Tag Archive - plot

Plot and Subplots in a Series of Scenes

Ah, now we are getting somewhere, some of you may be thinking. We are finally going to look deeply at plot after taking a long dip into the four essential corner pillars of novel construction. In this year-long course I’m doing on this blog, we’re going to be looking at 12 pillars in all, and we are now on #5.

A great, strong plot is essential for building a terrific novel. There is no excuse for a writer of any novel to sacrifice good plot for the sake of anything—art, character study, or an important message. Without plot, you have no story. Period. So don’t misunderstand me if I appear to underemphasize plot at times.

Yes, I’m a “character-driven” novelist. The heart of my novels centers on my characters—what they need, want, fear, and strive for. I feel every novel must be character-driven in that way. But not at the expense of good plot. If you’ve had your manuscript critiqued by me, you’ll know I’m a real stickler about strong plot. Every little bit of every scene has to serve the needs of the plot. Continue Reading…

The Universality Is in the Details

I started thinking about universality since we want our novel’s theme to have universal appeal—meaning a whole bunch of people all over the world should be able to relate to it at perhaps any time in history. But while we’re thinking in broad, all-encompassing ideas, I want to make a distinction here.

Don’t make the mistake in thinking that in order to appeal to a wide audience with a universal appeal we have to write in very general terms and details. You may think that the more unspecific you can get with your locale, setting, time period, problems presented, the more universal the novel will be.

You may think if your character can have a general problem—say a bad temper or he’s a Scrooge—a lot of people will identify with him . . . so you decide to not be too specific and take the risk of making your novel’s world so small that no one will relate.

Continue Reading…

The Secret to a Stress-Free Novel Journey

Since we’re entering the season of vacations and trip-taking, I thought I’d risk one more time up on my soapbox to bring you this important message. I know I’m a curmudgeon about planning out your novel in advance, but it’s one of the few things regarding writing I’m pretty adamant about. If you feel like listening to another lecture, go ahead and read my earlier post, but I’m going to paint a little analogy for you here about taking a trip—for writing your novel is a journey of sorts. And we have all probably had smooth-running trips as well as disastrous ones we’d rather forget (and wished we hadn’t gone on). Continue Reading…

Page 3 of 5«12345»