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…
Can you describe your character’s essence or their raison d’etre, in a short phrase? How about Sam Gamgee’s “Some things are worth fighting for.” Or Scarlett O’Hara’s “I’ll never be hungry again!”
Our major characters are usually so deep we need a whole novel to flesh them out. But haven’t we chosen a character because she or he embodies a specific dramatic purpose? If this is true, we should know what that is. We should know it so well, we can say it in a phrase.
Sounds hard, but bear with me. Ask yourself what does my character want or believe in their very core? Read More…
Creating the Novel
I’m giving a 7-week novel seminar for Write on the River!
For beginners and mid-career writers wishing to pursue a publishing career. The class is limited to six students and will be held in Wenatchee, WA. Sessions consist of an hour of instruction and an hour’s critique of a student manuscript by the instructor and the other students.
The sessions will be designed to deepen students’ abilities to evaluate their writing with an eye to marketplace considerations as well as compelling fictional elements.
Some of these are useful tools.
DATES AND REQUIREMENTS
DATES: Sessions will be held every other Wednesday, February 12 through May 6.
TIME: 6:30 – 8:30 PM
- Please apply to attend. Details here.
- Membership in Write on the River.
- 18 years of age or older.
- Have at least 30 pages of a novel written and ready for critique by February 12.
Thank you to my newsletters subscribers who entered to win my latest drawing!
I am pleased to send to the following winners a paperback copy of Dystopia, my science fiction short story collection: Craig. J., Ana I. and Sanjuanita M.
Craig, Ana and Sanjuanita, your book will be on the way soon. Congratulations!
The prize for the drawing, my first short story colleciton.
And just to mention: My recently published second story collection!
Grab it while it’s under a dollar — The Seeds of Time
NOW through Sunday, October 13
Clio Finn is a time travel pilot on the run from a dystopian and graying Earth. Now she’s found a planet with what could be viable, saving biota. If she can get home from across the galaxy. With the enemies Clio’s got, that’s a very big IF. One week only, the eBook is reduced to $.99 at all e-retailers.
The Seeds of Time, a reader favorite.