03 April 2012

Triple A For Your Grade On Novel Writing

I'm off to a late start in the A-Z Challenge, so I've decided to stay behind and share my Triple A post instead. I’ll try and catch up soon!

There are three "A" words you must address if writing a novel that I would enjoy. Notice I'm posting from the standpoint of your fan, so listen up! :)

The Triple A Formula

Grade A = Action + Adventure + Adversity = Happy Reader Named Diane Carlisle.

Ask these three questions when reviewing your draft:

1. Action: Is there action on the first page of your book?

There's nothing like a boring beginning that will make me put down a book before I finish the first few pages. I don't want to read about a sunset in the horizon or someone thinking about their sad, miserable past. I want to see a rock skip across a lake or a hammer crash through someone's skull. If you are a romance writer and struggle with this one, how about the alpha male tycoon losing his cool and slamming a phone receiver down as his new hopeful administrative assistant and future wife arrives for her first interview?

2. Adventure: Does your character go on a game changing journey

In other words, when I'm done reading your book, will I feel that your main character learned something which profoundly altered their life, or will I feel like I just rode a mile long roller coaster, the same one I get to ride again next year if I so choose to visit the same predictable amusement park?

3. Adversity: Will your character face serious adversity, or will their "game changer" be an easy accomplishment? 

Adversity will change your main character. Make me cheer for them. The only way to do that is to increase the intensity of the negative forces they face. That doesn't mean to make adversities so extravagant that nobody can relate when your character defeats the almighty villain. It means you should make your character so flawed that their challenge is met with sympathy and a wish for them to overcome the adversity and succeed.

Three stars is my Triple A grade I give to any novel which reaches these levels of worthiness. It's how I score my reading experience. If you have these three things going on, you will get at least a 3 star rating from me for your novel.

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  1. Okay, I'll remember that the next time I'm doing my revisions! BTW, this blog gets a Triple A rating too!

    1. Thank you so much! I appreciate your support. :)

  2. I pretty much agree with you, though books tend to get extra points for nerdry from me as well (i.e. a fantasy book with a detailed magic system, a SF story with good science). :)

    1. I played a game called Threshold RPG for many years. I played a mage, and their magic system is so awesome.


      I played for more than 12 years. It's a text-based game, so if you love to read and you are a nerd, you might enjoy it. :D

    2. Thanks! I'll check it out, for sure! I have to be in the mood for a good text crawler, but I love RPGs.

      I actually worked as a Senior Editor/Writer on a mostly text-based RPG called Academagia a couple of years ago. It was great fun!

  3. Great post! Thank you for stopping by my blog and your thoughts and comments.Illness can be very stressful, but the Lord does see us through.

  4. Three great A's here, Diane. I can't imagine a good book without them.

    1. Just trying to catch up. I wanted to do B for "Brevity" because the other day I read an entire paragraph describing anticipation in Mask of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe and thought, "Not everyone can get away with that today." We'll see.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. As always, thanks for stopping by and being a fan.

  6. Seeing as how I'm in the middle of writing my own novel, I can safely say that I have met the three As.

    At least, I think so! :P

    -Barb the French Bean

  7. I'm with you. I can't stand long drawn out beginnings. I want to jump into the action right away!

    1. Or long drawn out endings (some romances do this).


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