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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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Today’s Writers’ Tips

Plot Number 9: The Underdog

Plot Number 10: Temptation

Because plot number 9 is so short, we’ll look at plot number 10 as well. If you got a good handle on plot number 8, RIVALRY, then you’ll have no problem with number 9. So, let’s get to it:

PLOT #9

THE UNDERDOG

Joan of Arc

Rocky

Cinderella

  1. The underdog plot is similar to the rivalry plot except that the protagonist is not matched equally against the antagonist. It looks like there’s no chance of the hero winning.
  2. The antagonist, which may be a person, place, or thing (such as a bureaucracy), has much greater power than the protagonist.
  3. The dramatic phases are similar to the rivalry plot becaue it follows the power curves of the characters.
  4. The good news! The underdog usually (but not always) overcomes his opposition.

 

PLOT # 10

TEMPTATION

Adam and Eve

Our Lady’s Child

  1. The temptation plot is a character plot. It examines the motives, needs, and impulses of human character.
  2. This plot should depend on morality and the effects of giving in to temptation. By the end of the story, the character should have moved from a lower moral plane (in which he gives in to temptation) to a higher moral plane as a result of learning the sometimes harsh lessons of giving in to temptation.
  3. The conflict should be interior and take place within the protagonist, although it has exterior results in the action. The conflict should result from the protagonist’s inner turmoil—a result of knowing what he should do, and then not doing it.
  4. The first dramatic phase should establish the nature of the protagonist then be followed by the antagonist (if there is one).
  5. Next, the nature of the temptation is introduced, which establishes its effect on the protagonist, and shows how the protagonist struggles over his decision.
  6. The protagonist then gives in to the temptation. There could be some short-term gratification.
  7. The protagonist often will rationalize his decision to yield to temptation.
  8. The protagonist might go through a period of denial after yielding to the temptation.
  9. The second dramatic phase should reflect the effects of yielding to the temptation. Short-term benefits diminish and the negative sides emerge.
  10. The protagonist should try to find a way to escape responsibility and punishment for his act. 11. The negative effects of the protagonist’s actions should reverberate with increasing intensity in the second dramatic phase.
  11. The third dramatic phase should resolve the protagonist’s internal conflicts. The story ends with atonement, reconciliation, and forgiveness.

Wow, there are some complicated details to writing a TEMPTATION plot, so get your notepad ready and incorporate these points in your manuscript. You’re on your way to creating a fascinating read

Next time, we’ll look at plot # 11: Metamorphosis

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!)

Happy writing!

Marsha

P.S.: WRITERS, DOWNLOAD THE REGISTRATION FORM FOR THE

MONTROSE CHRISTIAN WRITERS CONFERENCE AT https://bit.ly/2HGlNYQ

 

BLUE RIBBON CHAMP

Skye must learn to control her sour feelings when a Down syndrome boy comes to Keystone Stables and is crazy over her.

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August 21, 2017

The “Quest” Fiction Plot

A while back I read one of the most informative books on writing fiction that I ever read: TWENTY MASTER PLOTS AND HOW TO BUILD THEM by Ronald Tobias. Before reading the book, I was totally unaware of how many different kinds of plots a writer could contrive in his/her fiction work. I’ve used this book as one of my primary resources when I teach fiction workshops at writers’ conferences. This work by Tobias is packed with useful information for any writer of fiction desiring to improve his skills for writing an I-can’t-put-the-book-down manuscript.

Last time I posted here, I defined “plot” and looked at the difference between a plot-driven book and a character-driven book. Today we’ll look at the first plot Ronald Tobias defined in his book:

PLOT # 1

QUEST

Samples of this type of fiction:

The Wizard of Oz

Lord of the Rings

The Grapes of Wrath

Jason and the Argonauts

 

As you write your story, keep the following points in mind:

