Stories work through a process of revelation and concealment. By regulating how much information you give to your reader you’re stimulating their imagination, allowing them to participate in the creation of the story as they expand on what you reveal. Genre also works with the reader’s expectations as they know the parameters of the story they’ve chosen to read.

When we read we automatically look for clues and finding them is part of the reciprocation between reader and writer. Figuring out who did it is part of the pleasure of reading crime novels. Readers are usually able to anticipate the ending to a story, even when a writer plays with genre but the adventure of the reading journey is so enticing that this never acts as a deterrent.

Since Aristotle people have classified literature into various types and today we recognize fiction, poetry and drama (understood as plays) as the three main branches. There are also many sub-genres within fiction such as crime, thriller, historical, romance, science-fiction or fantasy etc., etc. The way a novel is written also determines genre. Stories written in the form of letters and diaries have been popular since Samuel Pepys saw smoke rising from a London bakery. Bridget Jones Diary is a popular modern equivalent. 

Ronald B. Tobias, in his book 20 Master Plots summarizes plotlines very neatly as The Quest, Adventure, Pursuit, Rescue, Escape, Revenge etc., etc. It is fun to see into which one, or combination thereof, your story falls.

Nonetheless, the writer’s first priority is to tell the story and by focusing on this aspect rather than following a formula, you will write a better tale and give your readers a better experience than a formulaic book filled with clich├ęs.

Writing Update:
I started my final edit and I was horrified. Somewhat disconcertingly, my inner editing spectre stood ghoulishly laughing over my shoulder as I perused my masterpiece. Looking at the  black scribbles I had abundantly dispersed all over chapter one, I could only wonder what was I doing all the other times I’d edited this chapter?

I do seem to be moving slowly since the last read through, but there’s no way back from here. So although it has taken me a week to compile my editing list and two days to work through  one chapter, excitement still bubbles around the edges of this final edit - and I know I’ll be lucky if there’s only  two more final edits. It really does feel like I am getting there.

I came across a small blue notebook which I’d filled with bits and pieces a few years back and I discovered some haiku hidden inside. Moral: don’t throw any of your scribbles away – you never know when they’ll come in useful.

Today’s Haiku
skin heats blood simmers
sunlight bounces off pavement
hot midday sun burns

If you enjoy reading haiku, my book Gold Dragon Haiku is now available as an ebook at the Amazon Kindle Store. Here's the link: 

Here’s the link to a pdf of Ronald B. Tobias’ list of master plots which you can download for free. It has some good tips and pointers of what to avoid when using one of these plotlines.
Well worth a read. 

I keep forgetting to add this bit, but join me on my Twitter journey at:

And to all story lovers out there, good reading, and to those of you who write, good writing.

1 comment:

  1. This post highlights one of the most crucial aspects to good creation: Letting the audience participate. Too many authors try to hold their audience captive and spoon-feed them the desired details. Writing is a participatory art form. We create the canvas, provide the paint, and sketch the outline. The audience does whatever it wants from there.

    You may enjoy Stephen King's On Writing. The beginning section discusses this very idea.

    The Deliberate (Belligerent) Literate.


Title & Cover Reveal (plus a sneak peek!)

 I Know It Was You Wow! I’m thrilled to reveal the title and cover of my new book. The publication date, October 10th, is fast approaching, ...