Posts Tagged ‘how to write fiction’

PLOT # 16


Abraham and Isaac

(Painting compliments of


High Noon


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.


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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June 15, 2015

“Write Tight!”

How often have you heard conference speakers, i.e. authors, agents, and editors, say to be a successful, published author, you need to write “tight”?

So in pen laymen’s terms, what in the world does “writing tight” mean? Could it mean you should wear skinny Spandex clothes while you’re in your creative mode? Or how about drinking 10 cups of coffee so that you are wired to the max and look like a scared porcupine?

Let’s take a look at eight qualities that define a piece of literature whether fiction or nonfiction as “tight” or stripped to its cleanest components:

  1. Use specific nouns: Not: The bird flew over. Rather: The raven flew over the barn.
  2. Pitch out as many adverbs as you can: Not: He spoke loudly and angrily. Rather: He yelled!
  3. Be positive in sentence inflection: Not: He didn’t show any respect. Rather: He showed no respect.
  4. Use active not passive voice with your verbs: Not: Bowser, the dog, was walked by Joe. Rather: Joe walked his dog, Bowser.
  5. Get rid of sentences that start with “There” or “There were:” Not: There was a lot of snow last month. Rather: Last month’s snow total broke records.
  6. Show, don’t tell; in other words, describe your action clearly: Not: Billy was really angry. Rather: Billy pounded his fist on the table.
  7. Watch for redundant phrases: Not: Millie blushed with embarrassment. Rather: Millie’s face turned bright red.
  8. Use down-to-earth language and throw out eloquent pedantic phrases and euphemisms that no one will know what the heck you’re talking about: Not: Mona’s face showed lines of agony and remorse while streams of tears flooded her poor anguished soul. Rather: Mona cried as though her heart was broken.

So, there you have it. We’ve listed only eight, but very important, tidbits on how to become a best-selling author, and your readers will be begging for more.





July 19th-24th


Four Major Morning Continuing Classes

40 Afternoon Workshops

Fellowship with Other Authors, Agents, and Editors


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