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WRITERS, DO YOU WANT TO IMPROVE YOUR WRITING?

 

DO YOU WANT THE ENCOURAGEMENT OF OTHER WRITERS?

 

  MARK YOUR CALENDAR!

 

2019 Susquehanna Valley Writers Annual Luncheon

SATURDAY, MARCH 16, 2019

 

NOTHING HELPS A WRITER GET OUT OF THE WINTER DOLDRUMS LIKE

 

FELLOWSHIPPING WITH OTHER WRITERS.

ATTENTION: Writers in Central PA

join us for the

SUSQUEHANNA VALLEY WRITERS LUNCHEON

Saturday, March 16, 2019

10:45 a.m. (registration)
11:00 to 1:30 p.m.

CARRIAGE CORNER RESTAURANT

257 E. Chestnut Street, Mifflinburg, PA 17844

(Along Route 45)

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Guest Speaker: Annette Whipple, highly recommended by best-selling author Jeanette Windle,  is an author living in Oxford, PA, with her husband and three children. She strives to inspire a sense of wonder in people while exciting them about the world around them. When she’s not writing or visiting schools, Annette enjoys reading a good book and snacking on warm chocolate chip cookies. Connect on Facebook and Instagram at @AnnetteWhippleBooks and Twitter @AnnetteWhipple. Learn more about Annette, her books, and her presentations at http://www.AnnetteWhipple.com.

On March 16th, she’ll be presenting:

The Creative Calling – Session One

Who are you? You are a writer and so much more. Some of us care for children and aging parents. Some of us work additional jobs and volunteer in our communities. We have ideas to write but haven’t had time to write them. Or maybe we feel guilty when we take time away from our other priorities to write. Learn practical tips as we consider our personal calling without neglecting our commitments.

Skip the Pitch: Work-for-Hire Writing Assignments – Session Two

Want to be traditionally published? Stop pitching publishers and get paid to write informational books and other materials for children (grades K-12). If you enjoy learning and writing about new topics, break into the publishing world or bring in more income by writing for the educational market. This workshop explores a variety of writing opportunities with the educational market.

Session One: 11:00-11:45 AM
Lunch: 11:45-12:45 PM
Session Two: 12:45-1:30

Cost: $25

Includes: Soup and Salad Bar, Beverage, Gratuity, and Speaker Honorarium

If you are an author, feel free to bring your books to sell on the

Authors’ Books Table

Registration Deadline: Saturday, March 9, 2019

For the details to register go to: https://susquehannavalleywritersworkshop.wordpress.com/

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PLOTS #19 and #20

ASCENSION AND DESCENSION

The Godfather

The Elephant Man

Elmer Gantry

Citizen Cane

Poster showing two women in the bottom left of the picture looking up towards a man in a white suit in the top right of the picture. "Everybody's talking about it. It's terrific!" appears in the top right of the picture. "Orson Welles" appears in block letters between the women and the man in the white suit. "Citizen Kane" appears in red and yellow block letters tipped 60° to the right. The remaining credits are listed in fine print in the bottom right.

Poster photo compliments of Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizen_Kane)

We’ve finally gotten to the last two of twenty fiction plots from which writers may choose. If you’re interested in writing about a main character who either

