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Friday, November 4, 2011


So, I’ve been asked to talk about five things that my novels must have in order for me to feel that they’re successful.  That’s a brilliant question.

1)      Every tale needs an interesting setting, one with unexpected depth and richness, that transports a reader.  Ever look at the fifty bestselling movies ever?  They all take you to another time or another place.  Some of them, like Star Wars, even do both!  The same is true of bestselling novels.

2)      My story needs characters that people care deeply about.  As an audience member, I don’t necessarily need to “fall in love” with a character, but I must be able to empathize, put myself in his or her place.

3)      Each story I write needs characters who act on their impulses.  By that I mean, my characters can’t sit around and just think about saying and doing the right things, they have to confront any problem thrown at them.  They have to go out and change their worlds.

4)      My story must have fascinating twists.  As an author you have to constantly be thinking, “I know what other authors have done with stories like this, but where else could this go?” Then you have to take the reader there.  You want your novel to be novel, unique, unlike any other.

5)      Ultimately, each story needs to make the audience see the world in new ways.  When my reader closes a book, I want them to realize that no matter what harrowing things I’ve put them through in fiction, they feel wiser, energized, and more capable of handling whatever it is that life throws at them.

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