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Altering the Quality of Time in Your Novel

I don’t think I’ve said all there is to say about plot (no indeed), but I want to take a little detour here to talk a bit about something I love seeing done well in novels—and that’s altering the quality of time.

In a movie there are all kinds of techniques the director and film editor can use to speed time up and slow time down. That’s part of what I’m thinking about here. But I’m going to talk not just about the speed at which time seems to move but also the quality of time.

If that seems like an esoteric concept, it is. But I bet you can think of instances or moments when time has felt different. Not just when it slows way down (like when you’ve had an accident or when you’re waiting for a doctor to come into the exam room with your test results ) or speeds up (getting old, in general) but when it feels different. Do you have any idea of what I’m referring to? Continue Reading…

Layers and Layers of Plot, Oh My!

Novelists focus heavily on plot, and rightly they should. Your novel needs a well-crafted and believable plot. A good story will have one. A great story will have many plot layers. You could call them subplots, but I find it helps to think of them as layers because of the way they work in your story.

Plot layers come in all thicknesses of importance, and if they are designed carefully, they will make your story a rich one with unique and lasting flavors that will linger long after your reader finishes your book. Continue Reading…

Plots ~ Bigger Is Better

If you’ve been following this blog all year, you may have noticed I haven’t gone into plot at all except to talk about the visible plot goal of your protagonist. It’s not that I think plot is unimportant. To the contrary. I’m a stickler for tight, engaging, and well-thought-out plots. But because so many writers put so much emphasis on their plot to the detriment of all the other essential book elements in a novel, I’ve been stalling a bit from delving into the topic. Even though I consider myself a character-driven writer, I make no concessions–in my own novels or in my clients’–for any weakness or plot holes. Continue Reading…

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