by Lynn Hobbs
How often have you started reading a book and quickly figured out what would happen next? Ho-hum…how boring. Interest is lost, yes, but any reader will notice a predictable pattern after several similar books by the same author.
Some refer to these as cookie cutter books. The villain is introduced on page six. Female doesn’t like the male. Conflict is introduced. Female now loves male. Conflict resolved. Happy ending. No imagination. No spontaneity. No original ideas.
Example # 1: Villain is a male neighbor in a large city, female is a single Mom. Conflict is unpaid property taxes. Female interacts with sharp spoken neighbor…maybe at a town hall meeting against higher taxes. She falls in love with him, and his new comforting ways. Taxes are reduced and payment plan is secured due to this neighbors help. Dating begins…
Example #2: Villain is a female office worker in a small town, male is a single Dad. Conflict is gossip about the many fired sitters for his child who is horrible out in public. Office worker encounters male at a grocery store and in talking, develops a natural interest for him. She recommends her mother as his new sitter. Dating begins…
Change of scene, yes. Change of male and female roles, again yes, but way too predictable.
Ever stopped reading a book that lost whatever originally sparked your interest? It is disappointing. Maybe the author got caught up in beautiful language describing some countryside for several pages. Or possibly, too many step by step details of daily events. The fewer words used to describe anything, the better. It creates an important scene that pulls us in as readers. As a writer, you certainly don’t want to be known as being predictable and having a story that rambles on and on, pointlessly.
Anyone can use help, and we are never too old to stop learning.
You will find me first in line to purchase an exceptionally good ‘How to Write’ book with helpful hints. I am thankful for the author who shares tried and true writing methods that worked for them. I like structure, but at the same time, spontaneity is a must.
If you haven’t read “Scene and Structure” by Jack M. Bickham, please do so. You are in for a treat! I highly recommend this book. He gives great information on the elements of fiction writing.
Last year, a writer friend of mine, stopped writing her second novel. She was severely critiqued for her first novel…so the sequel came to a screeching halt.
She had not followed the procedure recommended by her writing group. She did not insert important information on certain pages of her romantic comedy.
A year later, after rewriting her first novel, that had great reviews, it was republished. She continued the sequel.
“How to Write” books and writing groups are most helpful. Learn from them but be careful, don’t lose your voice. Your best effort displays your own personality in your writing.
Lynn Hobbs is the author of the Running Forward Series; a powerful faith and family saga from Desert Coyote Productions.
Book #1: Sin, Secrets, and Salvation, awarded 1st place, Religious Fiction, 2013, Texas Association of Authors.
Book #2: River Town, 1st place, Religious Fiction, 2014, TAA.
Book #3: Hidden Creek.
You can find Lynn on Amazon, Facebook, Goodreads, LinkedIn, Twitter: @LynnHobbsAuthor