Tag Archive - novels

Setting Your Characters in the Proper Setting

During this year of delving into the heart of your story, I’ve only touched a little on setting. I haven’t been ignoring the topic, although by now you may have been wondering about that. Setting is so important to your book, and all too often writers practically ignore it in their quest to unveil a great plot or take the reader on a character’s journey.

But stop and think for a moment about yourself and the world you live in. Each moment you’re alive, you are interacting with your setting. At times, where you are is inconsequential and unimportant to what is going on in your life at that moment. You could be in a coffee shop, at the top of a mountain, or waiting at the dentist’s office to get your teeth cleaned and it wouldn’t matter in respect to what you may be going through, feeling, thinking, or desiring at the time. Much of our lives we are in mundane places, doing mundane things.

But do readers want to read about that? Do you recall what I said months ago about books that portray ordinary people? I said ordinary people are boring—and so are mundane, boring settings. No one wants boring. Continue Reading…

What’s Your Motif?

Motifs? Most writers don’t really know what they are, but they can make the difference between an okay book and a terrific one. Since we’ve just discussed the topic theme in recent posts (by looking at some of my favorite movies), now would be a good time to look at motifs. Not many writers consciously plan out motifs to use in their novel, but sometimes they come naturally into the story. Motifs are symbolic elements packed with inference, but they don’t have to appear in your story as an actual item. Motifs can be a word or phrase, a concept, an image—just about anything that can be repeated with significance and symbolism. The weather can be a motif, for example, if each time something terrible is about to happen, “lightning” strikes. Continue Reading…

The Place Where All Stories Begin

I thought it would be appropriate to start the New Year focusing on beginnings. Most authors know that the beginning or opening of a novel is the most crucial and carries the weightiest burden of any other scene or chapter in your entire book. The opening scene must convey so many things that often the author will have to rewrite it numerous times to get it right, and sometimes the best time to rewrite the opening scene is when your novel is done.

Why? Because at that point you have (hopefully) developed your rich themes and motifs, thoroughly explored your protagonist’s heart and character arc, and have brought your plot to a stunning and satisfying conclusion (you can be sure we’ll be going in depth regarding ending scenes later on).

Continue Reading…