Yet Another Case of Waxing on For Too Long in the Beginning

The Universal Story Form is made up of three parts: the Beginning, the Middle, the End. Simple, right? Right.The Beginning makes up of 1/4 of the entire page, scene, or word count.The Middle makes up 1/2 of the page count.The End makes up 1/4 of the page countSimple, right? Well, it should be, but sometimes it's not, and for a very simple reason.Often writers go on for too long in the Introductory mode at the Beginning. This is normal. Writers warm up at the Beginning. They get to know their … [Read more...]

Character Development Plot versus Dramatic Action Plot

The writer tells me scene by scene her children's picture book story. As I create her own individual Plot Planner, it becomes obvious how each scene flows one into the next in flawless cause and effect. The tension rises in each scene greater than the scene before. She reads me a couple of short scenes. Her writing is lyrical and her voice unique. I listen intently, becoming more and more immersed in her story. Convinced of the merit to her story, I wonder aloud about her next step -- has she … [Read more...]

Archetypes — People Who Exhibit A Particular Trait Strongly

Archetypes appear more clearly in people who exhibit one trait strongly. I am inclined to study the people I work with. Most plot consultations take place over the phone, so I rely on overt comments and breath, perceived posture, expressions, and movements. For help on a deeper level, archetypes shed meaning. Over and over she laments her uncertainty. She blurts out doubts in herself, her abilities, the actual presence of others. Why bother, she cries out? A writers' life demands more from us … [Read more...]

Trying Too Hard

After today's plot consultation, plotlines and subplots, flashbacks and time jumps still linger.The writer is guilty what many of us are ~ he tried too hard. At some point in every writers life, we ask ourselves ~ who would want to read this? And, why? In our fear of not measuing up or worried the story falls short, we add another subplot here, switch events around, change the point-of-view, and mess with the format. I think this is part of the writer's personal journey. Our egos keep our minds … [Read more...]

When the Writing Gets in the Way

I appreciate that not everyone writes to be read. Writers who say they write for themselves may or may not mean that the writer does not care about the reader, but that the reader does not dictate the story, the writer does.For writers who want to be read by the mainstream reading public (whoever that is), don't let words get in the way of meaning.A writer recounts an exciting, well-thought out Dramatic Action plotline (he has entirely ignored the Character Development plotline for now and … [Read more...]

Characters Consistency is Paramount

Partway through a two-hour plot consultation, the writer I was working with related a scene in which the protagonist does something entirely out of character. The protagonist of this young adult novel steals pot from her father's illegal pot growing shed."Whoa!" I cried. "Where does this come from? You've set up the story so that the protagonist does not respect her father because of his pot growing, right?""She's not going to smoke any. She wants to get back at her dad.""She's going to take … [Read more...]