Tag Archive - ten key scenes

Is Your Premise Worth Your Time (or Anyone Else’s)?

Most fiction writers are clear about the inciting incident or initial disturbance that has to come near the start of their novel. Yet, I see way too many novels in which there really isn’t a strong impacting incident. Or it’s in the wrong place.

I do many fifty-page critiques on novels that have fifty pages of setup. Backstory. Telling, for example, all about how the characters met, fell in love, got married, etc. What is the stated premise? It might be about a man who has something precious taken from him and must face danger and horror to get that thing back. Huh? What did the first fifty pages have to do with any of that? Nothing.

That inciting incident often isn’t there. I imagine it shows up at some point later, but that’s way too late. The inciting incident has to come at the start of the story. It launches the story. Catapults it. You don’t want your story sitting in that little catapult bucket for weeks just waiting for someone to hit the lever and send it flying.

A ship’s voyage begins when it’s launched. Not when it’s sitting dry-docked for weeks, waiting.

Every great story is about some character in his ordinary world that gets veered off in a new or specific direction due to some incident. Michael Hauge nicely calls this an opportunity. Life is moving along, and suddenly an opportunity presents itself, for good or ill—or both.

Whether it’s a parent’s kid getting kidnapped, a violent storm blowing into town, a ship of mutant dinosaurs or zombies that land on shore, or a young woman meeting a hot man, novels need that inciting incident to launch the premise. Continue Reading…

Half-Off Online Courses in July!

A few years back, I decided to create online video courses. Many writers had expressed interest in getting deep into topics that I had written blog posts (as well as an elaboration of my free email course on Amazon success, which you can take anytime, for free, by clicking on the link at the right).

Since I opened my online school, more than 1,000 writers have taken my courses! And I’m presently putting a new course together on emotion: a really intense, deep look at how to both show emotion in our characters and evoke emotion in our readers. I plan to launch that course this fall.

In order to encourage you to check out my courses, this month, July 2019, I’m doing something I have never done. I’m offering all my courses and course packages for HALF OFF. While you get to access these courses forever (or as long as the world and/or internet exist …), you would have to enroll in my school and pay for the courses in JULY using this coupon: JULYHALFOFF.

It only takes a minute to sign up. Go to my school (cslakin.teachable.com) and enroll by putting in your email and a password. That’s all! Choose which course you want to take, go to pay, and type in the coupon. Easy peasy! Continue Reading…

Nail Your Ten Key Scenes ~ Half Off My New Online Course!

Writing a terrific novel is a complex endeavor. And while there are hundreds of books, podcasts, and blog posts that teach aspiring authors how to structure scenes and plot out a solid story, none implement the most intuitive and effective method for success.

Novels are made up of dozens of scenes, and regardless of genre, time-tested structure dictates what key scenes are needed and where. Most writers are familiar with some of those scenes: the Inciting Incident, the Midpoint, and the Climax, to name a few.

But novelists need more than a few landmarks to find their way across the tricky terrain of novel plotting.

They need a surefire method to organizing all their scenes.

In my new video course, you’ll be introduced to an innovative, intuitive method for arranging your scenes and crafting a beautifully structured story. Nearly every great story, whether a novel, a play, or a movie, follows this time-tested structure. And it isn’t all that hard! Continue Reading…

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