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P. 1
Writing

Writing

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Published by MClarissaE
writing tips
writing tips

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Published by: MClarissaE on Jan 08, 2013
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WRITING
 
FICTION GOALS
 
Books are created by two decisions: the story idea, and the choices of how to write the story.
 
The story idea is contained in the questions:
 
what do the characters want?
 
what are the obstacles?
 
how are they going to be overcome?
 
what is the tension in the story that keeps the reader turning pages to see how it turns out?
 
How you write the story is also a series of choices.
 
the structural choices are:
 
- where in the story calendar timeline to begin the story
 
- which characters to introduce to the reader and when
 
- what information to give to the reader and when
 
the presentation choices are:
 
- what to show to the reader in a scene
 
- what information to give to the reader within dialog and thoughts and memories of thecharacters, instead of doing a scene of the original event
 
- what to present to the reader as narration (tell the reader something)
 
REVISION GOALS
 
MAXIMIZE SCENE VARIETY
 
There are roughly 90 major scenes in a 100,000 word book.
 
List your scenes: who is there, what is happening, where and when does it takes place.
 
Strong stories have very few repeats in scenes.
 
How many repeats do you have in your list?
 
office, his home, her home, church, diner, running, driving, talking on phone
 
Eliminate as many repeats as you can without changing your story line
 
If there are three scenes at his home, set one in the living room, one in the kitchen, one on theback patio.
 
If there are several times they talk on the phone, then have one early morning, one late, one when
he’s in a noisy place, one where he just woke up, one that is romantic, one that ends in a fight,
 
one that is a missed call that goes to voice mail, one that is phone tag, one that has them gettingtogether to talk in person, one that has them canceling a date.
 
What kind of variety do you have? can you add more variety?
 
CREATE ORIGINALITY
 
Can you identify scenes in your story which are unusual, unique, and that rarely appear in otherfiction stories?
 
Car accidents are in a lot of books
 
So take a car accident and try to modify it to get to an original take on a car accident.
 
For example:
 
Getting into a car accident that causes the car to crash into a barn and get buried in hay bales
 – 
 that would be unique
 
Take the scenes in your book and try to develop the scene into something memorable.
 
CREATE ACTION
 
Look at your list of scenes
 
What do you want to accomplish with each scene?
 
Where can you add more action without changing your story?
 
Characters need to be interesting, and they need to be doing interesting things
 
If the primary focus of a scene is your two characters talking together, then as writer takeadvantage of that. They can talk anywhere. So put them on a ladder in the rain trying to rescue astuck cat, rather than at a restaurant table sharing a meal. Put them out at night with flashlightswalking the highway searching for a lost dog. Give them tasks to do together. They are haulingout wet drywall from a flooded basement and talking while they work.How many scenes have your characters trying to do something?
 
move a refrigerator, haul out a couch, paint a room, fix a window
 
How many scenes have your character confronted by danger?
 
Confronted by a problem?
 
Confronted by an obstacle?
 
Let a character’s actions
speak for them
 
She’s kind – 
 
 put a scene in where she’s walking an elderly lady into the hospital for a doctor’s
appointment
 
 
She’s trustworthy – 
have her show up in bad weather with something to give him
 – 
 
“I told X Iwould make sure it got to you.”
 
She’s impatient – 
 
have her leave an appointment when he’s late by fifteen minutes and he has to
reschedule to see her again
 
Show a character’s personality through their actions
 
CHARACTER BALANCE
 
List the names of the characters in the book 
 – 
family, friends, co-workers, villains, etc. Youshould have no more than 5 to 7 key names, and 15 to 20 people overall.
 
There are roughly 90 major scenes in a 100,000 word book. Assign your characters to scenesthroughout the book based on their importance to the main characters.
 
Fit family, best friends, co-workers, into as many scenes as possible
 – 
their presence in person,phone calls, notes from them
 – 
whatever fits what your story has going on. Proximity to yourmain characters = importance of the person.
 
Check to make sure a character who is in three scenes in the beginning of the book is also inthree scenes in the middle of the book and preferably at least one scene at the end of the book.Look for balance in how many times characters appear in the story.
 
By the one-third point in a story, every character who will be significant to the storyline shouldbe known to the reader. The main characters may not have met this person yet, but your readerwill have had a scene where they know about this characte
r. Don’t surprise your reader in the
sense that a character, or a plot problem, or a plot solution, appears for the first time in the back half of a book.
 
If a character is important to the end of the book, introduce him in the beginning of the book (something thinks about him, mentions him, talks to him on the phone, etc); have him appear as acharacter of some significance to the story by the middle of the book (either he has appeared inperson, or someone is in a dilemma because of him); then give him a stage at the end of thebook.
 
STORY BALANCE
 
A book needs a ratio between the major story threads or you have left a part of your storyunderdeveloped.
 
Take your book text and highlight the text into one of 6 colors reflecting these 6 categories. Thencut the book apart by color and do a word count for each color.
 
In a 100,000 word romance story, this is the approximate percent you want for each categorywhen you are writing an inspirational romance.
 

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