CHARACTER AND SETTING INTERACTIONS: 10 QUESTIONS TO BUILD YOUR STORY PLACE Here is a quick exercise to help you explore your protagonist’s relationship with the setting. Just free-write on the questions. Look for conflict and character-building opportunities. Also look for possible events and places where events might take place. See…
For some reason I decided I had to have a story where my sleuthing couple are at a cricket match and the batter gets “beaned” by the ball. Only it’s not a ball, it’s a meteorite. No prob! Of course, I know nothing about cricket or meteors either! But that’s…
1. Myth: It’s too late. No, it’s not. It might have been too late if you had to be starting at Level 0, but you’re not. You’re starting with distinct advantages. You have had a lifetime of experiencing story, from your childhood reading to your teen years watching TV shows and your obsession with film. You’ve […]
Five Bad Habits of Good WritersI thought I’d blog on the Five Bad Habits of Good Writers, and start with the person/writer and end up with the businessperson/writer.1. Bad habit: Thinking that you have only one book in you. Many writers start out because they want to tell one particular story, a story that’s been […]
Plausible plotting starts with cause and effect. Make sure each step in your plot has a causative event, and one of more effects. Character actions should be caused by some motivation, and should have some effect on the plot.Your protagonist should save the day (or destroy it). Protagonist is the “first actor”, the character most […]
Why a Small Press? My publishing career is so checkered, I call it a “herringbone.” I’ve been published by major publishers and a couple small presses, and self-published too. So I thought I’d give you all some food for thought and write about why I chose to go with a…
I think of pacing as making sure that important events happen frequently enough that the reader doesn’t get a chance to quit reading. That doesn’t mean every scene has a turning point, but every scene has to have some event that affects the overall plot, or that scene is basically “skippable”. And every scene can help set up for a later turning point.
Problem #10: Backstory Blunders
The past is prologue, for sure, but you can tell too much too soon dragging your plot down, if everything about the characters’ past is explained right upfront in Chapter One.
There’s a trend recently that calls for opening each scene “in media res”— with some kind of clever line (the “hook”), or sudden action or a line of dialogue.
This can be effective in drawing the reader in, but keeping her in requires more than clever lines. It requires a paragraph or two that anchors the scene in some specific place, time, and situation.
Creating unique voices for each viewpoint character is essential in creating fiction readers want to read over and over. Unique voices stick with you and generate the best reviews. Here are 9 exercises to help you discover your viewpoint character(s) voice.