By A. Gavazzoni – author of Behind The Door and Lara’s Journal
I gave an interview recently, and this was one of the questions I had a difficult time answering. I started to think about the way I write and especially about the way I wrote Behind The Door in order to come up with a good answer.
I started Behind The Door, expecting I’d write a romance. Of course, I knew the complete main storyline involving Mark and Lara and Simone and Carl, but suddenly, I decided to add some spiciness to Lara’s story. Why not show the readers her behavior instead of just mentioning it in passing? And so the book took on an erotic flavor… A little spice is always a good component to a great story.
I decided Simone should continue her life while analyzing Mark’s journal…and in the course of her work, I created many characters to play the roles of her patients, such as Philip and Alvin.
I thought Simone needed a good male friend, the kind you can trust and who will be there for you, no matter what. Edward’s character was really inspired by adorable male friends I had during my life, and I think a good story must have friendship.
At that point, I was almost happy with my story—I had mystery, passion, friendship, and sex, but as I said, I was almost happy…not entirely.
Something was still missing!
Then one day, I was watching the show Criminal Minds, and I love that series, because it has so many surprises and twists, and I thought, That’s it! My novel can’t be predictable!
I went back to the first chapter and started to add small pieces and clues to lead to a more mysterious plot. I added a psycho—no, the psycho wasn’t a character I had planned from the beginning. I decided one of my characters must be a killer, and suddenly, the novel was all about ”who is committing these murders and why”. And I had to turn every character into a suspect in order to preserve the mystery and the surprises… To be truthful, I had doubts regarding who I’d turn into a murderer!
So, in my opinion, mystery and surprises are the essential qualities for a good story. The reader must be surprised, and the author must let his mind surprise him. We can’t be afraid of our own imagination, and we must give it free rein to reign while we write, to change the path our story takes to a satisfying journey’s end.
Once again, never worry about what other people are going to think about your writing. Write for yourself, find your own idea of what makes a great story, and write. And, dear readers, what I’m writing here is exactly that—my opinion—but as the title says, you have to ask to yourself, what, according to your tastes and preferences, are the essential qualities of a good story.
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