In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams, one of my all-time favorite books, the answer to life, the universe and everything is 42. Like all of life’s best jokes, it’s funny because it rings so true. Everything in life can be described mathematically, as it turns out—even literature.
In February’s Scientific American, there was an interesting article, by Mark Fischetti, about a study on the emotional story arcs of novels. It turns out that the vast majority of stories fall into only one of six tried and true emotional arcs.
Which comes first? Character or plot? And how do they relate to each other?
Years ago, looking for my wedding dress, I ran across a curious problem. I had indulged when selecting dresses to try on. Things with layers and embellishments, interesting skirts and bodices. They were beautiful and unique. Lavish.
Eagerly I began the process of getting into them (it required help), and a parade of beautiful designs soon greeted me, one after another, from the mirror. Bit by bit, though, my excitement dimmed as I realized that, while beautiful, none of them looked right on me.
Now, I’m no runway model, but those dresses should have at least looked okay. Why didn’t they? Continue reading
If you’re a swimmer, you know you swim fly, back, breast and free in that order in the IM. If you know nothing about swimming, you are likely feeling like a foreigner in a country where everyone but you speaks the same language. It’s an uncomfortable, frustrating position to be in. Yet, every hobby and sport has its own lingo, just as every profession, including writing, does. I was reminded of this fact last week while talking with some writer friends. I used the acronym WIP during our conversation and one of the women interrupted me to ask what it meant. “Work in progress,” another answered. Since then, I’ve been thinking about how much there is to learn when it comes to writing terminology. Continue reading
Posted in Laura's Posts
Tagged characters, learning, lingo, plot, POV, research, structure, terminology, writing, writing life, writing resources
When I first began my novel, I wrote scenes and jotted down notes as they came to me, no rhyme or reason as I’ve noted before. And while this freestyle writing habit birthed some very creative ideas, I often found contradictions in plot lines and would have to spend time fixing and readjusting the whole story. This stole time from plowing ahead on my first draft.
After Stacey raved about John Truby’s book, The Anatomy of Story, I took a step back and did what “normal” writers probably do: I organized and planned. Continue reading
For our April “Learn to Write by Reading” challenge, we invited you to examine books in which the author used a non-linear plot structure. Now, apply what you learned to your own manuscript.
Decide how to let the reader know when your story is transitioning from one time period to another. Techniques could include using datelines as chapter headings or using a trigger specific to your story world. That trigger could be anything from an object that causes a character to remember past events to a portal that physically carries a character into another timeline, depending on the nature of your story. Don’t settle for the first technique that comes to mind. Sift through at least half a dozen to discover a truly fresh concept that will set your story apart.