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Posts Tagged ‘how to write well’

TODAY’S WRITERS’ TIP

FICTION PLOT # 12 

TRANSFORMATION

 

After several months of blogging about the 2018 Montrose Christian Writers Conference held from July 22nd to the 27th, I’m now returning to blog posts about writing and how to help you become a better writer. Before I blogged about this past July’s conference, I had discussed eleven different plots (of 20 presented in the book, 20 Master Plots by Ronald B. Tobias). Below is plot 12, which presents the details concerning writing a plot that “transforms” characters.

PLOT # 12

TRANSFORMATION

The Red Badge of Courage

Pygmalion (My Fair Lady)

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

Jekyll-mansfield.jpg 

 

Well-written transformation plots are intriguing because of the big change that takes place in at least one main character throughout the story. But what elements are essential to make that best-seller work? Let’s take a look:

  1. The plot of transformation should deal with the process of change as the protagonist journeys through one of the many stages of life.
  2. The plot should isolate a portion of the protagonist’s life that represents the period of change, moving from one significant character state to another.
  3. The story should concentrate on the nature of change and how it affects the protagonist’s experience from start to end.
  4. The first dramatic phase should relate the transforming incident that propels the antagonist into a crisis, which starts the process of change.
  5. The second dramatic phase generally should depict the effects of the transformation. Since this plot is about character, the story concentrates on the protagonist’s self-examination.
  6. The third dramatic phase should contain a clarifying incident, which represents the final stage of the transformation. The character understands the true nature of his experience and how it’s affected him. This is the point in the story at which true growth and understanding occur.
  7. Often the price of wisdom the character gains is a certain sadness.

 Go ahead, writer. Take a shot at a transformation plot. You just might transform yourself into a best-selling author!

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

(I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in writing good fiction.)

Happy writing!

Marsha

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TODAY’S WRITERS’ TIP

FICTION PLOT : REVENGE

Continuing our study of fiction plots, we’ll look at plot number 6 today: Revenge

Ha! Here’s your chance to get even with all those evil people in your life who did you wrong; of course, you’ll change the names to protect the guilty, but you should have a barrel of fun writing what you’ve always wanted to say—or do—to those wicked folks in your life. So let’s have a look at:

PLOT #6

REVENGE

Anger Angry Bad Burn Dangerous Emotion Evi

(Photo compliments of pixabay.com)

Hamlet

The Outlaw Josey Wales

The Sting

As you write your revenge plot:

  1. Your main character should seek retaliation against the antagonist for a real or imagined injury.
  2. Most (but not all) revenge plots focus more on the act of the revenge than on a meaningful examination of the character’s motives.
  3. Your hero’s justice is “wild” vigilante justice that usually goes outside the limits of the law.
  4. Work on manipulating the feelings of your reader by avenging the injustices of the world by a man or woman of action who is forced to act by events when the institutions that normally deal with these problems prove inadequate.
  5. Your hero should have moral justification for vengeance.
  6. Your hero’s vengeance may equal but might not exceed the offense perpetrated against the hero (the punishment must fit the crime).
  7. Your hero first should try to deal with the offense in traditional ways, such as relying on the police— an effort that usually fails.
  8. The first dramatic phase establishes the hero’s normal life, which the antagonist interferes with by committing a crime. Make your reader understand the full impact of the crime against the hero and what it costs both physically and emotionally. Your hero then gets no satisfaction by going through official channels and realizes he must pursue his own cause if he wants to avenge the crime.
  9. The second dramatic phase includes your hero making plans for revenge and then pursuing the antagonist. Your antagonist may elude the hero’s vengeance either by chance or design. This act usually pits the two opposing characters against each other.
  10. The last dramatic phase includes the confrontation between your hero and antagonist. Often the hero’s plans go awry, forcing him to improvise. Either the hero succeeds or fails in his attempts. In contemporary revenge plots, the hero usually doesn’t pay much of an emotional price for the revenge. This allows the action to become cathartic for the reader.

So there you have ten points that you need to develop as you write your revenge plot. Work on these details, perfect them, and you just might write yourself a best-selling novel!

I believe as you outline your fiction plots, you can better define which plot you’re developing and better understand how to incorporate many of these characteristics to improve your writing 100%.

All information compliments of:

Tobias, Ronald B (2011-12-15). 20 Master Plots (p. 189). F+W Media, Inc. Kindle Edition.