  1. The focus of your story should be about a single character.
  2. That character should be strong-willed, charismatic, and seemingly unique. All of your other characters will revolve around this one.
  3. At the heart of your story should be a moral dilemma. This dilemma tests the character of your protagonist/ antagonist, and it is the foundation for the catalyst of change in her character.
  4. Character and event are closely related to each other. Anything that happens should happen because of the main character. He/she is the force that affects events, not the reverse. (This isn’t to say that events can’t affect your main character; however, we are more interested in how he/she acts upon the world than how the world acts upon him/her.)
  5. Try to show your character as he/she was before the major change that altered his/her life so we have a basis of comparison.
  6. Show your character progressing through successive changes as a result of events. If it is a story about a character who overcomes horrible circumstances, show the nature of that character while he/she still suffers under those circumstances. Then show us how events change his/her nature during the course of the story. Don’t “jump” from one character state to another; that is, show how your character moves from one state to another by giving us his/her motivation and intent.
  7. If your story is about the fall of a character, make certain the reasons for the fall are a result of character and not gratuitous circumstances. The reason for a rise may be gratuitous (the character wins $ 27 million in LottoAmerica) but not the reasons for his/her fall. The reasons for a character’s ability to overcome adversity should also be the result of his/her character, not some contrivance.
  8. Try to avoid a straight dramatic rise or fall. Vary the circumstances in the character’s life: Create rises and falls along the way. Don’t just put your character on a rocket to the top and then crash. Vary intensity of the events, too. It may seem for a moment that your character has conquered his/her flaw, when in fact, it doesn’t last long. And vice versa. After several setbacks, the character finally breaks through (as a result of her tenacity, courage, belief, etc.).
  9. Always focus on your main character. Relate all events and characters to your main character. Show us the character before, during, and after the change.

A FINAL CHECKLIST Give yourself a little quiz to see if you’re ready to write your best-selling novel:

As you develop your plot, consider the following questions. If you can answer all of them, you have a grasp of what your story is about. But if you can’t answer any of them, you still don’t know what your story is and what you want to do with it.

1. In fifty words, what is the basic idea for your story?

2. What is the central aim of the story? State your answer as a question. For example, “Will Othello believe Iago about his wife?”

3. What is your protagonist’s intent? (What does she want?)

4. What is your protagonist’s motivation? (Why does she want what she is seeking?)

5. Who and/ or what stands in the way of your protagonist?

6. What is your protagonist’s plan of action to accomplish her intent?

7. What is the story’s main conflict? Internal? External?

8. What is the nature of your protagonist’s change during the course of the story?

9. Is your plot character-driven or action-driven?

10. What is the point of attack of the story? Where will you begin?

11. How do you plan to maintain tension throughout the story?

12. How does your protagonist complete the climax of the story?

So, there you have it. The wrap-up of about 16 of my blogs over the last year, blogs dedicated to writing good fiction. I want to again remind you that all the information has been taken from:

Tobias, Ronald B (2011-12-15). 20 Master Plots (p. 273). F+W Media, Inc. Kindle Edition.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in writing good fiction.

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PLOT # 18

WRETCHED EXCESS

Mildred Pierce

The Lost Weekend

Adam, Eve, and the Serpent

Picture compliments of Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garden_of_Eden

The holidays are over, and if you’re like me, you want to “get back in the groove of life” and face the new year head on. However, with sugar plum fairies possibly still dancing in your head, you might be struggling to get back into the writing mode. Maybe these tips about writing fiction will help.

If you want to tackle this difficult fiction subgenre, do your homework and study best sellers before you start. A “wretched excess” plot involves all kinds of drama and some difficult scenes. But there are some issues you need to address with much care as you write. It’s definitely a character-driven piece of work:

  1. Wretched excess is generally about the psychological decline of a character.
  2. Base the decline of your character on a character flaw.
  3. Present the decline of your character in three phases: how he/she is before events start to change him/her; how he/she is as he/she successively deteriorates; and what happens after events reach a crisis point, which forces him/her either to give in completely to his/her flaw (tragedy) or to recover from it.
  4. Develop your character so that his/her decline evokes sympathy. Don’t present him/her as a raving lunatic.
  5. Take particular care in the development of your character, because the plot depends on your ability to convince the audience that he/she is both real and worthy of their feelings for him/her.
  6. Avoid melodrama. Don’t try to force emotion beyond what the scene can carry.
  7. Be straightforward with information that allows the reader to understand your main character. Don’t hide anything that will keep your reader from being empathetic.
  8. Most writers want the audience to feel for the main character, so don’t make your character commit crimes out of proportion of our understanding of who and what he/she is. It’s hard to be sympathetic with a person who’s a rapist or a serial murderer.
  9. At the crisis point of your story, move your character either toward complete destruction or redemption. Don’t leave him/her swinging in the wind because your reader will definitely not be satisfied.
  10. Action in your plot should always relate to character. Things happen because your main character does (or does not) do certain things. The cause and effects of your plot should always relate either directly or indirectly to your main character.
  11. Don’t lose your character in his/her madness. Nothing beats personal experience when it comes to this plot. If you don’t understand the nature of the excess yourself (having experienced it), be careful about having your character do things that aren’t realistic for the circumstances.
  12. As I said before, do your homework, and fully understand the nature of the excess you want to write about.

