The questions, in order of appearance . . .
1) Are my characters DOING something?
2) Is there a CONFLICT?
3) If I'm 90 years old and sitting on the porch with my partner (insert designation of choice here), will I say: "I am so glad I wrote THAT novel."?
4) Why does your character want to tell this story?
So, for fun, let me ask and answer these questions for my novel currently in revision stage.
- Are my characters DOING something? Yes. Definitely. They're living their lives, interacting with each other, and desperately trying to make the right choices that will bring them happiness and resolve . . .
- Is there a CONFLICT? Well, yes, there is, which is how I'd finish the sentence I left dangling with those pretty little ellipses . . . and resolve the conflicts in their lives. Each character has a conflict they are dealing with and trying to resolve. The choices aren't simple, and the repercussions, for some of the characters, are far reaching.
- If I'm 90 years old and sitting on the porch with my partner, will I say: "I am so glad I wrote THAT novel."? Yes. I love, love, love this project. It was written from my heart. It was written solely for me with little thought giving to any outside influences - OMG, what if my mother reads this? Is there an audience? There is, btw. Will the contents of this novel cause the downfall of society? Will this story make an impact on people? Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So, yes, I am glad I wrote THAT novel.
- Why does your character want to tell this story? Because it is a story that needs to be told. Life isn't, no matter what the eternal optimists in the world might say, a proverbial bed of roses. Roses have thorns, people, and every now and then, no matter how careful we are, we get pricked by one of those thorns. Let me tell you, it hurts, it stings, and sometimes it bleeds . . . and yet we survive. So, the travails of an unraveling relationship, the indecision of a man as he exists in a bad relationship and is unable to find the courage to seek something better, the aftermath of a violent attack, and the realization that even the most meaningless relationships, ironically, have meaning after all, are why my characters want to tell this story.
Now, go check out the other blogs, and then start asking yourselves these same questions!