the art of writing fiction to entertain
It doesn't really matter how many years we spend honing our skill as a writer or anything, really. We will always have a weakness that is hard to overcome.
Personally, I don't think I'll ever be good at character tropes. As much as I love certain character tropes, I just can't pull it off. At all.
Regardless, the art of writing has a few rules we should all keep in mind when in doubt:
- There are no great, well written, books. Perfection in writing does not exist. What is considered a good book just happens to be a book with higher average amount of well written chapters.
- All we're required to do is move the character from one place to the next. Everything in-between are opportunities for something interesting to happen.
- Our job is to entertain the reader. Very few things fall in that category (no, exposition does not count): Humor, sex, horror, drama, violence, romance, puzzle, surprise and wonder.
Exhibit A: A discussion between two individuals about a scenario during which a terrible war was fought where one of them tried to suck lethal snake venom out of the other man's cock? – People are entertained.
Exhibit B: Multiple pages about the war where warriors rose and fell, the king of the lands was slain, and everyone lived happily there after? – Boring.
- The scene, world, etc, is not what determines the entertainment value, the characters are. If the characters suck, so does the story.
- Always have the story goals planned ahead of time. Once we have an ending, the in-between arcs are entertainment reaching for the conclusion.
Exhibit: A cop discovers a corpse hidden away at the public square – the assumed and easily predicted end is the cop solving the murder, avenge the dead, and corrects whatever wrongs which led to the death in the first place – What happens in between that plotline could be anything; as long as what happens are in pursuit of getting the cop to the decided ending, allowing the story to move forward. But indeed, what happens here in the in-between, is where we entertain. The cop could travel to Venus, eat Korean BBQ with the president, wake up at a graveyard, discover he's a cyborg―whatever we need to do in order to entertain our readers.