Wow! That’s a head full of ideas and information, isn’t it? If you’re brave enough to tackle this “wretched excess,” God bless you as you work on your best seller!

ALL INFORMATION COMPLIMENTS OF

Tobias, Ronald B.  20 Master Plots: And How to Build Them (Kindle Locations 1185-1207). F+W Media, Inc. Kindle Edition.

I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in writing fiction of any kind.

*****

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PLOT # 17

DISCOVERY

Death of a Traveling Salesman

Ghosts

Oedipus Rex

(Painting compliments of Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oedipus_Rex )

If you’re interested in writing fiction, take a good look at what it takes to write a best seller with the theme of “discovery.” But what are the elements involved in writing that masterpiece? Let’s take a look:

  1. Remember that the discovery plot is more about the character making the discovery than the discovery itself. This isn’t a search for the secrets of the lost tombs of some Incan king; it’s a search for understanding about human nature.
  2. Focus the story on the character, not on what the character does.
  3. Start your plot with an understanding of who the main character is before circumstances change and force the character into new situations.
  4. Don’t linger on your main character’s “former” life; integrate past with present and future. Place the character on the exciting edge of change. Start the action as late as possible, but also give the reader a strong impression of the main character’s personality as it was before events started to change her character.
  5. Make sure the catalyst that forces the change (from a state of equilibrium to disequilibrium) is significant and interesting enough to hold the reader’s attention. Don’t be trivial. Don’t dwell on insignificant detail.
  6. Move your main character into the crisis (the clash between the present and the past) as quickly as possible but maintain the tension of past and present as a fundamental part of your story’s tension.

So, there you have it…all the elements you need to write your best seller. And read, read, read those fiction works that have mastered the technique. You just might be the next author with a best-selling discovery fiction plot!

ALL INFORMATION COMPLIMENTS OF

Tobias, Ronald B.  20 Master Plots: And How to Build Them (Kindle Locations 1185-1207). F+W Media, Inc. Kindle Edition.

I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in writing fiction of any kind.

 

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PLOT # 16

SACRIFICE

Abraham and Isaac

(Painting compliments of

https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-stories/abraham-and-isaac-bible-story.html)

High Noon

Casablanca

If you’re thinking of dabbling in a novel that involves great sacrifice on the part of your main protagonist, several key points need to be included in your story:

  1. The protagonist’s sacrifice should come at a great personal cost; your protagonist is playing for high stakes, either physical or mental.
  2. Your protagonist should undergo a major transformation during the course of the story, moving from a lower moral state to a higher one.
  3. Events must force the protagonist’s decisions.
  4. An adequate foundation of character must be developed early so the reader understands the character’s progress on the path to making his sacrifice.
  5. All events should be a reflection of the main character and his actions. They test and develop “character.”
  6. Make clear the motivation of your protagonist so the reader understands why he would make that kind of sacrifice.
  7. Show the line of action through the line of your character’s thoughts.
  8. Have a strong moral dilemma at the center of your story.

Once you incorporate this key issues in your story, then you only have one big decision to make: Will my novel end with a smile or a frown? Either is acceptable.

So, there you have it. Get those creative juices flowing, and crank out the next best-selling “sacrifice” novel.

ALL INFORMATION COMPLIMENTS OF

Tobias, Ronald B.  20 Master Plots: And How to Build Them (Kindle Locations 1185-1207). F+W Media, Inc. Kindle Edition.

I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in writing fiction of any kind.

