Wednesday, September 01, 2021

On the Road: Is Your Story Hurting Your Novel?

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

I'm over at Writers in the Storm today with 5 Ways Your Story Hurts Your Novel. Here's a sneak peek:

When your technical writing skills are at a professional level, but you're still not getting bites from agents, editors (or readers if you self-publish), it's time to look at the story itself.

One of the more frustrating aspects of being an author is the sheer unfairness of publishing. There’s a strange and unfathomable ratio between good writing and good storytelling that sends some manuscripts to the reject pile and others to the bestseller list.

And nobody knows what that ratio is—worse, it’s different for each person, and even each genre.

“Great writing” isn’t enough, and we’ve all read books that aren't well written but still sold millions of copies.

Now, I'm certainly NOT saying that good writing skill isn't something to worry about or work toward. Just that these “badly written best sellers” resonated with readers on such a deep level that they didn't care about the technical craft of the text. They didn't read them to marvel at the skills of the authors, they read them for the stories.

 Read the full article here.


  1. Hi Janice: You post quality articles, and I read them all, although I'm guilty of not commenting. I apologize.
    Your new service bugs me in that it takes the headline place in your email lines and on top of your excellent posts. I get it. They want to advertise, but the bottom feed is where to do that, not usurping a talented author's territory.
    I'm ranting, but your work is too good for their damn logo to be the first thing to catch my eye.

    1. I feel the same way about followit. (And thanks for the kind words).

      I've been looking for an alternative, but I haven't had any luck so far. It's either the logos, or all the text comes one giant block you can't read. Or it costs me a ton to send them out, which just isn't financially feasible. But I am working on the problem, and hopefully I'll find something better.

      You can switch over to the weekly feed, which I send out myself. Maybe that's a good compromise until I find a service that works like Feedburner used to. You'd get all the posts in one email every Sunday. Here's the link:

  2. Hi, read the article over at the Storm and thought I might respond here.
    I find the term 'conflict' a poor word choice for the aspect of creating a 'good' story. I know it is the generic term used to define the tension build up in the current world of writing, but, for me it intones aggression. Not all stories have or need aggression. struggle sure, disappointment and distraction even confusion and more. Not unless aggression is the main theme.
    There is a sense that all stores must be as conflict oriented as the next Marvel movie. I personally find my reading is falling aside and I turn toward writing stories with less intentional aggression and more emotional struggle.
    My two cents. I will clip your article though. Those questions do fit nicely for finding a story's heart.

    1. I actually agree, and I've written about how conflict doesn't equal fighting or aggression. But all stories still need a challenge to overcome, and things preventing the protagonist from getting whatever it is they want. And "conflict" is the word used to describe that in the writing world. It's hard to help writers understand it if I use a term no one else uses. :)

      An emotional struggle *is* conflict, just internal conflict. Internal conflict is a vital part of a story, same as external conflict. For example, romances are mostly internal conflict with soft external conflicts. Plenty of novels are emotionally driven, but they still have conflict, just in a different way.

      And nothing in my article said it had to be an aggressive conflict, just a struggle, or a challenge to be overcome. I try to make that clear when I write about conflict, since so many writers do make that common "conflict = fighting" mistake.