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Today’s Writers’ Tips

THE RIDDLE or MYSTERY Fiction Plot

PLOT # 7

Continuing our study of fiction plots, we’ll look at plot number 7 today: riddle or mystery. If you’re a mystery writer, and a successful published one, I’m sure you have mastered the “tricks of the trade.” Writing a riddle or mystery has certain characteristics different from “regular” writing. So, let’s have a look at the important points needed in a good mystery:

THE RIDDLE OR MYSTERY

The Maltese Falcon

The Lady or the Tiger

The Man Who Knew Too Much

Murder, She Wrote

  1. The core of your riddle should be in clever writing: hide that which is in plain sight.
  2. The tension of your riddle should come from the conflict between what happens as opposed to what seems to have happened.
  3. The riddle challenges the reader to solve it before the protagonist does. (And readers love this.)
  4. The answer to your riddle should always be in plain view without being obvious. (And that’s a “trick.”)
  5. The first dramatic phase should consist of the generalities of the riddle (persons, places, events).
  6. The second dramatic phase should consist of the specifics of the riddle (how persons, places, and events relate to each other in detail).
  7. The third dramatic phase should consist of the riddle’s solution, explaining the motives of the antagonist(s), and the real sequence of events (as opposed to what seemed to have happened).
  8. Write to a specific audience, i.e. age, sex, etc.
  9. Choose between an open-ended and a close-ended structure. (Open-ended riddles have no clear answer; close-ended ones do.)

So, there you have it. If you’ve never tackled a mystery, maybe now you’ll be brave enough to try one. And the mystery to solve is CAN YOU DO IT?

Next time, we’ll look at plot # 8: RIVALRY

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

http://amzn.to/2GVxhqZ

Dallis believes the phantom stallion really does exist, no matter how much her friends make fun of her.

But what happens when she and Snow have a face-to-face encounter?

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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

http://amzn.to/2nK0Y66

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March 12, 2018

Today’s Writers’ Tip

Fiction Plots

RESCUE

Truck Fire Engines Firefighters During A Fire Drill Training Royalty Free Stock Photos - 73410618

(Photo compliments of http://www.stockfreeimages.com)

Continuing our study of fiction plots, we’ll look at plot number 4 today: RESCUE.

Who hasn’t been on the edge of his seat as a child when reading books or watching movies on TV like “Snow White,” “The Secret Garden,” or “The Lone Ranger” (He was always “rescuing good guys from the bad guys!) But now as a writer, we need to analyze the clever writing technique used to create a work that keeps the viewer wanting more as the hero or heroine search and rescue some poor lost wandering soul (or sometimes an animal).

Let’s take a look at the defining characteristics of a Rescue Fiction Plot:

PLOT #4

RESCUE

Snow White

The Magnificent Seven

  1. The rescue plot relies more on action than on the development of any one character.
  2. The “character triangle” should consist of a hero, a villain, and a victim.
  3. The moral argument of the rescue plot is usually black and white.
  4. The focus should be on the main character’s (hero’s) pursuit of the villain.
  5. The hero usually must contend with the villain on the villain’s turf.
  6. If there’s a heroine, she should be defined by her relationship to the villain.
  7. The villain should deprive the hero of what each believes is rightfully his/hers.
  8. The villain continually interferes with the hero’s progress.
  9. The victim is generally the weakest of the three characters and serves mainly to force the hero to confront the villain.
  10. There are three dramatic phases: separation, pursuit, and confrontation and reunion.

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!)

I hope 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%.

Next time, we’ll have a look at PLOT #5: ESCAPE

Happy writing!

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

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Today’s Writers’ Tip

Fiction Plots

PURSUIT

Continuing our study of fiction plots, we’ll look at plot number 3 today: PURSUIT. We’ve all read books or watched movies in which someone was chasing someone else or something (an animal, hidden treasure, or even a dream), and we bit our nails and sat on the edge of our seats, wondering if our hero or heroine would ever reach the “unreachable star.”

