Is the idea, the plot, the story line what really matters or is it the characters or the dialog? To me, it would seem, that the idea is what is important. But, can a bad idea be successful if it has such memorable and engaging characters that you can’t wait to know more about them?
When you write, do you first scribble a first draft at warp speed just trying to capture the main story line? A great plot is the reason I usually remember books. Those plots can stay with me for a lifetime if I found them to be extraordinary. Maybe it is because there are so many similar plots in stories that the wonderful surprise of a book offering a unique look from a different angle is refreshing.
With non -fiction writing it seems to me that the facts and information that is uncommon is the important part of the article. Those facts are what sets one article on a topic above another. The best articles have information that astounds, entertains and teaches. Once again the idea plays a large part in whether or not this article is appealing. The complete idea also includes the angle from which it is written.
Seldom does dialog impress me as I’m reading, but occasionally, what is said by the characters is meaningful, astute or clever. If you, like me, remember movie lines for years, you may do the same thing with great dialog. Can you immediately remember that dialog and be sure you have viewed that movie before? Can that be the best part of the book for you? Dialog can be very powerful.
Sometimes I find description of a place or person enough to make me want to re-read it. If it makes me feel that I am in that place right now, that is terrific. If I feel I can see the character in front of me and want to say ,”Hello” that is what counts.Authors that can do that well seem to be more the exception, than the rule. Some authors from other eras, used so much description as to make it boring and you no longer even wanted to continue reading.I guess that was just part of their style. That was also what was expected by the readers from that time period. Others have not included enough details for my taste to really acquaint me with the subject of that description.I like to know a great deal about my characters and appreciate when if not described at least their former history has been implied.
Many writers who know what they are doing seem to spend most of their efforts on the technical aspect of their writing. Following the rules is emphasized unless you are a world class author who has been around for ages and earned the right to change those rules.Novices like myself are often not as skilled with the rules as we should be and that keeps us from pursuing more projects than we might otherwise.
So as writers, authors and poets think about this topic and please leave a comment to actually offer help to those struggling.