If you look at your first page checklist , you’ll see that the first three elements I discussed last week—introduction of your protagonist, a catalyst or incident to put them in that showcases her, and a hint of her core need (linked to her visible plot goal)—actually cover a few more things on the checklist. I haven’t talked about the hook, and rather than thumb through some great books and give you a long list, I would encourage you to do that and think about how effective these first lines are. But I will give you a couple of “catchy hooks” (sorry about the pun) that stick out in my mind (below). Continue Reading…
March 7, 2012 in The Heart of Your Story with
I gave you my spiel last time on plotting and planning your novel in advance. I promise not to smack you over the head too often with that. I realize we are all creative agents and need room to be ourselves and express ourselves in our own personal manner.
Enough said. But we’re looking at elements needed in your first scene, and so I’m hoping you will try to do a little pre-work or rework as we delve more into these essential first scene elements. Continue Reading…
February 29, 2012 in The Heart of Your Story with
I’m going to spend a little time here talking about something that might cause some of you to bristle, and I apologize in advance if I offend anyone, but at least hear me out.
I’ll Spare You the Really Long Speech
I will simply say, I really don’t believe you can write a great novel by winging it. I know I just probably offended a bunch of you seat-of-the-pants writers out there, but I have to say this. Maybe you’re brilliant and just have a gift and can throw things out from the top of your head and they’ll land in perfect positioning in your novel.
No? The answer I usually get from “pantsers” is that they have to spend months rewriting, revising, reworking again and again until some beauty comes from the ashes. A lot of famous authors like Stephen King will swear that all first drafts are terrible. King would say this, because he’s not a plotter. I could tell that right way from the first book I read of his. Who I am to argue with any method Stephen King touts?
Well, I am going to go against the grain here and beg to differ and dare offer you another way. And really, it’s fine if you disagree with me. You can waste months of your life if that’s what you want to do.
Don’t wander aimlessly–strategize your career!
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