Well, there’s a trick to writing such suspense. So let’s take a look at the defining characteristics of a Pursuit Fiction Plot:

PLOT # 3

PURSUIT

Moby Dick

Les Miserables

Sherlock Holmes

 

The first dramatic phase of the story should have three stages:

a.  the ground rules for the chase

b. the stakes involved

c. the race should begin with a motivating incident

In the pursuit plot, the chase is more important than the people who take part in it.

There has to be a real danger of the pursued getting caught.

The main character (the one pursuing) should have a fairly good chance of catching the pursued.

He might even catch the pursued momentarily.

This plot is filled with physical action.

The story and your characters must be stimulating, engaging, and unique.

The main characters and situations should be against type in order to avoid cliches.

Keep the situation as geographically confined as possible because the smaller the area for the chase, the greater the tension.

 

Are you ready to tackle a “pursuit” fiction plot? Use these guidelines, and you might have the next best seller in that subgenre.

 

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 #4: RESCUE

Happy writing!

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

Make your plans now to come to the Montrose Christian Writers Conference July 22nd to the 27th (or any days you are able)

Details and registration forms soon coming to http://bit.ly/2pdcYQC soon.

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MY WRITERS’ TIPS BLOG POSTS ARE COMING AGAIN!

Friends, with my husband’s heart attacks, ICU stay in three different hospitals, including the Cleveland Clinic, for over two months, and his homegoing on November 6th, I’ve not been able to post my weekly Writers’ Tip Blog since August 21st. Richard had two heart attacks that same week, and our lives changed forever.

That was six months ago already to the day when he entered the first ICU. You who’ve experienced the death of a close one know how much “paperwork” is involved in getting your new life in order. I’m finally getting some kind of “normalcy” in my daily routine. Thus, I’m going to try to return to entering a Writers’ Tip Blog post every Monday. Again, I want to thank you all for your continued prayers.

Today we’re going to continue with the different plots that fiction novels can present. I’ve used a wonderful book by Ronald Tobias called MASTER PLOTS AND HOW TO BUILD THEM as my primary resource. 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.

In August, I had posted PLOT # 1, THE QUEST. You might want to scroll down and refresh your memory concerning that plot’s specifics. Today we’re going to look at PLOT # 2, ADVENTURE. If you’re a fiction writer, I believe you’ll thoroughly enjoy these posts and glean much information from them to help you become a better writer:

PLOT 2

ADVENTURE

Indiana Jones

Luke Skywalker

James Bond

Robinson Crusoe

The adventure plot resembles the quest plot, but they differ in some profound ways:

  1. The quest plot is a character plot, getting into the mind of that main character. The adventure plot, on the other hand, is an action plot—a plot of the hero in action.
  2. The difference between the two is the focus. In the quest plot, the focus from beginning to end is on the person making the journey. In the adventure plot, the focus is on the journey.
  3. In the adventure plot, the hero searches for fortune somewhere over the rainbow. The purpose of the adventure is the journey, so the hero doesn’t need to change in any special way.
  4. The reader doesn’t get “into the head” of the main character like the quest plot. The protagonist is perfectly fitted for the adventure: He/she is swept up in the event because the event is always larger than the character.
  5. The worlds the main characters live in are anything but “normal.” Readers enjoy the adventures not only for the action but also for the places where the character goes.
  6. If you the reader liked fairy tales as a child, you’ll love adventure plots in an exciting novel. The adventure story is nothing more than a fairy tale for grown-ups.

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.

Next time, we’ll look at PLOT # 3: PURSUIT

 

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August 14, 2017

Writers’ Tips for the Fiction Genre

TWENTY MASTER PLOTS AND HOW TO BUILD THEM by Ronald Tobias http://www.amazon.com/20-Master-Plots-Build-Them/dp/1599635372/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1373314000&sr=1-1  is one of the best books I’ve ever read to help understand the fiction genre and to improve my own writing. This book by Tobias is packed with useful information for any writer of fiction, who desires to improve his skills for writing an appealing, can’t-put-the-book-down manuscript. All the tips in the next series of blog posts come from this book.

Today we’re going to start by reviewing the definition of plot, a plot-driven book, and a character-driven book. So if you’re been wanting to write good fiction, regardless of the age of your readership, take special note of the helpful tips in my next 20 or so blog posts.