  1. A quest plot should be about a search for a person, place, or thing; develop a close parallel between your hero’s intent and motivation and what he’s trying to find.
  2. Your plot should move, visiting many people and places. Don’t just move your character around as the wind blows. Movement should be contingent on your plan of cause and effect. (You can make the journey seem like there’s nothing guiding it— making it seem casual—but in fact it is causal.)
  3. Consider bringing your plot full circle geographically. Your hero frequently ends up in the same place where she started.
  4. Make your character different at the end of the story as a result of his/her quest. This story is about the character, who makes the search, not about the object of the search itself. Your character is in the process of changing during the story. How does he/she change and why?
  5. The object of the journey is wisdom, which takes the form of self-realization for the hero. This is often the process of maturation. It could be about a child who learns the lessons of adulthood, but it could also be about an adult who learns the lessons of life.
  6. Your first act should include a motivating incident, which starts your hero’s search. Don’t just launch into a quest; make sure your reader understands why your character wants to go on the quest.
  7. Your hero should have at least one companion. He must have interactions with other characters to keep the story from becoming too abstract or too interior. Your hero needs someone to bounce ideas off of, someone to argue with.
  8. Consider including a helpful character.
  9. Your last act should include your character’s discovery, which occurs either after giving up the search or after achieving it.
  10. What your character discovers is usually different from what he originally sought.

ALL INFORMATION COMPLIMENTS OF

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

 

Next time, we’ll have a look at PLOT #2: ADVENTURE

Happy writing!

 

Interested in Amish/Mennonite fiction?

Eli and Louellen Friesen’s marriage is on the rocks, and at the same time, both question their ordnung’s teachings of the way of salvation.

https://www.amazon.com/Louellen-Finds-True-Love-Snyder-ebook/dp/B01N18WW1C/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1502653855&sr=1-1&keywords=Louellen+Finds+True+Love

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Our Writers Conference Has Classes for That!

(Eva Marie Everson teaching in 2015)

 

Writers, isn’t it time to get that manuscript ready for publication?

What have you written that you’d like to see published?

A NOVEL?

SHORT STORIES?

POETRY?

PROFILES?

PICTURE BOOKS?

DRAMA?

ARTICLES FOR CONTESTS?

DEVOTIONALS?

MAGAZINE ARTICLES?

FILM SCRIPTS?

BIBLE STUDIES?

WE HAVE CLASSES FOR ALL THOSE AND MORE AT THIS YEAR’S

MONTROSE CHRISTIAN WRITERS CONFERENCE!

(SOME OF THE CLASSES OFFERED)

Indie Publishing vs. Royalty Publishing. What’s New?

Why Drama?

Formatting before Beginning

Fiction: Character Building

21 Ways to Overcome Writers Block

Get the Most out of the Conference

The Art of Collaborative Writing

Conducting High Profile Interviews

Blogging 101

Creating a Viable Stage Production

Shock the Clock: Time Management

Marketing for Writers Who Don’t Like to Market

Seeing Through the Eyes of a Child

Powerful Sentence Structures

Fiction: Setting and Description

Write for your Life

Prayer in the Life of a Writer

Creative Blockbusters

Making your Fiction Matter

Writing for Parenting Magazines

Blogging 102

Format and Performance Know-how

Writing Compelling Devotions

No Market for your Book? What to Do

Putting Characters in Place

PUGS Specifics for Christian Writers

Writing for Guideposts and the Guideposts Contest

Graduation Time; What’s Next?

Bible Studies that Sell

Real “Artist-Ship”

Aspects of the Editing Process

Breaking into Anthologies

Social Media 101

Sharing the Fun of Drama

Column Writer as a Platform Builder

Peace in the Literary Storm

Writing for Picture: Magazine or Picture Book for Children?

Understanding the Business of Writing for Publication

Selling Personal Experience Short Stories

What’s an Edit?

Irresistible Queries and Proposals

Proofread with Excellence

Writing the Profile Piece

In two weeks, we’ll be at Montrose, but it’s not too late to register for the 2017 Montrose Christian Writers Conference, July 16th to the 21st. If you can’t come for the entire time, then sign up for a day or two of your choice.

Check all the details at http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx

And register today!

Marsha, Director

 

 

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The Importance of Keeping Detailed Notes

Writing both fiction and nonfiction has taught me how important it is to keep detailed notes while writing the book manuscripts. Now after having both genres published, I’m able to say, “I’m glad I did,” not “I wish I had.”

NONFICTION:

When I wrote my Bible study guide, DRAW ME CLOSER, LORD (2003, Regular Baptist Press), I had pages of notes for each of ten lessons, including websites for references, information about other authors’ names, addresses, and contact information whom I cited, Bible verses used, and so on. I listed in a separate file all the details I needed to go back and research or get additional information on any of the above entities of the written work.

