I’ve been making a pretty intriguing mistake with my writing up until fairly recently: I tried to tell an interesting story.
That may sound silly, but hear me out…
In my first book–In the Days: A Tale of the Forgotten Continent—the entire focus was on the story. The characters in the book were only there to tell the story, and they came and went as the STORY demanded.
That was my mistake: placing too much emphasis on the story, or the plot.
Someone once said, “Plot is people. Human emotions and desires founded on the realities of life, working at cross purposes, getting hotter and fiercer as they strike against each other until finally there’s an explosion—that’s Plot.”
The truth is that the story you are telling doesn’t really matter, but what matters is the PERSON or PEOPLE that the story is about.
Think about the Holy Bible, a book that is filled with amazing stories. Things like Noah’s Ark, the wars in the Book of Judges and Kings, and even the prophecies in the Prophetic books. All with huge potential to be fascinating stories, but those are the books you tend to skim through. Why is that?
It’s because there’s no connection with the characters in the story. That, then, is the secret to a great story: telling what happens to a person.
Plot is one of the LEAST important elements of a book, but it’s simply what helps your character to make the journey of progress, change, and growth that they must embark upon. If you focus too much on the plot, you usually end up neglecting your characters. That is a mistake that will lead people to read your book and say, “What an interesting story”, and then put the book down forever.
But what is it about books that are read over and over? What makes you come back to them time and again? It’s the characters in the story.
Instead of telling a story, tell someone’s LIFE STORY. Write about the life of a person, rather than using that person as the means of getting through intriguing plot points and twists that you’ve created.
I made that mistake for far too long, and it’s one I intend to correct. From now on, it’s not the plot I’m going to focus on, but it’s the characters!