Keira Knightley's latest movie, The Duchess, is about the life of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, who lived part of the time in the palatial estate of Chatsworth located in Derbyshire, England. When I went to England in October, I visited this estate and absolutely loved it. But there is one word that can describe this house and everything in it: grand.
But here's what you don't see at first glance with Chatsworth. You are dazzled by all its outer beauty that veils its true history - the children that scampered through the rooms chased by a frazzled nursemaid, the loud conversations and laughter at the dining room table between friends, the midnight rendezvous between lovers, the arguments between husband and wife, the gossip in the servants' quarters - the people who lived here are what is at the heart and soul of this house. That is what this house truly represents.
Let it be so with your novel. If you take away the golden metaphors, the beautiful descriptions, the elegant dialogue, what is the true meaning of your story? What does it represent? What is its essence? This, then, is the heart of your novel. This is what you should make grand!