Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Tuesday's Opinions: When Authors Get It Right

 It's Tuesday!  Every week, I write about what I think, be it dance-related or book-related, because I don't often get a chance to share my views in the real world, so why not say it in cyberspace? :)

This week I want to talk about when authors get a book right.

When Authors Get It Right
Every reader has experienced this: they find a book that goes above and beyond their expectations. The book changes their life and stays with them long after they've read it.  It's a book they could read over and over again and never tire of.  It's a book where the author got it right.

So how can an author get it right?  What makes a book or series so amazing?  I think it comes down to 5 essential things: Character development, Writing, Plot Flow, Creativity, and Morality.  If an author can get all five of these things right, then you get something wonderful as a result.

1. Character Development
Let's face it, the characters of a story should be well-rounded.  They need dimension and complexity.  They can't just go through the motions, they have to have feelings and desires and opinions.  As a bonus, I prefer being able to relate to the character.  Something about the protagonist(s) needs to speak to me on a personal level.

2. Writing
Back in the day, I wasn't all that picky about writing.  For me, if the plot was good, then I was all set.  Lately, though, the writing seems more important than ever.  I am not a good writer myself, but I've become a bit of a writing critic.  In my opinion, it's the writing that sets the tone of the novel.  It's the writing that can manipulate your emotions (ie, make you laugh or cry), or make a plot seem exciting, or even just interesting.  It's the writing that, in the end, can make or break a novel.

3. Plot Pace and Flow
Ever read a book and felt that it "dragged" at a certain point?  Notice how that drops your rating of the book?  Plot is definitely important in a novel.  No plot, no story.  And it's not just a matter of having a plot, the plot needs to flow well.  The pace can speed up or slow down, but it has to maintain your interest.  I think this one goes hand-in-hand with writing, since if a story is written well, then the plot will move along nicely.

4. Creativity
A good book has to be creative, for sure.  The premise is the first thing that attracts a reader, after all.  And I'm not saying it has to be original, no.  Original stories are fun and everything, but a good one is rare.  No, an author needs to be able to take any premise or storyline and make something interesting and unique out of it. 

5. Morality
The best stories, or at least the ones that had the greatest impact on me, are the ones with the strongest morals.  There is a clear message that you can take with you once the story is done, a principle that one can live by.  Morals give books a certain purpose when you read them, so they become more significant.

Now that I've written this post, I'm trying to think of books I've read that fit the requirements I've mentioned.  So here's a list of books where I think the author got it right.  Keep in mind, this is my opinion; you don't have to agree with it, but feel free to add your own suggestions.

12 Books And Series Where I Think The Author Got It Right 
(I tried to stop at 10, but couldn't)

1. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee  I don't think there's a single person out there who's read this book and who wasn't impacted by this amazing story.

2. Lord Of The Rings Trilogy and The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien These are the books that put the fantasy genre on the map.  The creativity, the writing, everything is very well done.

3. Siddhartha, by Herman Hesse This book is absolute poetry!  It had a huge impact on my views of religion and life when I was a kid.  The last time I read this (some months back), the ending made me burst into tears.

4. The Bean Trees, by Barbara Kingsolver This book was so well written, I can't even describe it.  It's so wonderful, just talking about it makes me want to read it again.

5. The Harry Potter Series, by J.K. Rowling The books that influenced an entire generation, my generation!  There's magic in this story that comes alive in the hearts of readers all around the world, and it's a magic that's still working for future generations to come.

6. Life Of Pi, by Yann Martel I love this story.  It's so sad yet so wonderful.  This is another book that affected my religious views, and it has stuck with me for years.

7. Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card Rumor has it that the military are sometimes required to read this.  I love the creativity behind this story, it's so different and original.

8. Holes, by Louis Sachar When I was younger, I was immensely impressed how the plot created metaphorical "holes" that would get get filled in when you found out the answers to various plot questions.  The thinking behind this whole book was genius!

9. The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield Ever read a book that pulls you in from the very first page, and you can't stop?  This was one of those books for me.  Setterfield is a talented writer!

10. Pride And Prejudice, by Jane Austen A timeless classic this is beautiful to read, with characters and a love story that you can't help but adore!

11. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss A trilogy that isn't as widely popular as other fantasy novels, but I feel it deserves mention and praise for it's creativity, it's plot, and it's writing. 

12. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, by Robin Sloane A book that doesn't go where you expected it to go, but it puts a smile on your face and makes you feel hopeful about both the past and the future.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I have only read two of those that you listed. :) HP and P&P!