(I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in writing good fiction in any subgenre!”)

Next time, we’ll have a look at PLOT #7: The Riddle or Mystery

Happy writing!

Marsha

A wild but cozy mystery for tweens with a secret code the reader has to crack:

THE SECRET OF WOLF CANYON

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TEN REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD ATTEND A WRITERS’ CONFERENCE

              Two 2017 MCWC Faculty Members: Torry Martin + Carol Wedeven

  1. Your family loves what you’ve written, but now you’ll get the full scoop from editors and agents of how good your manuscript really is (or isn’t).
  2. You’ll learn how to properly submit your work to a publisher.
  3. You’ll discover that your high school English needs A LOT of brushing up.
  4. Words like “genre,” “royalty publishing,” “submission,” and “elevator pitch” will finally have meaning.
  5. You’ll have the opportunity to talk shop with best-selling authors.
  6. You’ll be able to attend dozens of workshops that will teach you all aspects of the writing/publishing business.
  7. You’ll be able to purchase “how-to-write” books at a reduced price that will help you hone your craft.
  8. You’ll be able to meet the editor or agent of your choice to show your work.
  9. You’ll make new writer friends who will encourage you by email or phone.
  10. You’ll leave with the determination to revise, revise, revise and get your work published.

Faculty Member:
Artist Dave Weiss

 

We just had a terrific week at the Montrose Christian Writers Conference. I’m sorry if you weren’t able to join us. Take a peek at what you missed and make plans to attend next year.

http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx

Marsha, Director

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READY TO REGISTER FOR THE 2017 MCWC?

The Montrose Christian Writers Conference is pleased to announce that our new online registration system is now open. If you plan to come, especially for the Work-in-Progress Seminars, don’t delay registering. Those WIPs have enrollment limitations.

[Printed versions of the brochure and registration form are also available. Call the office (570-278-1001) to have a brochure mailed to your home address.]

To register online you will need to go to our website http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx

and follow the directions below to access the online registration system. You will need to have a login which may be used now and in the future to sign up for programs at Montrose Bible Conference.

TO BEGIN:

  1. 1. Click on the LINK above to go to our web page. Find the link for online registration. When you get to the Login page, click on the button that reads “Create New Account.”
  2. The first screen is where you set up your username and password. The name and email address is for yours, not the person you are registering. Keep the username and password in a secure place and use it whenever you wish to return to update information, register for other sessions, or make a payment.
  3. When you click “next,” you will be asked for the name of the person you are registering. Listed below are those persons from your family in our database based on the address. When you are asked for the name of the person to be registered, if the person is listed in the table below, you should enter the first and last name and the birth date exactly as listed below to be connected to that person. Enter the information as shown below even if it is wrong. If the name or birth date is wrong, send an email to mbc@MontroseBible.org and ask to have the information corrected.

Name

Birthdate

  1. Once you have entered and confirmed the information, click NEXT, and you will be taken through each screen in the registration process.
  2. If you are registering more than one person, complete the registration for the first person and then click on “Add Camper.”
  3. When you have entered all the registrations, you can make payment and complete your registration(s).

If you experience any difficulties during the registration process, you will see a Contact Us button at the top of the screen that includes the technical support phone number and the camp phone number. Call if you need assistance.

We are excited about the registration process and the capabilities provided to you both to register now, to update information later, and to make payments at your convenience.

Montrose Bible Conference

mbc@MontroseBible.org

570-278-1001

www.MontroseBible.org

I look forward to seeing you there in July!

Marsha

Director

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Let’s Talk Punctuation for a While

(Post Number Eleven)

MANGER08

Perky Parentheses and Bold Brackets

If you’re like me with your writing, you sometimes might be confused concerning when to use parentheses. Should you use em dashes instead? Or how about commas?

Let’s first define “parentheses” so we understand what in the world these little smiley face lines are used for.

Definition One: “Parentheses usually set off material that is less closely related to the rest of the sentence than that enclosed in em dashes or commas.” (The CMOS, 15th edition, The University of Chicago Press, 2003, p. 265)

Instead of going in to detailed descriptions of how to use the parentheses, I’m going to list some examples for you:

Example One: The judge decided that all the dogs (collies, etc.) in that division were worthy of a blue ribbon.

Example Two: The championship soccer game the Stallions won (under difficult conditions of freezing rain) was a thriller.

