I’ve often wondered what makes a great book a great book. Is it the plot, the characters, the setting, the dialogue? Is it a melange of all those and more? As I continue my journey as a writer, I find myself trying to make the perfect balance in my writing by placing enough dialogue to keep it realistic, enough setting of the scenery to enable readers to envision everything as if they are really there, enough character description and originality to make the story my own and unique, enough of this, enough of that etc.
But I have to remember what is most important: staying true to myself. I want to write a story that I would enjoy reading. I don’t want to be worried about how long it is because it has to be so many pages. I don’t want to create insincere characters that don’t seem palpable. I don’t want to fluff my prose with words I don’t even know the meaning of. I don’t want to add excess curse words that don’t need to be there or unneeded sex scenes that only serve to titillate the reader but not further the plot. I especially don’t want to regurgitate a story over and over that some famous author has already done.
I believe it is highly important to stay true to myself and to my voice. The same goes for anyone trying to make it into the world of writing. We have to pull from our well of experience and write what we know. I’m so sick of rehashed, banal stories that keep taking readers to the same world the last book they read took them to. If the story is going to be very similar to another book, at least give it something that will surprise, shock or inspire the reader.
I guess what I’m trying to say is it may just be time for some new original ideas and thoughts (are we over the vampires and zombies yet?). And if it can’t be original, can it at least not assume the audience is going to be stupid and ignorant and take their knowledge for granted? Yes, we saw that plot twist coming long before the ending!
Where are the Alexandre Dumas’, the Tolkiens’, C.S. Lewis’, or Dekker’s of this world? I hope one day to write something new, fresh and original-something that inspires, makes a difference and challenges my readers. I hope to create my own voice instead of pulling from the same choir of voices that have been singing the same melodies over and over and over again. You get the picture.
Originality, honesty, depth-these work and these inspire. At least they do for me…