I decided to take a much needed break from working on my new thriller today by going on an hour and a half walk. The weather was a perfect sixty-degrees with sunshine. As I maneuvered the quaint city sidewalks of Bozeman Montana, I admired many of the historic homes dating to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The architecture ranges from classic Victorian to well-kept bungalows. Being from the southern part of the U.S. originally, I love older homes, especially ones that have been maintained well. I'd take a well-built century old brick Georgian or bungalow over a mac-Mansion any day. Why not go for the luxurious mansion - mainly because the older homes have good bones.
Good bones? It's a term meaning that a house was well-built, with care and quality structure. It is well-designed with quality materials that will stand the test of time architecturally and structurally. The homes lining Willson Street in Bozeman have good bones.
What does this have to do with writing you may ask? Well when I walk I'm always thinking of book ideas, and as I admired the architecture I started thinking about how to apply the 'good bones' structure to writing. A well-built house and a well-written book aren't very different if you really think about it. Both have strong structure, depth, and can withstand the test of time no matter how tastes may change.
If you want to write a good, or better yet a great book the story needs 'good bones' for it's foundation; a solid plot structure, universal themes, quality characters, and a depth in story telling, narrative and word usage. Good structure and Solid story depth - lead to a well-told story. So build your story like a well-built house: structure it well - plot out your plot goals, themes, and characters. You as a writer are an architect, a master draftsman - capable of composing a masterpiece (or a least a book that's structurally strong and enjoyable to read) or you can settle for a rushed writing job, and not so great structure - in the end good bones will prove the difference between memorable and forgettable writing...