Okay, so you are working on your novel and you have got to about the third chapter. So far so good. As you may know there are all sorts of ways to approach longer fiction. You might have a chapter by chapter plan or you might simply work from instinct and see what takes shape. There are no wrong answers.
So you decide to send your three chapters out to various agents and publishers. Your efforts are met with rejection. It is at this point that you decide to really look at what you have written and see why you might be rejected. Bear in mind most agents and publishers do not have to give you any specific reason why your precious manuscript was turned down. You have to do your own detective work so to speak.
Are you with me so far? It’s only when you look at your work more critically or get your writing group or your best mate to take a look that you see what’s missing.
Your book lacks any real depth or it has no passion, nothing to really draw the reader in. It’s almost as if you do not believe in your own story. Well, might I add here, if you do not believe in your story and the characters in it, no one else will! Your story has got to show characters with conviction and personality including emotions, so that your readers will feel that they are real people and care what happens to them. You want your book to take your readers on a journey they want to stay on. If you get it very right, you will have written a page turner. Nice one!
The Purpose of Creative Writing
You see, creative writing is about expressing emotions in a literary sense it does not matter if it is poetry or a short story or a full length novel. It’s how you make your readers feel that will keep them reaching for your books in the bookshops. Your aim as a writer is to evoke emotions such as happiness, despair, sadness, joy or feelings of curiosity. For example, most good thriller or crime novels should leave you wanting to see what crime or misdemeanour is going to happen next. How the main character is going to resolve their problems or get away with that big bank heist for instance.
In a way it is a writer’s job to show the human condition with all it’s foibles; hopes, dreams, fears that sort of thing. In doing this you are also creating rounded characters that you and your readers can believe in.
This can also be viewed as ‘character driven’ fiction as opposed to ‘plot driven’ fiction. With ‘character driven’ fiction plot takes second place as you are more interested in exploring the inner workings of your main characters and their world.
This should give you some idea of the work involved in developing believable characters which is at the root of all good fiction. If you have done this well, you never know the next time you send out a manuscript or a short story you might get a YES!
Until next time, happy writing, S