Example Three: The Book of John (see chapter 3) mentions Jesus as God’s Son and Savior who came to save us from our sin.

 Definition Two: “Parentheses are used to enclose glosses of unfamiliar terms or translations of foreign terms—or, if the term is given in English, to enclose the original word.” (The CMOS, 15th edition, The University of Chicago Press, 2003, p 266)

Example One: Downloading “Dropbox” (a free program on the web that allows you to transfer files from one computer to the other instantly without a flash drive) is a godsend for writers.

Example Two: In my Amish fiction book, I used the word “boppli” (baby) many times.

Example Three: The word for mother (mamm) in my Amish books occurs dozens of times.

In the CMOS, a few more examples of complicated uses for parentheses are listed, which most of us writers would not need to know. So for simplicity’s sake, we’ll stop with the perky parentheses plug here and move on to the bold brackets.

Bold Brackets

 To use brackets, or “square brackets,” properly, all you need to remember is that they are used to enclose words that are inserted by a second author inside a first author’s original work.

What? Say again?

You would use brackets if you inserted your own words in material from the following types of already printed material: quoted matter, reprints, anthologies, editorial interpolations, explanations, translations of foreign words, or corrections. Allow me give you some examples cited in the CMOS, 15th edition:

Example One: “They [the free-silver Democrats] asserted that the ratio could be maintained.”

Example Two: “Many CF [cystic fibrosis] patients have been helped by the new therapy.”

Example Three: Satire, Jebb tells us, “is the only [form] that has a continuous development.”

Example Four: “The differences between society [Gesellschaft] and community [Gemeinde] will now be analyzed.”

I believe the only other use of brackets that we might need to know is when they are used within a set of parentheses. Here is an example; take notice where the period is at the end:

Example: (For further explanation see Strunk and White’s Element of Style [1979] and Webster’s Dictionary [1984].)

I hope I haven’t totally confused you with this parentheses/bracket blog. These two little punctuation tips might not be of use to us every day, but once in a while, we do need to know how to use them effectively, so perhaps these tidbits today will refine your writing style a little more as you write your way to that next published piece.

Happy writing!

Marsha

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Let’s Talk Grammar for a While

The Snippy Semicolon

Next to apostrophes, I’d say semicolons are probably the most misused punctuation marks used in the English language. I dare say most people aren’t really sure what to do with the little period with the comma dangling underneath, so they either guess, and guess wrongly, or they avoid using the punctuation mark altogether, which is probably a wise decision.

Sometimes semicolons can be used in a long series when commas are also needed, but this is such an unusual complex situation, I don’t think we even need to go there today. This information might be useful to someone who’s possibly writing a textbook on the classification of flora and fauna, but it’s not needed for the average writer. So let’s look at the two times when a semicolon is preferred in “normal” writing:

  1.  Sometimes when you have two compound sentences closely related, you can use a semicolon instead of a period and a capital letter to separate them:

Example: Mary decided to remodel the kitchen; she purchased new linoleum first.

Example: George booked a midnight flight to Paris; but his flight was cancelled due to snow.

Now, you’re probably wondering why you can’t just use a period and a capital to separate these sentences in the examples. Well, you can. It’s a writer’s preference. Often it might just add a little flavor to your voice to throw in a few semicolons instead of brand new sentences, especially when the two sentences are so closely related. Also, in the second example, there’s no reason why you couldn’t separate the two compound sentences with a comma either. Again, it’s the writer’s preference. Here’s the next common use for the semicolon:

  1. Use a semicolon to separate two clauses of a compound sentence or two compound sentences when divided by an adverb such as: however, then, thus, hence, indeed, besides, accordingly, and therefore. This example is the one I see misused the most. Here are some correct uses:

Example: Jack bought me a birthday gift; therefore, I sent him a thank-you note.

Example: I thought I was adopting a nice calm dog; however, Bailey is a little furball of energy!

Example: I started my Christmas shopping early; hence, I was done by December 15th.

IMPORTANT! Always remember to add a comma after the adverb!

So, there you have the two most common uses of the semicolon. Spruce up your writing by using it once in awhile; but use the little rascal correctly!

Next time, we’ll discuss everyone’s favorite punctuation mark—the overused comma!

Marsha

http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx

www.marshahubler.com

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Book2.On.Victory.Trail.Cover 

Skye’s faith is tested to its limits when her best friend, Sooze, gets a life-threatening illness.

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