Lately I’ve been trying to absorb every bit of knowledge I come across about writing a novel. I feel like a dry sponge that got dunked in water. It soaks up as much as possible but since there’s more water than sponge, it has to allow some of the water to seep out. There’s a ton of information out there about writing, sometimes too much. And like the sponge, I can’t retain it all. Fortunately, I think I’ve got the main concepts down.
First, I need to build a platform. I am actually working on that now in the online class by Kristin Lamb called Building an Author Platform. The class just started but I’m very excited about it and I know that I’ll be learning great things as Kristin is a great resource.
Second, I need to write a good book. No problem!
Um, wait, okay, there might be a problem. What exactly is a “good” book? I think that answer depends on the reader.
For instance, I’m currently reading Blood Skies by my friend, Steven Montano. He describes it as a “Post-Apocalyptic Military Dark Fantasy. With Vampires.” Not my normal genre. Okay, maybe the vampires and the witches but not so much the military part. But I decided to read it anyway. This decision wasn’t made because he’s one of my peeps on Twitter and I wanted to help out a friend. Though all that is true, I don’t base my reading choices that way. I bought the book because I read the excerpt on his website. (Which also proves the need for a great author platform like Steven’s!)
I read the excerpt because I wanted to see his style of writing (being the little sponge that I am.) By the end of the first sentence I wasn’t even thinking about his prose, I was drawn into the story line and wanting to know more about the main character. In essence, Steven piqued my interests. So I bought the book. It has all the elements I like plus some. Not to mention, it got me to broaden my horizons and venture into a genre a bit different than my normal choice.
To me, Blood Skies is good book. But how many die-hard, avid romance readers would take a second glance at this novel? Not many, because they wouldn’t identify with the story line or the characters. That doesn’t mean it’s not a good book, though.
As an avid reader, I have ready many books that I think are good but for different reasons. There are some where I think the story is just wonderful. The plots kept me guessing all the way to the end. These are usually mysteries or thrillers. I have a curious mind and I love puzzles so figuring out “who dunit” or guessing at the ending satisfies this part of me.
In other books, I fall in love with the characters more than the story. Romance or love stories fit this bill, or my favorite paranormal romance. I also love a great crime thriller with a splash of romance thrown in for good measure. The good ones in my opinion really show the vulnerabilities and true nature of the characters. Sometimes the characters feel so real, you would swear that the author picked some one out of your own life to write about.
To me, these are all aspects of a good book. So for me to write a book like this, I need to connect with my audience. I can read blogs or articles and follow the trending genres all day long, but that doesn’t really tell me what readers are looking for. It just tells me what industry experts think. I look at myself as an example. I don’t read just one genre and don’t write in just one genre either. So I probably wouldn’t fall into the experts statistics because my tastes vary.
But as an author, I want to write scenes that grasp the reader’s attention and develop characters they can identify with. My dream isn’t just to sell a book with my name on it, I want to author a book that readers enjoy. I want to write a good book.
What is that old saying “You won’t know until you ask.” So I decided to do just that. I want to know your opinion.
What types of books do you read and what makes them “good?” Is there a genre of book you want to see more of? And what do you think would make you read a book from a different genre?
Your thoughts matter to me, so leave a comment and let me know what you think.