Before I begin, I want to let you know how much encouragement your comments bring. Thank you.
I'm told that if you want to bump your craft up a level, there's no better book then Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass.
So let's talk.
(Just so you know . . . I don't yet have the workbook, so we'll be reading through the book instead.)
The Breakout Premise - Part 1
What are your three all-time favorite novels? Maass says they're the dog-eared ones you've read over and over and can quote lines from. Make a list or pull them directly off your shelves. Mind you, only three. No more.
Between you and me, I thought I'd failed before I'd even begun. I don't have any novels I've read over and over. No time? Fear of disappointment? Pick one.
And lines? I can't remember the ending of the movie I saw last night, let alone a line from a novel I read years ago and didn't re-read. Sheesh. But I wanted to try and play. I wandered by my bookshelves, and if a book made me smile, I pulled it out. And had to make myself stop at three. Phew!
The next surprise was that although suspense is the genre that has given me the most satisfaction over the years (and wonderful sleepless nights), not one of the three books I chose is suspense. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells, A Man in Full by Tom Wolfe, and Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden.
Think about what your three choices have in common. It's more than genre or style. Maass says to "consider more the experience it gives you as a reader."
Complete transport into another world is probably one commonality each of your favorites share. A different time, a different place. You open the pages and you're no longer in this reality. A complete fictional world that whisks you in and holds you captive. Make sense?
What are your first three choices?
It's all better with friends.