What makes a good story for a book?
During a recent Book blogger interview, I was asked: ” What makes a good story for a book?” At the time, I thought it to actually be a fairly normal question for her to ask me. I mean, I’ve often wondered after having read some of my favourite authors’ books, how they’d come up with that particular plot for their book? What sparked it? But this question could have easily also meant something entirely different. Like, how do you prefer drinking your tea? Sugar? Milk? Cup or Mug?
Now, I realise she probably quite literally meant to ask how I come up with a concept or a good plot to write a book. I get it. But I chose to answer her by saying that it all really depended on the mood you’re in whilst reading or choosing a particular book. My answer took her completely by surprise, but think about it for a second. It’s kind of like switching on Netflix and scrolling through lines and lines of thumbnails trying to choose your next curl-up-on-the-couch movie. What’s going to make for a good watch? So you start by scrolling through the categories and then slowly hone in eventually settling on something you hope is going to be worth watching. If it’s late at night and around Halloween, well then you’ll probably choose a thriller and thoroughly enjoy it. If it’s Christmas and you’re curled up in bed in the middle of winter, then you’ll most certainly pick a nice Christmassy movie, right? Your mood in life pretty much sets the tone for many things but how you perceive it on your end as a viewer or a reader is essentially the key to this answer.
You see when you write a book, your mind should not be focussed around yourself in a particular moment but instead, you should always look at your writing through the eyes of your readers. How would they read this sentence or paragraph? Can they feel the emotion you’re trying to evoke through your words? Are they bored? Are they curious to read more? See, unlike the visual enhancements a movie gives you, a book needs to be written in such a way that it transports the reader to a fantasy world only they can conjure up. Based on their own fantasies and subliminal memories. A place where they are able to put a face to a character, fill a house with furniture and colour schemes or smell freshly baked muffins on a breakfast table.
Which touches on the very thing I wrote on in one of my other blogs on Reviews. A great review is most certainly dependent on not only whether my reader enjoyed reading my book, or what the story was about or even how many adjectives you used, but also on whether they have read the book at the right time and in the right mood!
So, as a writer, in my mind, the answer to What makes a good story for a book is quite simply…. The Reader!
PS: To see if I’ve hit the spot, please read one of my books and let me know by posting a review