Raising the bar – Part 3

by juliusmsanz

Ok, so what’s next?

If you haven’t check out part 1 and 2.

I believe that raising the bar in the early stages also has to do with the fact that you are able to, or at least willing to, work on a proper structure. A coherent plot and characters and setting is something that I will talk about in later posts, and I’ve also spoken about commitment and drive.

So what’s this about anyway?

Well first of all it’s the ability to read. If you don’t read enough you will find that you just can’t work properly on a story. And it’s not just reading, but also watching movies and tv series and even playing games in the genre you are planning to work on. Does this have to do a bit with research? Yes, a bit, but it’s also the ability to see what often makes a story work and incorporate, not copy, the elements that are key to your genre. There are simply too many genres and subgenres to discuss, I won’t do that today. What I can do and say is this: the more you read and watch, the bigger the grasp you’ll have on what you want to write. Will it be difficult? I expect so. The more information you have on what you want to write and the more you see and read about the genre you’re writing or going to write the more you’ll know about what works and what doesn’t work. It’s hard to get started and have a clear view or know exactly how a genre works. Even experienced writers fail sometimes when getting into new genres because the structures and bag of tricks are different.

I tend to immerse myself on each story that I read and because of that I sometimes tend to get a bit biased, so the first thing I do afterwards is simple: I read other people’s comments and views and sometimes I learn new things and get different impressions and a different outlook on that story.

And again this sounds like pretty obvious advice, but honestly it’s easy to dismiss it. You have to read the readers impressions and consider them as advice on how can you make your story better. Do you want to make the same mistakes writer X, Y and Z made and got criticized about? Didn’t think so. So you study the structure, because every genre has one. Some are more abstract than others, some reviews may be unfair or uncalled for, but you can definitely learn about how to structure your book by reading, watching and discussing works. One little thing though: take them but with a pinch of salt. Don’t let the reader completely control your story, it is still your baby.

In my view that is the only way you can try to make something a bit more original, or more interesting. How can you tweak and improve on the formula? It takes time, but if you commit yourself to it there is a possibility that you can discover something groundbreaking.

Or at least do better than those criticized works.

So yeah, this is it for today, check me out tomorrow for some media discussion and the role of the book.