Back in April, author James Bruno suggested in these pages what he believes are the two essential ingredients for a successful novel. One of these is knowledge of the subject matter. His point is that successful works of fiction utilize characters and story lines that closely resemble reality; in other words, they achieve verisimilitude.
The other critical ingredient lies in crafting a good story. Attorneys have a label for something this obvious: sine qua non; which means the thing speaks for itself. Readers of fiction invariably are in search of a good story. They want to be entertained by the written word. Shallow characters, inadequate descriptive passages, choppy or overly verbose dialog, and weak plots won’t attract large numbers of readers or build a fan base.
With regard to the first point, unless the novel falls into the genres of fantasy, horror, or science fiction, the writer has to create a scenario that could be real. Verisimilitude is achieved when the reader suspends disbelief. This means the writer has to fully understand the subject matter about which he or she is writing. There are a limited number of ways to accomplish this. Continue reading “How “Real” Should A Novel Be? by John Wayne Falbey”