Only after I submitted the manuscript to my publisher did I find out how valuable all that information was. The editor needed additional references for the bibliography at the end of the book AND she needed permission from all poets whose work I cited in the book. Now that was a task to complete! One poet had passed away, but I received a nicely written permission slip from the poet’s husband. Some poems had large publishing rights’ fees attached to them (such as poems written by Helen Steiner Rice), which forced me to delete those poems and insert others that had no fees. But with all this additional work, I can’t imagine how much harder it would have been had I not recorded where I found all the poems and quotes that I had used.

FICTION:

When writing my two fiction series, THE KEYSTONE STABLES and THE LOVES OF SNYDER COUNTY, I made detailed notes of all the characters, primary, secondary, and even the “insignificant” ones. I recorded lesser characters, whether they had a name or not, such as the man selling Scottie puppies at the farmers’ market who had his vending spot next to my main character’s table in Louellen Finds True Love. For the more important characters, I described their physical appearance and often their demeanor, personality, or likes and dislikes. I also listed the names or details of all places, including towns, counties, farms, homes of main characters, route numbers of roads, and descriptions of many of the places or scenes.

Why is this important?

If you’re writing a 150-to-400-page book, you need to know if you used the name “Joe” for any character, even if he’s just the guy fixing a flat tire at a garage. If you’re writing a series, which can take months or years, how are you going to remember whether Joe’s name was ever used for any character? Go back and read all your work? Uh huh.

In my LOVES OF SNYDER COUNTY SERIES, a three-volume set being re-released in a few weeks, I kept detailed notes, and I’m ever glad I did. After writing the three books, I also wrote an additional 24 short stories (5000-8000 words each) based on the characters in the three novels. [They’ll eventually be published as Plain and Proper in Snyder County Volume 1 (12 stories) and Plain and Proper in Snyder County Volume 2 (12 stories)]. I was able to go back to my pages of notes and see who’s related to whom, which farmers’ market is in Ohio, who the parents and siblings are of the main character in each story, which character in the book series likes sewing, which one loves horses, which one is a young widow, and so on. The initial work it took to open new files and start listing persons, places, and things has been well worth the effort. Believe me!

So, my advice to you is, if you’re writing a book or a series, keep detailed notes on everything you write. Yes, it’s extra work, but in the long run, you’ll be saying, “I’m glad I did,” not “I wish I had.”

 

Keystone Stables Book 3

 

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Let’s Talk Grammar and Punctuation for a While

(Post Number Ten)

“The Quirky Quotation Marks”

“What can I say about quotation marks?” Marsha says. “If you are a fiction writer, you need to master the technique of using quotation marks. However, over the last few years, many publishing companies of nonfiction works have asked authors to incorporate ‘fiction’ techniques in their manuscript. That entails using quotation marks, mostly in dialogue, correctly.”

Of the many times I’ve seen quotation marks used incorrectly, the following example is the most misuse I’ve noticed:

Bad Example: Bert yelled to his son Raymond in the back yard, “Throw the ball, son”.

Folks tend to want to put that period AFTER the quotation marks at the end, but it is incorrect. The proper usage is as such:

Good Example One: Bert yelled to his son Raymond in the back yard, “Throw the ball, son.”

The same goes for the use of quotation marks with question marks and exclamation points:

Good Example Two: After lunch Eva asked her friend Bonnie, “Would you like to go shopping?”

Good Example Three: When Bobby saw his puppy fall off the sofa, he yelled, “Watch out, Scruffy!”

Another frequent abuse of quotation marks occurs in a series when words that need the marks are listed. The following example shows how the list should be correctly written:

Good Example Four: Last year, our writers’ conference featured workshops entitled “Write an Irresistible Query,” “Kiddie Lit for Toddlers,” and “It’s Time for an Agent.”

But what about double quotes in the same sentence? You might be thinking, How do I write them? Well, here’s how the CMOS says to use double quotes:

Good Example Five: Barney said to his cousin Elmo, “You must have heard cousin Heathcliffe say, ‘We’re going to the shore on Friday.’ ” (Note the period, the single quote, a space, and a double quote.)

