A novel is complex, if only because it’s so long. It can so easily wander off course, fall into episodic events and feel scattered.
To maintain unity in a story, create or discover the novel’s dramatic purpose, whether it’s the human value at stake or the theme related to a human value. To write at our best, the challenge is to know in the simplest terms, what larger issue the story is about.
This dramatic purpose can shape our decisions about what events to portray and which to leave out. Making it more likely that readers will experience a cohesive, fulfilling story.
Getting to Meaning
Examples of human values explored in novels: The Kite Runner: atonement; The Titanic (film): to be loved for oneself; The End of the World Running Club: spiritual renewal; A Discovery of Witches: self-knowledge. These are universal human issues. In these best-selling stories, fictional events and characters are chosen to dramatize these human issues. Read More…