Fiction that explores the monsters and strangers among us.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

What Inspires Writers?


The short answer is a lot of things can kickstart a novel project. It could be the observation of an event like a Fourth of July Parade. Hmmm, I wonder what it would be like to begin a story with a day-walking teenage vampire trombone player in the local high school band with fangs protruding around his mouthpiece?

Or it could be a person you see while riding the subway late at night and hoping you don’t get mugged. She’s not very attractive mainly because pretty girls know how to bum a ride home with a smile, but that young lady with oversized forehead, too small ears and ink covering her neck just has an air about her like I could cast her as the girlfriend in an inner-city horror romance.

Another way writers stay motivated is by reading. I enjoy all kinds of fiction both for pleasure and to learn from the best. As a fan of the films made from novels by Nicholas Sparks, I thought it was time to read one. I chose Safe Haven because I enjoyed the film almost as much as I enjoyed A Walk to Remember.

Observations Concerning Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks
1.  His main character is an avatar for his market: A 27-year old female
2.  His writing style imitates the way a woman would tell the story
     A.  Long narration
     B.  Deep dive on details
     C.  Not just the menu, but half the recipe
     D.  Not just a description of outer clothes but deep dive into undergarments and outer garments with details about pattern, color, source, pricing, etc. Why choose this garment instead of another, etc.
     E.  Deep dive into mental state and emotions
     F.  Back story/flashback used extensively as a driver for the story
     G.  Progressive reveal of the thriller story to build fear and anxiety
3.  Writes in romance genre style
     A.  Story is a romance
     B.  Story also includes a thriller that he writes in romance style – a very slowed-down approach to the thriller style.
     C.  Story is also a ghost story that is hidden until the end but hinted at and set up with foreshadowing
     D.  Use of soft hooks
     E.  Happy ending resolves all major plot points
4.  Main character fulfills female reader’s fantasies
     A.  In mortal danger – generates sympathy while building “this could be me” story
     B.  Rescued by handsome man
     C.  Has best female friend to help and guide
     D.  Has romance with man other than her husband
     E.  Starts a new life somewhere else
     F.  Must provide care for young children to bring out reader’s motherly instincts
     G.  Feels guilt and shame for her situation despite it not being her fault

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