From as far back as I can remember, I’ve always loved concocting scenarios.  Indeed, I constantly told harmless tales when I was a child.  Lies, yes, but not serious ones.  (Although I’ve told a few big lies as well over the years and managed to keep a straight face!)

Some years ago, I decided to try my hand at writing a novel, a psychological thriller.  When I began the project, I relied on gut feeling.  Hence, my main character got frightened early on in the story, but soon stood up for herself, for I sensed that characters should fight back and not become too passive. Then came the local writing group and all the various “rules,” and my writing soon lost focus, due in part to that awful phrase “Show, Don’t Tell.”  From that point on, I concentrated  on “showing” and producing a good writing style, and ended up missing the whole point of the writing: the story.

When I met the editor last December, she wouldn’t give me a detailed critique of my first novel.  Instead, she told me to look to myself for the answers – which, hopefully, I have done.  I’ve spent the last three months delving deep into the central character of both novels and examining the plots in detail so that each plot is believable in terms of forensic investigation.  At the same time, I’ve taken an intuitive view and asked myself what it is I really wish to convey. What issues do I feel passionate about?  What scenes can I easily envisage?  How do these scenes affect the lives and the emotions of the central characters?

At times, I’ve discovered answers I hadn’t originally considered, but I feel the writing has taken on a new quality – shape and structure.


5 thoughts on “Novel Writing: Tell The Story You Want To Tell

  1. It’s interesting the differences between what a critique group will say and what your editor will say. Those trying to get into the business versus those in the business. I’ve read blogs where there is a discussion of the manner in which people write and what they try to achieve. There is an interesting chain on Ryan David Jahn’s blog, “You’re doing it wrong: Thoughts on creative failure”.
    From your previous entries, it seems you are fortunate to have a good editor whose guidance is far more profound.
    Continued success.

  2. “Show, Don’t Tell” If one focuses too much on that rule, they may miss the linguistic musicality and semantic flexibility of language. I like when show and tell balance 🙂 Good post!

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