 

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PLOT # 15

FORBIDDEN LOVE

Romeo and Juliet

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Are you a writer with a passion to peck out a love story with a tragic, yet heartwarming, plot or end? Then take heed to the steps you need to take to crank out a best-seller:

  1. Forbidden love is any love that goes against the conventions of society, so there is usually either an explicit or implicit force exerted against the lovers.
  2. The lovers ignore social convention and pursue their hearts, usually with disastrous results.
  3. Adultery is the most common form of forbidden love. The adulterer may either be the protagonist or antagonist, depending on the nature of the story. The same is true for the offended spouse.
  4. The first dramatic phase should define the relationship between partners and phrase it in its social context. What are the taboos that they have broken? How do they handle it themselves? How do the people around them handle it? Are the lovers moonstruck, or do they deal with the realities of their affair head-on?
  5. The second dramatic phase should take the lovers into the heart of their relationship. The lovers may start out in an idyllic phase, but as the social and psychological realities of their affair become clear, the affair may start to dissolve or come under great pressure to dissolve.
  6. The third dramatic phase should take the lovers to the end point of their relationship and settle all the moral scores. The lovers are usually separated, either by death, force, or desertion.

So, there you have it. Take note of the progression of “sadness” that must occur to develop a well-written forbidden love story.

ALL INFORMATION COMPLIMENTS OF

Tobias, Ronald B.  20 Master Plots: And How to Build Them (Kindle Locations 1185-1207). F+W Media, Inc. Kindle Edition.

I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in writing fiction of any kind.

**************************************************

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PLOT # 14

LOVE

Pride and Prejudice

Splash

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

My Fair Lady

If you’re considering writing a romance, take into consideration the following information that just might help you write a best seller:

  1. The prospect of love should always be met with a major obstacle. Your characters may want it, but they can’t have it for any variety of reasons. At least not right away.

2. The lovers are usually ill-suited in some way. They may come from different social classes or they may be physically unequal (one is blind or have special needs).

3. The first attempt to solve the obstacle is almost always thwarted. Success doesn’t come easily. Love must be proven by dedication and stick-to-it-iveness.

4.  As one observer once put it, love usually consists of one person offering the kiss and the other offering the cheek, meaning one lover is more aggressive in seeking love than the other. The aggressive partner is the seeker, who completes the majority of the action. The passive partner (who may want love just as much) still waits for the aggressive partner to overcome the obstacles. Either role can be played by either sex.

5.  Love stories don’t need to have happy endings. If you try to force a happy ending on a love story that clearly doesn’t deserve one, your audience will refuse it. True, Hollywood prefers happy endings, but some of the world’s best love stories (Anna Karenina, Romeo and Juliet, Love Story) are very sad.

6.  Concentrate on your main characters to make them appealing and convincing. Avoid the stereotypical lovers. Make your characters and their circumstances unique and interesting. Love is one of the hardest subjects to write about because it’s been written about so often, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done well. You will have to feel deeply for your characters, though. If you don’t, neither will your readers.

7. Emotion is an important element in writing about love. Not only should you be convincing, but you should develop the full range of feelings: fear, loathing, attraction, disappointment, reunion, consummation, etc. Love has many feelings associated with it and you should be prepared to develop them according to the needs of your plot.

8.  Understand the role of sentiment and sentimentality in your writing and decide which is better for your story. If you’re writing a formula romance, you may want to use the tricks of sentimentality. If you’re trying to write a one-of-a-kind love story, you will want to avoid sentimentality and rely on true sentiment in your character’s feelings.

9.  Take the lovers through the full ordeal of love. Make sure they are tested (individually and collectively) and that they finally deserve the love they seek. Love is earned; it is not a gift. Love untested is not true love.

So, there you have it. If you’ve started a romance, do a checklist using these nine essential “ingredients” and see how many you’ve included to shape that novel into a page turner.

ALL INFORMATION COMPLIMENTS OF

Tobias, Ronald B.  20 Master Plots: And How to Build Them (Kindle Locations 1185-1207). F+W Media, Inc. Kindle Edition.

I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in writing fiction of any kind.

*****************************************************

COMING SOON!

MY LATEST RELEASE!

STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTH: A 60-Day Devotional for Kids

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