Wednesday, May 19, 2010

SO WHAT? The Sticky Finger Factor

When I read a novel, I don't want to be entertained, I want to be captivated, drawn like a sailor to shipwreck because I can't put the book down until the siren syllables let me go after the last page (sometimes not even then).

Which brings me to the question, how do I achieve this "Sticky Finger Factor" in my own novels? I believe part of the answer lies in two words my first creative writing instructor wrote on the board, two words that form the kernel of every story:


Or in other words, what is it about your protagonist/plot that will compel me to read more? Why should I give up a precious string of sixty seconds reading your sentence when I could be updating my Facebook status, watching yahoomovie trailers for the tenth time today, or making a scrumptious Pear Clafauti?

When the SO WHAT? of a character, chapter, scene, or even a line of dialogue is weak, the story suffers, because it's the stitch that binds everything together.

As a venerable dude once said, "Justify your existence!"

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