Have a (Book) Affair: Why Cheating On Your Story Makes You A Much Better Writer

Book monogamy is probably killing your narrative.

Story thrives in polyamorous romps with other stories, ideas, learnings and experiences. 

That is to say: the more you “cheat” on your story by flooding yourself with sensory-rich, dopamine releasing altered states of joy, the better your story. 

5 Reasons To Start A Book Affair Today 

  1. Re-engage emotionally 
  2. Spark creativity 
  3. Trigger new insights 
  4. Fresh Lens (perspective)
  5. Expand worldview 

So, yeah, go ahead – have a Book affair. 

How To Have A (Book) Affair

There are essentially three major steps to your book affair. Each step takes you deeper into the torrid affair: fantasize, realize and  synthesize. 

That’s another way of saying hook, look and book. 

Fantasize

In this first step, you take a step back from your Work-In-Progress (WIP). Close your eyes. Breathe. 

Allow your mind and heart to wander again, free from the structural constraints of your current story. 

Plot? What plot? 

Erase from your mind all inklings of character, motivation, conflict, story problems, etc. 

This is brainstorming for the soul. 

Fantasize about your perfect story. What elements are included? How would your favorite author write it? Your favorite director direct it? Favorite actor play it?

Just like a good brainstorming session, your ideas don’t need to make sense. In fact, it’s probably better if they don’t. 

Divergent ideas are not only welcome, they are essential. 

If you want Tom Cruise to play a teenage Chinese girl in a love triangle with Vin Desiel and a Werewolf – do you baby. 

This is FANTASY. 

Realize 

In this second stage, you discover your perfect book and, consequently, what you are missing in your WIP. 

How?

You take a good hard look at your (book) fantasies. 

Then, you ask yourself the following types of questions:

What are the common patterns?
Which elements are connected (or can you connect)?
How do I get as many of these elements as possible into a single story?
What common themes keep cropping up?
What are the common conflicts?
What patterns do I see in the settings?
What genre or genres do these elements fit into?

Once you answer these questions, and others like them, you’ll have a good sense of the elements that most resonate with you and stories you enjoy.

At this point, you will probably also be feeling very passionate and motivated to write about these elements.

But there’s one more stage left before you put pen to paper.

Synthesize

Once you have fantasized about the perfect story, once you have realized the commonalities and picked apart the patterns, you are ready for the third and final stage of your Book Affair.

Synthesize

To synthesize is to integrate the common patterns and fantasized elements into your current WIP.

This often takes a few rounds of experimentation, lateral thinking and good old fashioned literary elbow grease.

Don’t be surprised when adding a single element upends the entire narrative of your WIP. Don’t be surprised if your story becomes 10 times more original and therefore 10 times better.

In summary, your book affair involves three stages – fantasize, realize and synthesize. 

  • Fantasize: free flowing brainstorm of self-discovery focused on ideas that excite, inspire and light you up.
  • Realize: Recognizing patterns in your fantasized list of ideas 
  • Synthesize: Integrating the patterns into your WIP
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Christopher Kokoski is a speaker, trainer and author of Wicker Hollow and the Past Lives novel series.

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Posted in Blog, books, creativity, productivity, publishing, screenwriting, Success, Uncategorized, writer, Writing

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PAST LIVES
PAST LIVES NOVEL
PRESENT KILLING
PRESENT KILLING BOOK
WICKER HOLLOW
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