Consider the Reader

We as writers may start out writing just for ourselves, but even for those who are the most resistant to admit it, we each long for a readership to enjoy our projects. Once a writer embraces that truth, our relationship to our writing changes. One way to consider your readers or audience is to get closer to yourself. What kinds of writing do you like? How does your favorite author begin their stories? In scene or in summary? How do your scenes compare to theirs in terms of complexity, interest, … [Read more...]

The Payoff

Readers turn the pages based on their interest in the characters or the excitement caused by the dramatic action or both. The Middle goes on for quite awhile (1/2 of the entire project), and sure, there is lots of conflict, tension, suspense to keep the reader reading, but all those scenes are building to something and that something is the payoff ~~ the Crisis (about 3/4 of the way through the entire book). It's like climbing a hill. We keep hiking for lots of different reasons, but in the end … [Read more...]

Take the Plot Test based on Theme

You've written some stuff. You feel good about your characters, you've got some action, but what drives your energy for showing up is exploring the deeper meaning of life.Start with an unusual setting and some "different" characters.Set the time.Figure out your obsession.Say it's with finding out who you really are, your own unique identity (insert your obsession). Generate scenes with that in mind ~~ the character's interaction with others, trying to figure out her place in the world ~~ that's … [Read more...]

Creating Plot

Plot is as much about timing as it is the dramatic action and the transformation the character undergoes.To satisfy your readers, placement and timing of each scene becomes critical.Spend too many words, pages, time in the beginning of the piece increases your chances of losing your reader right off the bat. Readers want to be grounded, understand who is who, and what is what, and then the reader demands something big happen ~~ the End of the Beginnning.The balance between back story and front … [Read more...]

Women’s National Book Association San Francisco

At an event hosted by the Women's National Book Association San Francisco yesterday, I had an "aha" moment. At first, I hesitated. The last big "aha" moment was when I realized how many writers struggle with plot. Since I had spent 12 years studying about how the dramatic action works with character development to create a compelling story, I set out to help other writers find their plots and experience the freedom of structure. And, my life was transformed."Aha" moment Number Two feels as broad … [Read more...]

Finding the Story

All memoirists incorporate true events in their stories. Often, writers of fiction do the same thing. Using true events can lead to a richness of authentic details and emotional revelation. However, just because something meaningful and life-changing happened to you does in no way guarantee that the events will be meaningful to your audience. And, of course, the true events must contribute to the overall story plot, or these authentic details will end up weighing down the story.The events … [Read more...]