I recently read an interview with author John Locke. Out of everything he said, one thing stuck with me; Locke doesn’t plan his novels. He lets his readers do the planning for him.
Sound strange? Not so much.
Locke waits to hear feedback from his readers before making his next move. That way, he’s writing for his fans.
That makes all the sense in the world, and it’s something that I do in my own way. When I wrote Barcode: Legend of Apollo, there were a lot of important things missing. It wasn’t until my editor and my wife read the novel that I started adding additional points and details.
I constantly asked them, “What do you think will happen next? What are you anticipating?”
Hearing their assumptions and a bit of their criticisms made me write a better story in the end. But it’s not just them. I also did this with my reviewers.
Each time I receive a new review, I read it three to four times that day. I analyze everything they’re saying and make sure that I’m taking their feedback. Even if they loved everything about the book, I want to know what they loved so I can continue doing that.
I’m only on my first novel so it’s not like I’m selling a significant amount of copies yet. Therefore, I can’t tell you that Locke’s advice really works. However, I plan to continue analyzing what excites my fans in order to improve my next story.