novel in the first place.

Some writers don’t consider this very important thing. They never stop to think about what sparked or birthed the idea for their tale to begin with. But knowing the reason why you want to invest months, or even years of your life writing a story is just as important as nailing down the point of it.

Figuring out the “why” behind your desire to publish your novel is a simple step, which comes in two parts. Ask yourself the following important questions:

What was the first spark of the idea for the story?
Why do you care about writing the story?

Chances are excellent you dreamed up the terrific idea for your story at the least convenient time. That’s usually when the best ideas come. Maybe it came to you while you driving to work, or right after you covered your hair with shampoo suds in the shower.

And you couldn’t write your idea down.

So, you had to store that sensational vision into memory.

Or, maybe you were lucky or blessed enough to have a pen and paper handy when you conjured up that million-dollar bestselling story concept.

In either scenario, something made you think of the story you’re just itching to write as soon as the idea came to you.
So, what ignited it?

What first sparked the idea for your story?

If you know the answer, grab a pen and notebook if you don’t already have these items by your computer or smart device. Then, write down the answer to this question with as many details as you can.  I’ll show you an example of how I did this.

For my young adult novel, From Bad Girl To Worse, the answer looked something like this:

The first spark of the story idea for From Bad Girl To Worse ignited when I thought of the classic young adult novel, Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan. I had heard that after some readers finished the story, they asked the questions, “Why did the kids kidnap and kill their teacher, Mr. Griffin? What was the motive for kidnapping and killing him?”

I asked myself a more provocative question: What if I wrote a story somewhat like Killing Mr. Griffin, but I gave the kids a clear cut motive, such as robbery, for committing a brutal murder of a teacher?

I took it a step further and asked another probing question: What if I made the protagonist, or heroine, a lonely teenage girl who gets mixed up with a criminal gang, all because she desperately wants friends?

Because I asked the question, “what was the first spark of the idea for the story”, I not only pinpointed how I got the idea, but I also figured out who the protagonist in the story was going to be. My heroine would be a lonely teenage girl who would do just about anything to be accepted by others.

Let’s move on to the second question:

Why do I care about writing the story?

Why do you care about the story you’re about to write? What is it that intrigues you about it? What need or desire do you long to satisfy by writing and publishing your novel, and letting people you don’t even know read it?

Here’s my example of how I answered the second question:

I care about writing From Bad Girl To Worse because I want to show my readers the critical importance of choosing the right friends and forming healthy relationships with the right people. I care about the story because I also wanted to show my readers how quickly things can spiral out of control when you choose the wrong friends. I wanted to show them how quickly bad people can wreck your life.

Why should you care about the novel you’re about to write? You need to know the answer. If you don’t care about the story you’re about to craft, it will clearly show in your writing.

If you don’t care about your story, neither will your readers.

You are about to invest months, even years writing an epic tale that will potentially enthrall readers. It will help you immensely if you know why you care about telling it. If you really care, your chances of finishing and publishing your novel will increase by leaps and bounds.

Okay, so now that you've given these two questions a serious think, and you've written your answers down, you're now ready to move onto the next step toward writing a novel that readers will love.

Warmest regards to you and yours,

L. R. Farren

Author of From Bad Girl To Worse
and The Dangerous Way Home

P. S. – Do what you love, and love what you do. You'll enjoy life a lot more when you find something that you're passionate about. 

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