Has it been a whole week? Where does the time go… Behind us, I suppose.
So, here we go. Rule #2 from Pixar’s 22 storytelling rules:
You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be very different things.
This is one reason why I’ve abandoned my novel, The Denouncer. Frankly, I wanted to write it because I wanted to write a tale about an atheist living in medieval Spain. I’m an atheist. 1492 in Spain was a period of religious upheaval. A novel set in this time with a winged woman whom most would think is an angel (or devil) would be awesome! Right?
Maybe a talented author can swing it, but not me. I’ve never written a historical novel. Three years ago, I knew nothing of Spain (other than what I read in novels), and I definitely don’t know anything about the Catholic church and its history. But I thought it would be fun to learn all that and distill the important bits into my novel.
And it was fun. Like most writers, I can get lost in research with the best of procrastinators! And, boy, I did not have to make up any of the weird plot details. Believe me, fiction has nothing over reality.
- Strange cults roaming the countryside causing havoc? Check.
- Pope with a penchant for immortality? Been done already.
- Megalomaniac monarchs bent on controlling the lives of their subjects? Just read current news, there’s always someone suppressing someone else.
But, as promising as all that was (and is), I just didn’t have the writing skills to pull it all together, nor did I have a strong story at my novel’s core that readers could relate to. All I have is a series of events that I thought were cool with a character that is nothing more than a cardboard cut-out of me.
I think my novel may be redeemable. But before I can do that, I have to figure out what it is that I would want to read.
Until next time, write with your audience in mind.