A lamp might be beautiful to look at, but if we can't switch it on, it will only be a useless object. We can say the same about a story: it might be written well, with a fantastic plot and elegant style, but none of this is enough to ignite the curiosity and attract interest of our reader.
The secret to writing a compelling story lies in the way the main character manages to make sense of what happens to him, showing his inner struggle, and in the effort he makes to achieve any particular goal.
The biggest mistake a writer can make is to ignore what a story really is, how it works and in what way it can affect people.
As humans, we are made to love stories, it is in our nature. Neuroscience tells us that our brains evolved using stories to decode the world and understand it better. When it comes to looking for meaning in every story, and for specific information, we are true experts, even from a very young age.
Most writers think that a good story depends on style, on the choice of narrative voice, on the plot, and on the language; but this isn't the case. Of course, these elements are important, but one fundamental element is missing from our list.
What really makes the story, is an invisible ingredient which has nothing to do with what goes on externally, and everything to do with the main character’s internal struggle - they have an objective, which seems impossible, they want to achieve it, but there is something that holds them back, until they are given a push from external circumstances that forces them to act.
This book teaches us how to develop a project for a novel, starting with the description of the main character and of his inner world, so that it intertwines naturally with the external plot of the story.