Why You Need to Know the Purpose of Your Book

In every non-fiction writing course you will ever take, one of the first things your instructor will ask you about is your “why.” In other words: what’s your purpose for writing this book? They say it’s the first step in writing and marketing a successful book. 

But here’s my question: why aren’t fiction writers asked the same thing?

We’re bombarded with information about good plots and characters, which is important, but why doesn’t anyone ask us about our “why?” I think this is telling. The number one reason why I see so many fiction books fall short nowadays is because there is no “why.” The author thought they could stuff some characters and scenes in there—even good ones—and call it a story. But that’s not what a story is.

The Core of a Story

Every element of your story—the setting, plot, characters, pacing, etc.—all support one thing: the theme. This is your why. Without it, you can create the coolest plot the world has ever seen, but your story will only be surface-level. Stories only come to life when they have meaning. If you truly want your story to matter, there must be something more behind it.

Life isn’t a series of random events that just happen to us for no reason; we all know, whether we admit it or not, that there’s much more meaning to it than that. So if books—yes, even fiction books—are meant to reveal truths about life and creatively reflect reality, why wouldn’t a story have deeper meaning?

What Is Your “Why?”

So now I’m asking you, fiction writers: what is your “why?” You might have started out writing your story “just because,” but over time, the story can come to mean something more if you let it.

What is your passion? What do you want to teach to the world? What gets your blood boiling? These are the things that will jump off the page to readers. Sure, thoughtless stories can be entertaining sometimes, but no story lasts unless it has a meaning, a theme, a purpose.

Find Your Purpose

Even if you’ve already started your book, it’s not too late. You can still weave your story around your “why,” the purpose that will connect your heart to your readers’ hearts and make your story stand the test of time.

What themes have you written into your stories? Let me know in the comments! Or maybe you still need help with brainstorming and figuring it out; in that case, check out my book coaching services! Writing a book is a difficult journey and no one should walk it alone.

Happy writing!

If you enjoyed this post, I hope you’ll consider donating to the blog, reading my stories on Vocal, and/or taking a look at my RedBubble shop so I can continue to produce free content!

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Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

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When you write as much as I do, you have to take frequent breaks from sitting. A standing desk (not a whole desk, but a mini desk that will sit on top of my current desk with my laptop, keyboard, and mouse and extend upward) will allow me to continue working while maintaining that good blood flow to my brain. Thank you so much for your support that allows me to keep producing free content. God bless you! ♥️ E.J.


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