Make it interesting

“The only obligation to which in advance we may hold a novel, without incurring the accusation of being arbitrary, is that it be interesting.” That’s Henry James in the “Art of Fiction.” If your readers get to the bottom of the page and turn it, you’re in the game. Don’t listen to complaints that you’ve violated this genre boundary or ignored some aesthetic principle or other. It’s not a sport. There’s no rulebook for fiction. Conversely, no matter how well a piece of fiction captures your Original Vision or suits your (or your writing instructor’s) favorite program for Good Fiction or how damn smart you feel when you write it, if it’s dull, then Henry James and I humbly suggest revision.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *