I write children’s books for a living, and I love my work. But that doesn’t stop me from wanting to write a best-selling fiction. Of course when I learned from creative writing professor and novelist James W. Hall what the formula for writing a best seller fiction is, I wondered if I’d ever make the best seller list for fiction?
You see to write a best seller fiction, you have to kill someone in your story. I have a problem with that. For me writing is real and it’s hard to get into the right frame of mind. Don’t fool yourself, when writing a good novel, you must “live” the novel in order to communicate on a level which intrigues the reader. Visualization is a great tool when writing fiction.
Once you allow your mind into those dark places, you must be concerned with getting back on the positive track, or not. Of course when people read your book or see your movie, they connect the dots and move safely through the story. But when the author is writing, there are no dots to connect. The author has to create the dots and not fall off the deep-end. I wrote one unique murder mystery, Murder by Choice. It took me months to emotionally get over this short novelette, murder is so permanent.
Here is one formula for the best selling novels for the last 10 decades:
1. The hero is an expert.
2. The villain is an expert.
3. You must watch all of the villainy over the shoulder of the villain.
4. The hero has a team of experts in various fields behind him, etc.
5. Two or more on the team must fall in love.
6. Two or more on the team must die.
7. The villain must turn his attentions from his initial goal to the team.
8. The villain and the hero must live to do battle again in the sequel.
9. All deaths must proceed from the individual to the group: i.e., never say that the bomb exploded and 15,000 people were killed. Start with “Jamie and Suzy were walking in the park with their grandmother when the earth opened up.”
10. If you get bogged down, just kill somebody.