Tag Archive - plot

The Universality Is in the Details

I started thinking about universality since we want our novel’s theme to have universal appeal—meaning a whole bunch of people all over the world should be able to relate to it at perhaps any time in history. But while we’re thinking in broad, all-encompassing ideas, I want to make a distinction here.

Don’t make the mistake in thinking that in order to appeal to a wide audience with a universal appeal we have to write in very general terms and details. You may think that the more unspecific you can get with your locale, setting, time period, problems presented, the more universal the novel will be.

You may think if your character can have a general problem—say a bad temper or he’s a Scrooge—a lot of people will identify with him . . . so you decide to not be too specific and take the risk of making your novel’s world so small that no one will relate.

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The Secret to a Stress-Free Novel Journey

Since we’re entering the season of vacations and trip-taking, I thought I’d risk one more time up on my soapbox to bring you this important message. I know I’m a curmudgeon about planning out your novel in advance, but it’s one of the few things regarding writing I’m pretty adamant about. If you feel like listening to another lecture, go ahead and read my earlier post, but I’m going to paint a little analogy for you here about taking a trip—for writing your novel is a journey of sorts. And we have all probably had smooth-running trips as well as disastrous ones we’d rather forget (and wished we hadn’t gone on). Continue Reading…

The Inevitable Ending You Know Is Coming

As contradictory as this might sound, endings in novels need to seem inevitable without being predictable. When your reader finishes the book , she should feel that this was the only  way it could have ended. Everything has led up to this finale, and it just plays out perfectly. This isn’t predictability. You don’t want readers thinking they knew exactly what was going to happen and are bored as they hurriedly flip through the last pages of the book.

Recently I read a couple of award-winning sci-fi novels that were really pretty good until about the last fifty pages. I found myself starting to skim through the inevitable spaceship battles and the endings—to the point that I didn’t really read the last chapters. Such a difference from Orson Scott Card’s masterpiece Ender’s Game, considered one of the all-time greatest sci-fi books written (and I agree!). The surprise twist at the climax and the completely unexpected ending blew me away. Yet, I could say it was the best (and truly only) ending for the book, and entirely unpredictable. Continue Reading…

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