DEFINITION OF PLOT:

  1. A plot is organic, the skeleton that holds the story together, the scaffold, the superstructure, the chassis, the frame, a force, a process.
  2. Every plot is different, but each has its roots in a pattern of unified behavior and action.
  3. It’s a blueprint of human behavior.
  4. It’s more than a chronicle of events. It answers WHY! (It has to be more than “Johnny hit his sister Susie.” WHY did he hit her?)
  5. TENSION fuels the plot.
  6. PLOT asks the question; the CLIMAX answers it.

DEFINITION OF A PLOT-DRIVEN BOOK: the mechanism of the story that is more important than the characters. The characters are there to make the plot happen.

DEFINITION OF A CHARACTER-DRIVEN BOOK: the mechanism of the story is less important than the characters.

  1. Don’t have a STATIC character. He/she must be different at the end than he/she was in the beginning.
  2. Put your character in a SITUATION.
  3. Use TRIANGLES: the relationship between character and plot. They make the strongest character combinations and are most common. Events happen in threes. (Example: the hero tries three times to overcome an obstacle.)
  4. MOTIVATION: explaining why the major characters to what they do: ACTION VS. REACTION

So…there are some introductory tips from Ronald Tobias’s excellent book for you to ponder as you plan your work of fiction. Next time, we’ll share with you some pointers to help you write a plot that focuses on a quest or a goal the protagonist is aiming to achieve.

Happy writing!

Marsha

 

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IT’S OVER! 

Writers' Theatre 

Thursday Evening’s Writers’ Theatre

BUT PLAN FOR MCWC 2018!

The 2017 Montrose Christian Writers Conference is history. I can’t believe it’s three weeks ago already that the conference was underway. What a blessing this year’s conference was to me as the director. Without the help of my “committee,” I wouldn’t have been able to pull this off. Thank you, gals. You are deeply appreciated. (And you know who you are!)

I want to personally thank Jim Fahringer and his wonderful staff for providing such an excellent place at the Montrose Bible Conference Center, including fine meals and homey rooms. Without exception, folks say the beautiful setting and family atmosphere are tops.

I also want to thank each faculty member, who made this year’s conference one of the best we’ve ever had. We’ve had almost 100% of positive feedback from the conferees, who gleaned from the faculty’s expertise.

Thank you, Conrad and Donna Krieger, talented musicians, who once again provided spirit-filled Praise and Worship times every morning to start our days with thoughts about our wonderful God.

Then, I want to thank each conferee who sacrificed a lot of money and time to attend this conference. Besides paying tuition, room, and board, the conferees opened their hearts to the needs of others by donating used books for our Budget Book Sale. I’m guessing we had at least 300 books to sell. Along with those book donations, faculty and conferees “purchased” dozens and dozens of those used books and many MCWC can coolers to support the General Scholarship Fund. We raised over $500 to help future conferees with their finances as well as donating $350 to the kitchen staff, many who work as volunteers or get paid minimal salaries.

When our conference closed on Friday, July 21st, we always end with a short praise and worship time, a challenge from a faculty member, and a circle of friendship and prayer. It’s not unusual for conferees and faculty members to part with tears in their eyes, pledging to return next July. Once anyone attends MCWC, he/she is considered “family,” and we look forward to seeing each one every year.         The closing on Friday morning: our circle of friendship, singing, and prayer.

I overheard one gal say “just had to come back next year” and she planned to save all her loose change to put toward next year’s expenses. That’s an excellent idea for those who have to “count every penny” in their budget. In a year’s time, quite a few dollars can mount up.

If you’ve never been to our Montrose Christian Writers Conference, please consider joining us next year. Mark the dates on your calendar: July 22nd to the 27th. I promise you won’t be sorry.

For you who’ve been there for 15 years or just for one year, I look forward, Lord willing, to seeing you again in 11 short months! God bless your writing endeavors over the next year.

P.S. Whether you attended or not, you might enjoy looking at my Pinterest 2017 MCWC Board with over 100 photos of the conference’s faculty, conferees, and events:

If you weren’t at the conference and would like to know what you missed, check out the conference’s details:

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

Marsha, Director

1 Corinthians 15:10

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