When a writer creates a book, they have an intention or reason for doing it. A book is an immense amount of work, so there’s always a goal or something that the writer wants to accomplish with their book.
What were your goals and intentions in your book (pick one), and how well do you feel you achieved them?
Here are their unedited responses.
I am answering this question two days after my editor sent me an email with the complete, final version of the book and congratulations upon finishing it. Which means my goal has been achieved on Monday, January 28, 2019.
Ever since I turned seven I wanted to be a writer. The problem was that being a writer involved actually writing, which took a lot of time and effort. I was supposed a genius artistè, not some sort of hard worker! So until my late 30s I remained the sort of person muttering “pffft, this book is crap, I could write a better one in my sleep” – yet not writing anything that would progress further than an unfinished first draft. That part of the process wasn’t so bad. It was the idea of revising and editing like some losers who didn’t have my natural genius, especially since I already knew how it was going to end. Why would I bother doing the same thing again, I’d ask myself, shrug, then return to complaining about other people’s writing not satisfying my high standards.
And then things have changed.
Storytellers went through twenty-one drafts and took me 25 months to finish from the first word until receiving the email from the editor congratulating me on the final version of the book. It definitely didn’t feel that way when I got my horrid back injuries in 2015, but I feel a lot of gratitude now. Because if I weren’t confined to a chair most of the day I don’t think this book would get finished either. In a way, I wrote it out of boredom since it was one of the very few things I was able to do. But as time has passed, my attitude began to change. I became excited about research and revising. I realised how much I was learning with each revision and each email full of my editor’s remarks. And I remembered how much I enjoyed learning new things.
The first novel is officially finished now – goal achieved. It’s time to move on to the real work: logistics, design, promotion, reviews, but most importantly writing – and finishing! – the next novel. Storytellers might sell or not, get five-star reviews or get absolutely massacred by the reviewers, but it has proven to me that I am, after all, capable to writing a book. The next goal in front of me is to write, and finish, the second one.
They say it’s the journey that’s important and not the destination. But I have to say that it’s nice to arrive somewhere once in a while before going further into unexplored lands.
Bjørn Larssen – writer, blacksmith, spiritual Icelander
My goals in my first book: Is It Still Murder Even If She Was A Bitch? grew in number as the writing progressed. I wanted to show that menopausal women can be cool and that female amateur sleuths don’t have to be 20-something, stunningly gorgeous and brilliant (but end up doing really stupid things like meeting the murderer with no weapon and no back up in a dark alley). Female sleuths don’t have to be either 20-something or Miss Marple with nothing in between. My sleuth, Donna Leigh, is menopausal, attractive but not perfect and smart but not flawless.
I wanted to clearly avoid my most common pet peeves, the ones repeated throughout cozy mysteries that I read, e.g. men are always telling female sleuths “I am angry, you need to stay out of this investigation.” This rant is generally repeated ad nauseum throughout the plot. The female sleuth typically ignores this command, yet often frets that she’s making the macho guy mad with every move she makes. I’m sick to death of this and I’m guessing others are as well.
I wanted to show that the most appealing woman doesn’t have to be the thinnest – that women can be spectacular, desirable and stylish at any weight.
I also wanted to show that comedy doesn’t have to detract from the mystery in a murder mystery. If the author is careful not to leave a trail of red herrings and is diligent in answering every question in an interesting and compelling way, a comedy can be every bit as suspenseful a drama.
Have I met these goals? Feedback from readers tells me I have – maybe not every goal with every reader – but enough to know it’s all in there.
My intention with my first published novel was to write a crime yarn that would appeal to females as well as males. I believe I achieved my goal based on the 4.6 rating Southside Hustle holds on Amazon. The majority of the 4 and 5 Star reviews were by females. I wrote my second published novel, Razorback, for me, for my own entertainment. I didn’t think female readers would take to it as much as they did because the protagonist is a womanizing, opportunist bank robber. Thankfully, Razorback has a 4.4 rating. (thought I’d give myself a shameless plug)
My intention for my novel-in-progress, Haunting of Maple Creek, is to weave a few sub-plot lines in with the theme and main plot and have them all come together nice and neat. With revisions and fastidious attention to the various plotlines, I’m confident it can be achieved.
One of my main goals with Forsaking All Other was to write a story that reflected the reality of life in late 16th century England, though I did draw the line at smell. I know that 16th century life was not as fragrant as ours is but to paraphrase Josephine Tey, if they did not smell bad to each other, then they have no right to smell bad to us.
Overall, I wanted show the lack of freedom that women, and men too, had in determining their own lives, even to their choice of spouse, and the difficulties that could arise when they stepped outside the boundaries of a far more rigidly structured society than our own. My main characters, Bess Stoughton and Edmund Wyard are reasonably ordinary people, with the attitudes and beliefs of their time, caught up in situations that did arise in that period, resolved in ways that were probable rather than extraordinary. In no way did I want them to be 21st century people in period dress.
If reviews are anything to go by, I think I have achieved what I aimed for with praise for the historical reality I created. One reviewer said, ‘I felt as though as I was living at the same time as the characters.’ What more could a writer of historical fiction ask for?
With Secrets of a Mayan Moon, book 1 in the Isabella Mumphrey Adventure series, my intention was to write an action adventure with romance. My main character is a female Indiana Jones/ MacGyver. She carries a pocket-sized emergency tin that gets her out of trouble along with her high IQ. Unfortunately, she is a bit socially naive.
I do feel that my intention for the book was met when I finished. It won an award for best romantic suspense in the Reader’s Crown and the reviews have raved about the adventure in the book.