Tag Archives: plot

OPEN PAGE, INSERT CHARACTER

HOW TO STEAL A CHARACTER

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We talked about plot stealing in the last post. Now, I’m going to increase my thievery. We can even steal characters. Wow, that’s hard to hear. For some reason there’s the writers’ hubris that we must birth everything from our literary wombs.

That’s insane. How many times in an interview has the question been asked: “So where did you get your inspiration?” I’ve heard all types of artists respond by saying, “I modeled this after that.”

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HIGHWAY ROBBERY

HOW TO RECREATE THE CREATED

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James Cameron directed Avatar. We know that. Everyone in the world knows that. That’s my one dramatic statement for the day. But a lot of people know it. What did he do right to make so many people watch it?

A lot of things. But he upped the cinematography by eons! That’s my second dramatic statement. They’re adding up. I know. Now I’ve heard people bash Avatar by saying, “Wait! Isn’t this just the plot of Pocahontas?” And, of course, there are a lot of other questions that are similar to the one described. Continue reading

GET IN MY BELLY

HOW TO CREATE THE DEEP EXPERIENCES THAT A CHARACTER NEEDS

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The “belly of the whale” experience is a biblical reference that alludes to when a character named Jonah doesn’t listen to his God and he gets swallowed by a big fish. The bible doesn’t say if it was a whale, but the common belief is that it was. When Jonah accepts God’s terms, the whale vomits Jonah up on shore. Then Jonah successfully completes his task.

I believe every work should have the “belly of the whale” experience (I’m going to clarify one thing in just a bit. Be patient haha). Continue reading

READ THIS LIKE A BOOK

HOW TO GET RID OF CLICHÉS

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Let’s start the week off with a BANG! I don’t know about you, but wasn’t that the longest weekend in forever? One thing is for sure, it was hot as fire here in North Carolina, but I know that in other places it had to be as cold as ice.

Clichés, like the ones above, are weak, and whenever they are used, they skip off your reader’s brain like a stone on a lake. They never, ever, ever portray what you want.

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WHAT HAD HAPPENED WAS

HOW TO NOT TO USE HAD ALL THE TIME

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I have recently been reading a book that’s an epic saga, and it’s not Twilight. Please don’t accuse me of that. Haha!

I won’t mention the saga because I may make several references to it that may be good or bad over the next few days. Perhaps later, I’ll reveal which one it is. But I’m not into bashing people’s work. That said, this isn’t a bash, as much as it is an observation. Continue reading

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

HELLO, MAIN CHARACTER, NICE TO MEET YOU

HOW TO DEVELOP A CHARACTER WITH THE STORY RATHER THAN BEFORE

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I’m straying away from the week’s theme a bit, but who cares? As long as we cover some ground, that’s all that matters. I’ve been reading a lot about character development. How I find time to read anything is beyond me, but it happens. It happens when I’m on the bus or when I’m walking or when I’m on my lunch break. I’m either reading or I’m writing.

Get a life, right? Continue reading

HOW TO DECIDE WHAT TO CUTThe past week has been a brain full of information. Incorporating scenes and sequels into your novel can seem overwhelming. If you’re like me, I learned about these small units of plot building well after I starting book 1.

What I realized was that I needed a lot more tension — a mean a lot more. There were scenes that were so full of description that it took away from the power of the story. Continue reading

ZOOMING OUT

HOW TO CONSTRUCT YOUR STORY

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Last week you may have been confused with the talk of scenes and sequels. Frankly, the idea originated from Swain, but still, he uses terms that we are familiar with, like scenes and sequels, and redefines them; thus, he makes it all too confusing.

Here’s a brief break down. Scenes have 3 elements: a goal, a conflict, and a disaster. Your character must experience these three things in a scene. In a sequel, the character must process what just happened. Sequels also have 3 elements: a reaction, a dilemma, and a decision.

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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