Friday, July 02, 2010

The K.I.S.S. Method of Writing

Every writer creates a novel with a premise. Many times that idea is formed with the marketability of the end product in mind. What's selling? Are historicals out of sync with today's market? Have vampire series run their bloody course? What can I write that will still be in vogue two years from now? After all, that is how long it usually take to see your work in print.

The other day I was reminded of a very basic fact. Good writing will prevail even if the story line is not very complicated. I was reminded of this by reading Danielle Steele's book, Big Girl. The story is about just that--a big girl. Now, some of you who know me may say that it resonated with me because I am carrying around a few extra pounds. Although that is true, it wasn't what appealed to me about this book. It was the clarity of the author's voice, her ability to paint a picture that evoked an emotional response and simple story telling that had a beginning, a middle and an end.

There were no big surprises, complicated plots or exotic locations that piqued my interest. It was just a nice story, told by a good story teller, who has the ability to convey an emotional response from her readers. I had forgotten how good she is. It's no wonder she has sold over 590 million books.

Thanks for the reminder, Danielle. You don't have to come up with complicated plots, exotic locations or bizarre twists and turns in your manuscript. Simple, clear, writing, that is believable and the reader can identify with, will do the trick.


M.V.Freeman said...

I agree!

Thanks for the reminder about keeping it simple.

I love characterizations. Complicated plots are fine if that is the world you built, but like you sometimes its just the simple straight forward story that resonates.

I enjoyed this post!

Jeanie said...

I like this, Diane. I stink at complicated plots, so this gives me hope!

Diane Richmond said...

Thanks, guys. I needed the reinforcement too. I always say to myself, "what do I know about all that stuff?" Knowing that I can strive to just tell a simple story well, gives me hope too!

Louisa Cornell said...

With all of the blogs and classes and reviewers that try to tell you what to write sometimes it is really hard to see the forest for the trees. Great insight! In the end, the writing is the thing that will sell you and keep readers coming back for more.

Carla Swafford said...

Bravo! Diane, you're so right.

Cari Hislop said...

I agree! As a reader I hate it when a complicated plot line keeps me from getting to know the characters. I once read this romance where (yes I read all of it because I'm an addict) the writer only had the hero and heroine meet in the book five times and this wasn't a Barbara Cartland length book. Two of the five times included the introduction and her showing up at his house at the end to supposedly confess her undying love...because she'd met him three fairly insignificant times in between? The characters were interesting and I wanted to know more about them. I wanted to see the two getting to know each other...but no, most of the book was taken up with a pointless subplot that did nothing for the story. On the rare occasion I'm tempted to sneak in a pointless plot line for whatever reason that book comes to mind and I slap my hand.

Christine said...

Hi Diane: I just had that epiphany a few months ago AFTER I reworked my plot, which is more complicated than I want it to be but matches the story. However, after I finish this manuscript, I am literally heading back to the basics. KISS works for me. I have read too many contemporary romances without all the twists and turns that are resonating with me to ignore my need to keep it simple the next go around. I think all the writing/plot workshops have complicated my process and I am definitely getting back to basics.

Great Post!

Amy DeTrempe said...

I agree, a good story is a good story, regardless of the trends. That is why some books stay with us forever and ever. I hope to write on of those someday.