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For almost a decade now Nicholas Sparks has been writing love stories. Not only has he been publishing his stories, but they have received high acclaim in each of their installments. Several of his novels have been made into major motion pictures and increased his popularity quite significantly. His status as a successful romantic fiction writer is undeniable, but the question is, why? What is it about Nicholas Sparks that makes his novels so engaging, and personally, what do I need to do as an aspiring novelist to try and acquire the same literary status? Sparks’s novels reach readers at a number of different levels, thus giving them appeal no matter the intellectual intent of the reader. Theoretically, Sparks engages reader response techniques as well as formalist processes such as “habitualization” and “defamiliarization,” while also developing engaging plot lines that represent many of the experiences from his own life. His writing is not only academically redeemable, but it is also creatively stimulating; between the two, Sparks represents the thunder and lightning combination all writers strive for while trying to achieve literary success. This project also offers a creative element in which I attempt to exemplify many of the traits discussed in the analytical sections of this document, by recreating them in a creative, fictitious fashion. Themes such as: motion versus stasis, life versus death, and the ordinary versus the extraordinary all exist within the narrative structure of my short story “Trip to Fall.” Besides these thematic elements, the creative section strives to represent the balance Sparks achieves between the experiences of his own life and the fictitious world he creates. Overall, this project delves into the life of Nicholas Sparks to better understand the inspiration for his writing at the level of form as well as content, while also paying tribute to Sparks’s style through a representation of his work in my own words.



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