I'm reading a book now (I won't mention the title out of respect for the author), that keeps me asking one question:
Needless to say, it's not an easy read.
See, I'm on Chapter 17 and I'm still struggling with what the sense of urgency is. If the hero fails in doing whatever they're supposed to do (and I'm still not sure - the hero's mentor is really the hero so far), what's the big deal?
Will the world end? Will people and characters I care about die? I dunno.
Any good book, as I mentioned before, will have a sense of urgency as it relates to either the reader or the hero or some other characters. They absolutely HAVE to get something done or their life will be for naught. In some instances that urgency is around an accomplishment. In others, it's danger - depends on your genre. In my book, the United States stands to be completely altered by a change in history. If the hero's don't correct that change, everything they know about 2009 will be different. And not just different, but horrible - nuclear wars, poverty, and so on.
Again, some stories are based on a character accomplishment - and the driving need to achieve it or else the main character's life is pointless. Moby Dick finding the whale at all costs. Ordinary People by Judith Guest is about a hero trying to reconcile with his family before he completely loses his mind.
But all good stories have a "pace" to them that is based on a sense of urgency.
And by the way - this urgency, this singular drive of the hero, if you can identify that and it's strong enough, you can summarize your book in one line. More on that tomorrow!
If there's no point to the story, there's no point in reading it.
I'm starting a new book today with that as the title. "The Strength To Stand Up. Memoirs of an Unemployed Man." People have...
Great time had at the SCBWI conference on Saturday! And a big hello to my friends from that conference who've hopefully joined us here....