Aristotle lays out "four causes," which answer the "why" question for any specific thing. These causes are...
1. the material cause
2. the moving cause
3. the formal cause
4. the final cause
Using a work of art as an example will prove helpful--in this case, specifically, I'm talking about my favorite statue, the Bernini pictured to the right.
|See it in person. Pictures don't cut it.|
1. material cause: the thing "out of which"; this is the marble out of which the sculpture is carved
2. moving cause: the thing "by which"; Bernini himself is the moving cause of this statue
3. formal cause: the thing "into which" or that by which it is defined; in this case, the formal cause is Daphne and Apollo
4. final cause: the thing "that for the sake of which"; here, this would be what Daphne and Apollo and their story represent--which I will leave you to decide...
Notice (that tingle on the back of your spine is the feeling of relevance approaching!) how these could easily apply to a novel. But first, a bit more on the final cause.
The final cause, according to one of my teachers who has a knack for stating things clearly and provokingly, can be described thus:
"It's the thing that you love."
Writing, and rewriting, and revising, and revising again is a constant exercise in beholding the final cause of your work. If you can fix an unwavering eye on the answer to that "Why?"--if you can manage to never, ever forget the true reason why you're writing the story you're writing--then how could you give up?
It's a constant exercise in beholding "the thing that you love."
And if you can do that, and the thing that you love is at all worthy, and you don't stop until your readers will be able to see what you have seen this whole time...
Your writing will be too true to fail.