My feeling is that most of us newbie writers have a serious problem with story. When we first take to the blogosphere, we learn an incredible amount about writing, and after a year or two we gain a lot of confidence. However, I think the bulk of what we learn concerns only one aspect of writing a novel, and that is the writing side of it. I don't mean only grammar, though of course that is an important part of it, but rather all of the disparate elements of creating decent prose and dialogue.
Imagine for a moment that you have learned to write perfectly, that you have perfect grammar, perfect prose, perfect dialogue. You can still write a terrible story.
Story is where most of us go wrong in our early efforts. Part of it is that it is a bit elusive. Who is to say for your particular subgenre where the best place to begin your story truly is? Who can tell you whether to have a single POV character, or whether several might work better for the needs of the story? There are some things that I can give an opinion on, though they are not universal. For instance, these days I feel that omniscient is not the best POV to use, though having said that I still see good books by famous authors using it and using it well. I feel that close 3rd works best for me, and for YA books first person seems to be the most commonly used POV.
So many times I see writers not getting it when it comes to story. They will post a chapter or excerpt online and others will let them know that something is wrong with it, yet when they come back with an edited version it is easy to see that they didn't truly 'get it'. It might be too much exposition, or perhaps the writer is overwhelming the reader with too many new characters in one chapter, but when the writer is warned about the issue, they more often than not tinker a bit with it rather than actually resolving the problem.
What are your thoughts on story?
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