|Scrawls in the Dust - John Booth||
I've been a bit dismayed by some of the things I've read about how to write a book on writing sites. It seems to me that so many of them miss the point. It's all, don't do this, don't do that. In rule-writer's books processes are disconnected where in my view it all has to fit together.
By profession I analyse things. So here is my own list of the things I think matter. They overlap and compliment each other and shouldn't ever be regarded in isolation of the others.
Story – what is going to happen during the book?
Narrative – how the story will be told, from what POV's, what temporal lines, what flashbacks?
Pace – what will be the high points and the low points in the story? Where will the reader draw a breath? What is the pattern of action?
Identification – what keeps the reader reading? For example, likeable characters, puzzles, mysteries, drama, good lines, etc
Satisfaction – how do you make the reader feel good about what they've read? Examples are jokes and humour in general, cheering on the hero, making the villain look stupid, excitement, tension, fear, shock and so on
Voice – this is your writing style – reading age- length of sentences- jokey, gothic, serious, vanilla, etc. Note that rhythm is part of this- does your voice flow?
When all these things are mixed together with the right quantities and qualities you have a good novel. It's more like cookery than anything else. Nothing is proscribed provided you can get the mix right.