What is the Purpose of Your Novel?

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For 4 years I’ve been writing Perceptions, but since joining Self-Publishing School, they made me rethink my title, and asked me a question I never asked myself. “What is the purpose of your book?” I’ve been thinking furiously about the purpose of this novel. What do I hope to achieve? I am currently reading The Secret Healer by Ellin Carsta, and it has changed the way I feel about fiction books. The characters seem very real to me. The trials and tribulations that Malden encounters sears my soul.

I also attended a performance Friday night entitled Brooklyn Quartet by Rock Wilk, where I experienced the same feelings while reading Ellin Carsta’s novel. That is what books are suppose to do. They are supposed to change your outlook on life, or for writers change the way you write books. The Secret Healer and Brooklyn Quartet changed my view of writing stories/novels, and they both transported me into their realms of imagination. I didn’t feel like I was reading a book or watching a performance. I felt like I was experiencing everything along with the characters.

On my commute to work this morning, I wondered about the messages in the two pieces. What made these two pieces remarkable? For me it was the characters and their journey throughout the book/performance. Rock and Ellin’s characters resembled real people with real life problems. The characters made mistakes. They trusted the wrong people. They loved with their entire being. They got angry. They felt sadness. They cried like their hearts would break or were broken without repair. They had horrible things happen to them. Malden was naive. She wanted to help people and thought that everyone was like her (nice). My characters have to have fallible characteristics. Things have to happen to my protagonist which are beyond her control. She has to have a trait that we, as readers hate about her. I truly  hated Malden sometimes for never learning from her mistakes, but yes, there are people like that out there. They keep reliving the same reality over and over. Never learning, never growing (maybe she’ll grow. I haven’t finished the book)

I am still trying to find the purpose for my novel, but I’m making headway. I’ve added something that my character wants, and I’ve also changed the title (A Locked Heart). The book has changed hopefully for the better. I struggled with finding an original idea/purpose for my novel. This morning I received this message from Creative Writing Now via email: “Originality isn’t really something you have to work at — it happens naturally. But if you want to make your writing more original, the best thing you can do is to read. Read lots of different authors. Get exposed to lots of influences. Your brain will combine those influences in interesting ways and turn them into something new.” This is true, because after reading a passage or a piece of dialog from The Secret Healer, the urge to write is overwhelming, and I must stop reading, and begin typing furiously on my phone.

The Universe is speaking, and I’m listening!


5 thoughts on “What is the Purpose of Your Novel?

    • After I wrote this a friend told me to think about it this way, “What’s the story you want to tell? What are the themes, fears, or desires you want to explore in your story?” This makes more sense than asking what is the purpose of your story. Once you know what are the fears and desires of the characters, then you can know the purpose behind the book. Just my take. I’m learning everyday why I must tell this particular story. Yes, I also want to be immortal, but also want to tell a quality story. Something that may change someone’s outlook on life. 🙂

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