I’m sure it is no surprise to you that there are exceptions to using quotation marks with other punctuation marks. The English language is one big exception, if you ask me!

Anyway, here are some examples of when the quotation marks go INSIDE the ending punctuation mark:

Example One: Harry subscribed to “The Pennsylvania Magazine”; he loves the pictures. (A work that needs quotes around its title)

Example Two: The sergeant asked Private Botting to state his “name and serial number”; he forgot his serial number and got in big trouble. (A phrase that is a direct quote)

Example Three: Which of Shakespeare’s characters said, “All the world’s a stage”? (A question asked with a quoted statement within it)

Example Four: Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit” (Matt. 5:3).  (The period follows the Bible reference.)

Example Five: I can’t believe Pauline said, “I’m leaving tomorrow at five in the morning”! (The exclamatory statement was made by “I” not “Pauline.” Therefore, the exclamation point comes AFTER Pauline’s quote.)

Example Six: How can teachers motivate students to learn who constantly say, “I hate school”? (The entire sentence is a question; therefore the question mark comes AFTER the quotation mark at the end.)

There are other uses of quotation marks and exceptions, but I’m thinking this blog is enough to confuse even the best writers in the land. If you have doubts, go online to the CMOS and check out your quotation mark question firsthand.

Next time we’ll look at perky parentheses and bold brackets, which will just about wrap up our series of blogs offering punctuation advice for writers. Then we’ll move on to another venue in the fascinating world of writing and publishing.

Happy writing!

Marsha

More shameless promotion:

KEYSTONE STABLES SERIES BOOK 2

ON THE VICTORY TRAIL

Book2.On.Victory.Trail.Cover

Foster kid Skye Nicholson faces the greatest test of her young Christian life when her

best friend, Sooze, develops a brain tumor.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002U8KW7G/ref=series_rw_dp_sw

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Let’s Talk Grammar and Punctuation for a While

(Post Number Nine)

The Excitable Exclamation Point!

 

Today we’re looking at a “quicky” punctuation mark because its uses are quite limited.

Most writers agree that the exclamation point is not in much danger of being used incorrectly. But I would venture to say that its greatest misuse is OVERUSE!!!!!! (Case in point: Never use more than one exclamation point consecutively, no matter how emphatic or dramatic you’re trying to be!!! The second and third exclamation points in a row actually negate the effect or mood you’re trying to portray, so take it easy. Use just one!)

So, when do we use the exclamation point and how often? Well, the obvious use of the exclamation point is to inflect fear, panic, surprise, irony, pain, anger, or a command. To use more than one every several pages of your writing is also OVERUSE! So watch that excitable little mark well! (I’ve already used nine in this blog [ho hum]; are you getting the point?)

Since this mark’s use is limited, we’ll just cite some popular examples for this little guy:

Example One (Fear): “Watch out,” Susie cried. “The tiger got out of his cage!” (Note that the exclamation point is inside the quotation marks.)

Example Two (Panic): Mabel forgot to turn off the stove, and the house is burning down!

Example Three (Surprise): I can’t believe I just won that car!

Example Four (Irony): Bill boarded one plane, and his wife boarded another!

Example Five (Pain): Ow!

Example Six (Anger): “Stop kicking the door!” Jane screamed to the top of her lungs at Herman.

Example Seven (A command): Stand up and shut up!

Let’s mention one more example, which is perfectly legal, even though many “English pros” might call it into question, since it IS a question:

Example Eight (At the end of a question that is essentially an exclamation):

How could Barry possibly have lifted that!

“When will you ever learn!” Carrie’s anger with her puppy was obvious.

So there you have the eight most common uses of the exclamation point. Use it sparingly and wisely, and your writing will have an extra spark that will impress even the editors!

Next time we’ll have a look at quirky quotation marks. These can be quite confusing, especially when you have a quote within a quote, so until next time happy writing!

Marsha

More shameless promotion:

KEYSTONE STABLES SERIES BOOK 1

A HORSE TO LOVE

Foster kid Skye Nicholson hates everyone and everything, including herself

until she meets Christian foster parents and a beautiful Quarter Horse named Champ.

 keystone-stables-book-1

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002U80FZK/ref=series_rw_dp_sw

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