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The Spiritual Nature of Writing Novels

I believe a well-written novel does something to the reader. The reader and the writer must share a spiritual moment of clarity with a book, even if their two experiences of it differ in material ways. A reader closes the last page of a great novel not begging for more, but satisfied that the story ended the way it did, that it took the reader on a journey they won’t forget, and that some small part of their life makes a little more sense than it did the day before they first opened that book.

I expect I am in the minority on this subject, as it is clear that a great number of novel writers and their readers are satisfied with bed time stories in book form. They have a beginning, a middle and an end that sets up the sequel.

But I can’t write novels like that. My books have to have a purpose beyond just entertaining or distracting the reader from real life problems. 

I have been working on The Dying Art of Conjugation for a while now and have recently been struggling to stay focused. The story follows the Three-Act structure. It has good characters and good dialogue. But it has been missing something. A month ago I decided to insert a motif, a recurring image that each character experiences, like an Easter Egg for readers to notice or not notice. But this wasn’t enough. All of my novels have a spiritual  something, usually a narrative twist with a gotcha moment that allows a very different second reading of the book.

Today I realized what that special narrative twist needs to be. And who else would I get my inspiration from than my favorite author, Kurt Vonnegut?

Ready to get back to it now. Have a great day!


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