Food for thought

What makes a good book good?

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When studying literature I am taught the story is not good unless the writer pays attention to craft. Every scene has a purpose and every character is placed for the good of the whole story. I am an avid reader; I am also a student studying the craft hoping that one day I can create a masterpiece worthy of reading. Every book I read the voice of my instructors appear in my thoughts. How was the character development? What is the climax in the story? A bunch a questions hit me all at once, when I’m finished assessing I can’t tell if I enjoyed the book or not. There are also books I come across when I read work from an inexperienced writer and I enjoy the book, with the exception of a few grammatical or formatting errors the book takes me hostage and releases me at the end of the last page.

I am not saying that craft has no place, I have read books from authors who use craft as an ingredient crafted masterfully to produce a satisfying reading delight. Their creativity is mostly showcased, using craft as a spice to enhance but not to overpower their literary dish.

My question to you my experienced writers “How do I know what rules I follow and what rules I can break when I study them all? Is there rules for each genre? Or am I doomed to figure out my personal style as a writer by winging it, using  readers as test dummies to see what works? I know where imagination is concerned, there are no rules. How do I practice the craft without being a slave to the rules, or a rebel against all rules? Neither is a good place, I am trying to find my balance.

I want to thank all of my followers for reading and following my posts. Feel free to post your comments, advice or reactions in the comment box.

Thank you again

Sincerely Elle

 

 

8 thoughts on “What makes a good book good?”

  1. The Template: if you want to write a Harelequin Romance, follow the template. The same goes with most commercial novels: work out the template and follow it. However: if you want to create your own piece of work, go your own way and write the way you want to … but, be prepared for rejection and be prepared for scorn. Some people, a very small percentage, do it their way and succeed (mind you, you have to define success very carefully … the yacht, the millions, the film, … everything else is failure). Some people, a slightly larger percentage, follow the template and succeed (again, you must define success … a couple of thousand bucks in the bank, a book in a bookshop on a bookshelf, a couple of reviews in the local paper …). Some go their own way and place their works online at Amazon & Kindle and the equivalent … then it’s marketing all the way … Only you can choose your own route. It’s what suits you and what satisfies you. You must also define success and attune your writing to your own definition. Good luck … to all … we all need it when writing …

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      1. No problem: our writing group was debating similar problems this evening. It’s something all authors go through, sooner or later. Let me know if I can help further. The best advice is: keep writing, don’t give up, don’t get off the bus! Best wishes.

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      2. Thank you for your advice, I will definitely take you up on that offer. In addition to writing, I read a lot of books. So through reading and studying literature, the question of what makes a book good crept into my mind. My mentor gave me a reading list of literary fiction to read, usually I read commercial fiction.

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