Final Thoughts on the Seven Deadly Sins


First off, I hope you enjoyed the Seven Deadly Sins for Novel Writing as much as I did. It helped me to put into words what I thought were the largest pitfalls and allowed me to brainstorm a system to navigate them. The first step to avoiding anything is awareness--knowledge is power.

Now my confession. While I broke down the Novel Writing Sins into 7, there's really a single sin that trumps all. Can you guess what it is?

Disappointment. If we have one job as writers, it is to never, ever disappoint the reader.

Each of us draws from a unique perspective and set of experiences when writing. We learn all we can, make decisions and take risks. We can choose to follow, alter or break the rules and techniques of writing in order to tell the story the best way we can...as long as we achieve the most important thing.

To leave the reader feeling satified.

Readers give us time (and money!) in exchange for not just a great story but an EXPERIENCE. This is the highest form of entertainment. Having a reader close our book with a smile and a sigh...this is our goal and a reward beyond measure.
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13 comments:

Danyelle said...

Your series has been awesome! And you're right, I think this is the most important, and probably the hardest. Someone somewhere is going to be disappointed that the story didn't live up to their expectations (and sometimes that someone is a reader, and sometimes it is the author), and I think that's part of what makes working with words so frustrating sometimes. Readers come with their own perceptions as well. To be human is to be complicated. :D

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Angela, you really hit a chord with me with the words Disappointment and Experience. As a reader, disappointment will keep me from returning to an author. And as a writer, your insight into the experience of a story is an eye-opener. You are so right. That is what the best stories are.

Liana Brooks said...

And here my thought was that Not Writing was the worst sin of all. Everything else can be fixed in edits. But, without words, you have nothing to fix.

I like the series. Thank you!

dirtywhitecandy said...

Totally agree. I always try to spend time working out what the reader's expectations of a story will be, and then how I can fulfil them and surprise too. I've just discovered your site and am going to be happily exploring your content!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

This has been a great series, Angela. Today's advice is so true - the key to a good reading experience. Is it terrible that I found one of the "classic American novels" to be one of my most disappointing reads? I HATE the way The Grapes of Wrath ends with no closure or feeling of being finished at all.

Jennifer M Nunes said...

Thanks so much for the seven deadly sins! They have really helped me think about my writing and evaluate where I make these mistakes!

Angela said...

Thanks everyone for being patient and wading through my long posts on the seven sins! There was so much to cover once I got going, lol! I'm glad they helped you as they did me.

Liana, LOL definitely NOT writing is a grave sin!

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Robyn Campbell said...

Angela, such a great series. Thank you for all the help that you provide writers.

I have read books by authors who in the past wrote great reads, only to find they had gotten lazy or whatever and disappointed. I do NOT want to be like that. Thank you Angela! (^_^)

MG Higgins said...

Totally, totally agree. I hate feeling disappointed when I've finished a book (or NOT finished it if the disappointment comes early). We have too many choices to make when it comes to book-buying and I won't bother with an author who's left me cold.

(My word verification is nodose!)

j.m. neeb said...

Awesome series of posts! You gave a lot of really fantastic advice and this is definitely a great resource for any writer. Thank you so much!

PJ Hoover said...

Wait - I have to satisfy the reader?

I loved the 7 deadly sins. Thank you so much!

Mary Witzl said...

I've learned a lot from this series, Angela. Thank you.

There's nothing worse than finishing a book only to find that it's 'dragon's head and snake's tail' -- a great beginning, but an unsatisfying or incomplete ending. I also hate wondering about loose ends that weren't tied up, and I'm no fan of books with plots that are too easy to suss out -- or ones with elaborate devices to mislead you.

Now I'm wondering if I've done any of those myself...

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