The Secret to Writing a Good Story: Lessons Learned from "Great Expectations"

Last night, I watched on TV the latest adapatation of Dickens' masterpiece, Mike Newell's 2012 film of Great Expectations, and I was reminded of  the basic ingredients for a writing a good story - nay, in this case a great story! If you haven't seen it, here's the international trailer:




The film, while very good - the actors are excellent, the settings atmospheric - was a relative success (see Rotten Tomatoes'rating here and The Guardian's review here), I suspect because the producers assumed too much knowledge of Dickens' book on the part of the audience. As a result, there were cluttered, hard-to-understand  passages, with the resulting risk of losing the audience.

But back to Dickens and his great coming-of-age story of a humble orphan who's drawn upward in society by an anonymous benefactor and discovers that becoming a gentleman is not a key to happiness. Why is it such a good story? Simple: 
  1. It addresses universal human preoccupations: love, social mobility, happiness; 
  2. It has many unexpected twists and turns that keep you wondering "what's next"; 
  3. and for us who inhabit the 21st century, it has an exotic setting: Victorian England.
Reality check: how does your book compare? 

I just checked my current work, a book I first published many years ago (in 2007 and in Italian) and that I spent months revising, cutting over 100,000 words and adding a new 20,000 words - to the extent that now it is something totally different and new. I am speaking of Luna Rising that was released just now, at Christmas, the full saga as well as each volume separately:

Available on Amazon, click here for a 40% discount
Luna Rising is a coming-of-age story told from the standpoint of a teenager who is born a "gifted child", made lonely by his extraordinary mental abilities. Check, point 1 (universal human preoccupation - the anguish of self-discovery).


It is also a family saga set in Sicily (check, point 3, an exotic setting) where Tony Luna goes searching for his family roots and encounters the ghosts of his ancestors in a place out of time, the Circle of Conversation. Among them, a beautiful woman is attracted to him...Check, point 2 (the twists and turns).

And good news, in a Holiday spirit, I am offering you, my dear reader, volume 1 of Luna Rising, called The Circle of Conversation, FREE on Smashwords: click here to get your free copy but if you prefer Amazon, you can get it for only 99 cents here.

FREE on Smashwords,  99 cents on Amazon
Please note that if you get Luna Rising, the Full Saga (volumes 1-3), you'll save over 40% on the whole series. Click here to get it.

I know, this looks like a shameful book promotion, but it's not. I'm not spamming you, I wanted to find out what you, my readers here, really think of my book, whether I manage to fulfill "expectations", the three points mentioned above. That's why I've made the first book free and I give away the whole series at a deep discount. Let me know what you think!

Happy reading and happy Holidays!

PS: Just to set the record straight, I don't pretend to be like Charles Dickens (chuckle)...Just that we can still learn from him, that's all! 




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