A Simple Novel Outline – 9 questions for 25 chapters « H.E. Roulo Just as every tree is different but still recognizably a tree, every story is different but contains elements that make it a story. By defining those before you begin you clarify the scope of your work, identify your themes, and create the story you meant to write. At Norwescon 2011 I sat in on a session called Outline Your Novel in 90-minutes led by Mark Teppo. I’ll give you the brief, readable, synthesized version. Answer 9 questions and create 25 chapter titles and you’re there. Here are the 9 questions to create a novel: 1.) 2.) 3.) 4.) 5.) 6.) 7.) 8.) 9.) Now, with those 9 questions answered to your satisfaction, try to fill in a 25 chapter, 75,000 word outline. Chapters 7-18 are the middle of your book. Chapters 19-25 depict the heroic act to victory. Wasn’t that easy? Okay, sure, the work isn’t done yet. Using the idea that there are 25 chapters, I outlined my current work in progress. I hope that was helpful. Tell me what works for you. Related 6 Steps to Masterful Writing Critiques
Stupid Plot Tricks Excerpted from my lecture on Stupid Plotting Tricks By Teresa Nielsen Hayden Start with some principles: A plot doesn't have to be new. Looked at from this angle, the Internet's various lovingly-compiled cliche lists are a treasury of useful plot devices. 1. 2. Alternately, you can go here and have them generated for you. You're going to make a plot out of them. 3. 4. 5. 6. Did I hear someone murmur that this is overkill? Overkill is good for you! Flee, puny humans! ©2000 by Teresa Nielsen Hayden, TNH@panix.com Plunge Right In... Into Your Story, That Is! by Rekha Ambardar One of the things you're required to do when taking swimming lessons is to jump in at the deep end of the pool, dive under water smoothly, and rise up to the surface. For most swimmers, diving under the water and then swimming to the surface poses hardly any problem; it's the jump at the deep end that unnerves one. Most of us prefer to ease in unobtrusively from any other area of the pool and loiter at the deep end, pretending that we did jump in. Somehow, this tendency of easing into the pool is the analogy that compares with the fictional technique of beginning storytellers -- an absolute no-no in fiction writing. Stories that grab the attention of editors are the ones that start in the middle of a critical scene, especially important in mystery fiction. Begin with Action A few years back, I might have been tempted to go into a lengthy description of why Myrna happened to be looking at travel brochures by herself. Begin in the Middle Dole out the Backstory
150 Resources to Help You Write Better, Faster, and More Persuasively It doesn't matter if you're a student or a professional writer: there's always something new to learn and ways to make your writing more refined, better researched, and more effective. Writing is essential for students who want to succeed, whether they're enrolled in one of the top online colleges or an Ivy League university. As essential as it is, learning to write well isn't easy. Luckily, there are many helpful resources that make it easier to build on your existing skills while learning new ones. Blogs These blogs can help you learn more about the profession of writing, brush up your skills, and even see what it takes to get a book published. Copyblogger: On Copyblogger, Brian Clark offers tips on how to improve the content, marketing, and business of a blog. Business and Legal Matters These tools can help you to create a freelance writing business, get you through assignments in the best online business programs, or just protect yourself should you decide to publish. Genres Rhetoric
Conflict Test 1. Does one of the characters have to change in order for the conflict to be resolved? _____ Yes, Score 1 _____ No, Score 0 _____ Both characters change, Score 2 2. _____ Yes, Score 0 _____ No, Score 1 3. _____ Yes, Score 1 _____ No, Score 0 _____ Ask this question to someone else who’s read your story. 4. 5. _____ Yes, Score 1_____ No, Score 0 6. _____ Yes, Score 0 _____ No, Score 1 Score 9: Perfect SCORE!!!! What is conflict | Writing Beginners are always told to have conflict in every scene. Keep that story moving! But what is conflict? Too often it is taken to mean an "Odd Couple's" squabbling. Conflict can be more subtle, more complex, more interesting than "she says tomayto, he says tomahto." A character's inner conflict is not just being in two minds about something, not just being torn between obvious incompatibles ("I want to be a priest, and yet I love her") but is about being in a new situation where old attitudes and habits war with and hinder the need for change. You show these internal conflicts not by means of internal dialogue (which is a cop-out and is dull), but by showing your characters responding to their own inner compulsions. A character's inner conflict can be between what he thinks he wants and what he really wants. A good story has more than two people in it. Conflict must always be resolved, and every layer you create needs its closure. You resolve your central conflict by choosing a winner.
50 Awesome Open Source Resources for Writers and Writing Majors With the popularity of blogging and online journals, writers working in the online realm have a growing number of opportunities all the time to practice and refine their craft, and maybe even get paid for it. And if you’re a writing major, why not take advantage of all the opportunities to get great free and open source resources that can help you to write, edit and organize your work? Here’s a list of fifty open source tools that you can use to make your writing even better. Word Processors Why pay for expensive word processing programs when you can get high quality and open source alternatives for much less? Here are a few programs to try. yWriter: This word processor is designed especially for writers. Reference Everyone needs a little help with spelling and grammar now and again, and these programs can get you on the right track. Organization Working online isn’t always conducive to organization. Sonar: Getting published can be an uphill battle, but Sonar can make it a little easier.
Article of The Month This is a quick exercise designed to sketch out the major events of your novel. It only gives you a map-- you have to make the drive yourself! Get a kitchen timer or set your alarm. You're going to free-write for three minutes on several questions. (If you want to cheat and write for five minutes on each, go ahead. Just be warned the exercise might take you an hour then.) Type or write the question, then set the clock, read the question allowed, and go. 1. 3. There's not enough money for costumes. 7. Okay, half hour's up. Answer 4 gives the protagonist's intended destination. # 6 lists obstacles to the resolution of the conflict. Just remember, your ending is going to help determine the message your reader will retain after closing the book, so make it fit your theme.
Creating Conflict & Sustaining Suspence Creating Conflict and Sustaining Suspense by Lee Masterson "Dan stood on the wet paving, his arms limp by his side, his jaw hanging in horror, as he peered through a crack in the curtains. Before him a man crept towards the figure of his wife as she lay on the sofa. "Leave my wife alone," his mind screamed silently. On the sofa his wife smiled and opened her arms invitingly. He wondered how hard it would be to murder his best friend." Did that little excerpt leave you wanting more? Conflict is the driving force behind all good fiction. Many new writers believe that adding conflict to a story is as simple as inserting violence into the plot line. Let me give you an example of writing without conflict. Dan arrived home from work. Now, tell me - would you like to see 400 more pages like this? Did you happen to notice that Dan's point of view is exactly the same in both examples? Also in the first example, I have added the hint that it is raining. Risk Empathy Raise the Stakes Rising Complications
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