You have to know. You have to be able to say, very succinctly, what your novel is about. What it ultimately IS. In one sentence. Go on. Say it. If you can’t, there’s a good chance you don’t really know what your purpose is for this book.
A funny little quote from W. Somerset Maugham is all well and good and lightens the mood in an old-fashioned, quaint sort of way, does it not, Madam? Sir?
But we ain’t writing old-fashioned, quaint sorts of books, are we? Unless we’re Alexander McCall Smith and he’s a master so there’s no point in trying to emulate his style.
We have to have thrust. We have to have a clear picture of where we’re going right at the very beginning of this book, and we have to keep watching the SatNav all along the way to prevent from wandering from our ultimate purpose.That’s why we need one clear sentence that says what this book IS. That’s why we have to keep that one clear sentence lodged in our thinking as the plot progresses.