I read a lot of books, fiction and non-fiction, and today’s post comes from the book Story Genius by Lisa Cron.
I’m digging this book a lot and it’s used in a lot of writing programs because of its logical approach to storytelling that a lot of books about writing simply avoid. I could list a dozen good tips but when you’re starting a story I think this is one of the best.
What’s the point of your story?
You have to ask yourself a lot of questions when putting together a story, what’s it about, does it have a theme, who are your characters, yadi yadi yadi. But an interesting question she suggests you make is what’s the point of your story?
As I climb through the second draft of my book this question proved to be quite insightful. What is the point of my story? I have struggled through my book because of this very question. My point hasn’t been very clear. I’ve tried to do an elevator pitch for over a month now and I just can’t get a concise summary together in less than a couple of sentences. In asking myself this question, along with many others from the book, I have come to realize that my book has two very distinct questions and they don’t necessarily complement each other.
As a result, I went back to my original idea, the seedling that got me interested in writing this novel in the first place. I’m now trying to focus on that and to strip away the surprising layers of fat that have developed over the course of a couple of drafts and get it back to its core.
I think it’s a good exercise for any novelist, as so many of them that I start and never finish are just splintered with different points. I suffer from perfectionism like many writers, but I think this is one of those times when asking a question and trying to give an honest answer can only help in the long run.
Good luck and happy writing…and that’s the point of this post 😉