Photo by lawmurray via Flickr
First of all, Happy International Women's Day, everybody!
Onto the blog post...
I recently finished the first draft of my first novel, and I’m currently revising it, so I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about the overall picture. I still need to make sure all the characters don’t sound the same when they talk, but before that I want to make sure I have its “essence” down. What’s an essence? Hmm, well, some people call it the core of the story (check out a cool post by my crit buddy, Jade, discussing the core of her newest novel where she references a blog post by Maggie Stiefvater). I like to call it: the feeling you’re left with after you close the last page of the book.
Let’s take Twilight as an example (since it’s very popular and most people know it) and use my definition on it. The book is about a girl who falls in love with a vampire, and her life is in danger during most of the book, but especially toward the end. There are some pretty violent scenes and if you go on Amazon you’ll see that the two categories the book is under is “Love & Romance” AND “Spine-Chilling Horror.” I was very surprised to see the horror category. When I closed the book I felt pretty happy—the core of the book is the romance between the two main characters.
So after reading Jade’s post, I knew I had to identify the core of my book. During revisions I would have to shift the emphasis around in the book, and I didn’t want to lose my core. After some thinking, I realized that the core of my book is all about believing in yourself. I was very happy to find this out. It also helped me decide how to tie up some of the plot threads so that I keep the emphasis on my core and I think it made the book stronger as a whole.
How about you? What is the core of your book? Do you keep it in mind while you’re writing/revising?