The most critical element of a successful novel

Critically important idea, and Rebecca Mahoney writes about it in a way thatt is crystal clear.

A Writer's Life

When I was a journalist, I was an observer. My job was to notice people’s actions and reactions, what they said and where they were, and report those details in a creative but objective way.

When I made the leap to fiction, those same details came easy for me – actions and reactions, dialogue, and setting. What I struggled with, though, was something my journalism training couldn’t help with: Developing internal narrative.

Internal narrative is the character’s thoughts and feelings, the private monologue that makes the reader feel as though we’re inside that character’s head, experiencing the world through his or her eyes.  Not only is internal monologue  important – it’s perhaps the most critical element of a successful novel.

Here’s why: Most fiction, especially literary fiction, is driven by character, not plot. Sure, plot and premise are important, but what makes a story soar is how the protagonist addresses…

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