Tag Archives: how

THA FURST DRAFF

HOW TO JUST GO FOR IT

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I’m not even going to edit this blog, and I hate grammatical errors! I think I reread my blogs too much sometimes, checking for errors. I’m not even going read back through this one. And you’ll see why (if you can get past the typos).

James Scott Bell says, “Structure is the ‘translation software’ for the imagination.” What does that mean? Think about it. I often talk about structure and formats and processes, etc. In fact, Bell says that without structure we are not able to translate our imagination to the reader. Continue reading

BUT I’M NOT MICHAEL JACKSON

HOW NOT TO WRITE ACTION

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So the examples that I’ve shared from the past few blogs seem to refer to scenes from a thriller – hence the title. What if you’re not writing a thriller? Then what do you do? Let’s think about it. I’ll switch over to a less explosive genre (I intentionally did not use “intense” because any novel can be intense).

Let’s go to your everyday urban fiction.

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EVERY ACTION HAS AN EQUAL AND OPPOSITE REACTION

HOW TO CREATE COMPELLING MOMENTS

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We’ve all read the importance of creating tension. In fact, if you’ve kept up with my blog for a while, then you probably have heard me mention it a time or twenty. But Swain discusses something he calls MRUs or Motivation-Reaction Units.

These MRUs are another link that has greatly improved my writing style. It’s the idea that every moment has to be a moment of tension, ideally. Now I’m going to renege on that. Of course we don’t always want tension, but we do always want our readers to be able to feel what our characters are feeling.

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WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW?

HOW TO KEEP YOUR MOMENTUM

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What do we do! What’s next? Where do we go from here? Pete has just decided to dial 911. The reader is relieved. At least help is on the way. I mean, we have no idea what Pete’s father is doing. The “sequel” has been written.

Now we write another scene. Remember the three elements that we need? We need the goal, the conflict, and the disaster. And the key here is the keep the tension mounting. There are a lot of avenues that we could take, but let’s go with one of the obvious ones.

Here’s the goal. Continue reading

SEQUENTIAL ORDER

HOW TO FOLLOW A SCENE

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The page has turned. Pete, from yesterday’s post, is gripping the windowsill, watching in horror as his father drags away the lifeless corpse of a deceased man. Now what? What we just wrote was the scene in SCENE-IT.

Now we’re going to write what Swain refers to as the sequel. It’s the follow-up moment or scene. I disagree with swain in that this “sequel” must be a few lines. I have written “sequels” that have been several pages long. But what is a sequel? Continue reading

THE FIRST DIMENSION

HOW TO CRAFT THE ONE-DIMENSIONAL CHARACTER

One-dimensional characters (1DC) are great tools to use if you are trying to highlight a specific trait in your other characters. Say for instance you want show what your hero is not like (i.e. prideful and boisterous).

One tool to use would be to create a 1DC who is prideful and boisterous. Your 1DC will radiate those two traits so vividly that any pride that your main character has will be overshadowed by the 1DC. There are so many avenues that 1DCs can take, and they really do not need to have much backstory or definition. A few simple explanations will suffice.

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SCHOOL MESSED ME UP

HOW TO RID OUR NOVELS OF SENSELESS SYMBOLS

We learned in school that we should analyze a work to find the hidden themes and symbols, etc. It was not uncommon to pull out our magnifying glasses as we inspected the literary works for their motifs.

What this has done to many writers is that it has compelled them to install these mechanical devices into their own works in an attempt to generate deeper levels of meaning. It sounds like a great idea, right? And in our modern times, no one wants to be thought of as superficial. Being superficial is the new “idiot,” as far as I’m concerned. Continue reading

RESOLVE…IT’S A DEBATE TERM

HOW TO WRITE ACT 3

RESOLVE! So here it is…our final Act. Act 3. This is where we deliver. If Santa doesn’t show up carrying the presents that we’ve all been waiting for, then we will be utterly disappointed.

Act 3 takes our characters’ motivations and we show the terminal end of them. Either the goal is accomplished, or it’s not accomplished. But somehow, we have to make sure that we resolve the conflict that we’ve been building up until this point. Continue reading

FULL-COURSE MEAL

HOW TO WRITE ACT 2

If we think of our novels as an elegant dinner, then we can break it down like this. You’re sitting and having a good time with your friends, and then the chef brings out the T-bone steak that has been cooked to perfection (or the broccoli covered pasta flavored with wine sauce for all the Vegans out there). This is the reason that you came to dinner.

Act 2 is much the same way. Your characters have been set up, the odds are against them, Continue reading

CLANKING OF THE CHAINS

HOW TO DEVELOP ACT 1

The first act is the most challenging. LAYLA describes her frustrations with ACT 1 from her blog, Be Not Afeard.

Act 1 can be daunting for anyone. You have a story that you want to tell, but where are the words? No where to be found, quite frankly. A few critical scenes pop up in your mind, but other than those, you have no idea where the story is headed. What do you do? Continue reading