I had an epiphany about writing today.
I would like to write a novel one day and have it published in stores to be read by the public. I want that novel to be engaging, interesting and thought-provoking, something that benefits society and also brings some sort of a living to me—in short, a “good” book. As to actually penning the words of the book on paper, that step in the process has yet to come.
But I realized something that has changed my writing philosophy.
Writing a “good” book like that takes more than just a plot that I or anyone for that matter thinks is original or interesting. That is because only I and the people that agree with me, like that plot. For instance, if there was a story just about a group of guys who bond together and try to destroy a ring in the center of a volcano, that in itself would only appeal to some people that enjoyed the plot. But Lord of the Rings is more than that because it discusses and highlights ideas like friendship, evil versus good, religion, death and free will. The plot of the story is the medium to which the ideas are presented to the reader. And ideas can apply to anyone at any stage of life with any sort of view. So in effect, the ideas appeal to the reader, not necessarily the story—although the storyline does play a huge part in colorfully and vividly showing the ideas.
It is also why there can be more discussion about any book of high literary quality after the book is read because it is not merely a conversation about the quality of the plot and characters but about the illustration the text provides of a certain idea.
In this way, I realized that it does not matter how much I think I have written an incredible plot with relatable characters, the book will not matter if it does achieve that sort of discussion. Because if it does not, it is just a book where I try to demonstrate what I think is great when in reality it is not. But if I focus on an idea and use the plot and characters as a medium for discussion, then, maybe then, I will be able to write a “good” book.
Look out world; I may be late to the party, but I still have something to prove.