Monday, January 16, 2012

Prompt: Write What You Love, Read What You'd Write

What, to you, makes a novel good or bad?

One work trip, I finally decided to crack open my "No Plot? No Problem! A low stress, high-velocity guide to writing a novel in 30 days." A Christmas gift given by my understanding boyfriend one year. I had the book for a few years by then but I finally decided to give it a good ol' try when I thought I would do NaNoWriMo. Was it a coincidence that Chris Baty is also the one who started National Novel Writing Month or am I really that dense that I didn't see the connection? Maybe it didn't click that 30 days is suspiciously equal to a month...Well I'll never tell....

Anywhoo, back to the prompt- enough with the setting...which ,also, coincidentally is on the list... (see what I did there..ha ha...not really clever, ok then...)

He calls these questions "The Two Magna Cartas;" the two lists a writer should base their own writing on. Perfect for me as I'm a firm believer in writing what I would like to read. Here is the list I made (don't let the numbers fool you, they are not in order of favorite only in my mind's order of thought)

Things I like:
1. Hot main male character
Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester. Yum and You're Welcome
2. Lots of dialogue
3. Unexpected deaths of favorite characters
4. Sad Endings
5. Sarcastic Characters!!! (See Dean Winchester)
Oh! Here's another don't have to cry and beg you big baby.

6. Extremely long books (600 pages...yes please)
7. Quirky main female characters
8. More about romance than plot
9. Series
10. Based in reality in some way (for example: real setting or real situation)
11. Some kind of sex scene
12. Magic (characters or powers)
13. Love triangles
14. Characters around my age (teens to late twenties)

Things I don't like:
1. Too much character inner thought monologues
2. Everything working out too perfectly in the end (Ahem **Harry Potter** Cough)
3. Characters falling in love too fast (TWILIGHT....No fake cough needed)
4. Obvious author loves the characters too much to hurt them
5. Older people as protagonist
6. Multiple stories of interconnected characters
7. Too much philosophizing
8. Too many questions by characters that make it obvious this is how the author is world-building
9. Characters you think will get together never do
10. Main female character is thought of as hot by all guys everywhere ever....yet she doesn't see it 
Not a complete Twilight just seems to encompass a lot on this list...hmmmm

11. Too much setting description

So these are roughly the things I will love in a book (or loath) and some of the things I want a book I write to have. It would be interesting to see if all writer follow this philosophy....