• Craft,  Motivation

    Math, Meatloaf and My Passion for Plot Theory

    Once upon a time, everyone in the world thought they knew how to tell a story. And generally speaking, they did. They knew that a story needed characters, a setting, a beginning, a middle and an end. And generally speaking, everyone in the world knew a good story when they heard one. But then (and this is the conflict if you’re keeping score) everybody in the world couldn’t quite tell you why one story worked well and one didn’t. Some tellers of these stories thought that the structure of a story should look like a math problem — with specific necessary plot points, rising action and logical conclusions.  Some tellers…

  • #Top10Tuesday,  Nanowrimo,  Revising and Editing

    #Top10Tuesday Top Ten Signs You Have Too Much Backstory

    They really should call December CleUMessNoMo, for Clean Up Your Messy Novel Month. And that kind of looks like clueless. I think that’s fitting because many writers, especially new and inexperienced writers are clueless about what to take out of the hot mess that is their Nanowrimo Project. If you have any doubt, this handy list can help you address the backstory problem you may have in your little darling. Backstory is great for writers who need to know the true motivation of their characters. Backstory is not great for readers who are aching for action and just want the writer to get to the point!  Tell the story for crying out…

  • #Top10Tuesday,  Craft,  Work-In-Progress

    #Top10Tuesday Top Ten Questions To Ask Your Beta Readers

    Beta readers are the best! They are an author’s second readers. I’m guessing, and don’t hold me to it, that the alpha reader is the author himself. God knows YOU’VE read your book enough, right? Good writers use beta readers’ opinions to iron out the story’s wrinkles, find out what’s missing and see what the writer doesn’t see. You can use beta readers early in your writing journey, say, after the first draft. Or you can wait several drafts into it and then let trusted people read it.  Either way, you may find it helpful to give them specific questions to answer about your manuscript. Today’s Top 10 Tuesday is this! #Top10Tuesday…

  • #Top10Tuesday,  Nanowrimo,  Revising and Editing,  Work-In-Progress

    #Top10Tuesday Top Ten Questions To Ask Yourself When You Clean Up Your Nano Project

    Nanowrimo is almost done!! And if you are one of those gold star, overachieving type, you may be wondering what to do with this little project once it’s all over. (This blog will have plenty of advice in December!) But for now, let’s list a few general tips to consider when fine tune that draft. These all have to do with the general story structure and plot –these are big issues. In fact, you can’t do much more with the development of your story until these wrinkles are ironed out. Are you ready to answer some tough questions? (And have a stronger manuscript as a result?) Let’s Go! 1. Does…

  • #Top10Tuesday,  Nanowrimo

    #Top10Tuesday Top Ten Emergency Prompts For Nanowrimo!

    Are you stuck yet? Don’t worry, you will be. When you are, don’t panic!  Don’t worry!  You’ll get through it! If you get stuck, here are ten writing prompts that might send you off on a tangent, help you finish your book! 1. Put your character in an actual emergency. Food allergies, car accident, flash flood, explosive plumbing, gas leak — none of these are planned. You don’t have to plan yours too. And even if it looks rather deux et machina -ish, don’t worry about it. You can always go back and fix it later. 2. What does your character have in his pocket, purse or glove compartment? Candy? A gun? Drugs? A crucifix?…