This seems to be a phrase I have adopted and used a lot recently. It’s in trying to define what it is that makes some writing really compelling and we don’t want to put the book down, and what has us abandoning the book after a chapter or two. A lot of this I think can be down to the style and if you tell and don’t show and bring the narrative to life in a visual way it doesn’t connect to the reader. The characters also have to have power on the page; they have to feel real — flaws and all: interesting, maybe even quirky individuals. But the reader must want to be able to connect; they must care enough to take the journey with them.
If not then what do you have?
This is when I think the writing feels flat.
The question I always ask when it comes to the edit is: is this the best way to tell this story?
A client might have a gem of an idea but without the skills to do it justice the novel or short story won’t work. I actually think a less powerful idea but strong engaging writing will have more power. We can not all come up with life-changing ideas that are high concept this will make the best movie ever. In fact most ideas are not that at all. But executed well the writing will have energy and will sing and it doesn’t matter as long as the idea is solid and works for the story.
I remember attending Winchester Writer’s Conference many years ago right at the beginning of my own writer’s journey and having some amazing feedback and I had so much to learn then. But I also remember a girl who had yet to write anything being super excited because an agent liked her idea. The idea might be the best thing since… well you know, but without knowing the ability to write it, it could be nothing. I hope that got her writing and she was able to justice to it.
So if someone like Stephen King on the other hand has the same kind of idea that’s high concept — then the advances are being paid to get it written because they know he can and will do it justice.
So make sure you learn your craft. Add energy to your writing. Connect. Connect. Connect.
Have a great weekend everyone!