The Use of Symbols and Foreshadowing in Stories

"I recently saw again To Kill a Mockingbird and I remember you liked to use the writing as an example in your classes. What purpose did the author have when she had Atticus shoot and kill a rabid dog? How did that contribute to the story line? He did what he had to do? The kids had to learn the truth about life? He was simply protecting them?  You are supposed to be nice to dogs!! Anyway, it’s been plaguing me." The use of symbols and foreshadowing in stories allows a writer to "show not tell" a … [Read more...]

Thank Your Imagination

Ideas pop and boom like exploding fireworks in the writer's mind. Untethered, a wild imagination flits every which way with no defined borders and no true beginning, middle and end. In plot consultations, highly imaginative writers unwittingly compound the difficulty of arranging ideas into a story with a plot. Laughing excuses. Dismissing bizarre characters. Discounting weird plot twists. Shrugging off unconventional themes, fantastical pairings, and real emotions in unreal situations. Instead, … [Read more...]

I Called the Plot Whisperer Again

I met Sandra Leesmith years ago at the Desert Dreams RWA writer's conference in Tempe, Arizona where I was a featured speaker. Since then, she has featured me in three of her blog posts at Seekerville. This last time I Called the Plot Whisperer Again sparked lots of questions and dialogue and plenty of enthusiasm. I cut and paste a few of the most frequently asked questions and comments. Character Goals Jill: Although I'm not much of a plotter, I do like to dig into the internal and … [Read more...]

5 Revision Tips

I admit it -- I really, really, really want to get to the rewrite! Dive into the words, hang ten with them, splash, frolic, crash, fall, jump, and play with the words. Each time I'm tempted to give into the urge to write, the revising I'm doing shines a brilliant light. Again and again I'm shown a new angle, a dangling plot line, what scenes hold the energy, where the meaning is, what is the purpose and the relevance of each scene to the overall plot, story, character emotional development. … [Read more...]

Enlightened Revising Creates Exhilarated Rewriting

Facing a blank page often thrusts a writer into prolonged bouts of procrastination, fear, terror even. Free writing is a joy when you at least have a vague idea where you're going. Unexpectedly, when I took the challenge to write the entire first draft of The Avenue from beginning to end without once going back to rewrite, I found the discipline of forging ahead liberating. I followed prompt-by-prompt in The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts (an experience I wrote about in the book and had … [Read more...]