Writing Tip of the Week: The Story is Everything

tjb logoEither write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” Benjamin Franklin (thanks to brainyquote.com)

The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.” Gustave Flaubert (thanks to brainyquote.com)

Years ago I wrote Bone China: A Richard Lacey Detective Mystery. I simply wanted to write a detective novel so I started writing with no idea where Lacey and his wife, Marilyn would take me. As the novel developed, characters entered, each screaming to take over the novel. I struggled on until I was finished.

That’s when I chucked the novel and all my typing and hard work into the garbage can. I rewrote the novel from front to back in a few days. I eliminated characters who were not needed and took out everything that took away from the story.

Of course, by writing the first draft, I had learned what the story really was. When I knew that, I was very excited to complete the work.

Incidentally, I never tell anyone what this story is really about in blurbs about the novel or on he cover. I want my readers to be as totally surprised as I was when Lacey learned what was going on. Sometimes I wish I had spilled the beans to sell more novels, but I never did. I never will.

But the story (called the plot in writing parlance) is everything. If you don’t have the story at first, you have to dig for it. Then you can complete the work.

John

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