J. L. Dawn

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J. L. Dawn


Every-so-often a novel bites so deeply that I’m living for the moment when I pick it up again. When it happens, it demonstrates that stories are the best entertainment humankind has invented. But… it doesn’t happen often enough.

This is the reason why so many of us write. To conjure the elusive combination of ingredients that make a reader simultaneously want to binge on our story, yet desperate for it to last forever.

Like most writers I read a ridiculous number of novels, varying genre, style and period as much as possible. These are the five things I want in my reading, and they are what my writing should be judged on:

  1. Characters I believe in and whose fate I care about.It doesn’t matter if they inhabit fantasy, sci-fi, romance or crime; be they villains, minor characters or flawed protagonists – as soon as they say or do something that flips them out of character, a novel fails.
  2. Mysteries that come together slowly and grip before I even realise that was where the story was going.
  3. Plots which reach a tipping point where almost any outcome seems possible and yet still credible.
  4. Writing that expects me to contribute as a reader, where not everything is spelt out and the author has left me plenty of room for my imagination to fill in the details and pictures.
  5. Relevance, even when it’s a million adjectives away from the here and now. A novel should shed some light on the human experience.