Monday, October 18, 2010

Writing Scenes and Sequels

Wanted to share this with you.  It's from a book called You Can Write a Romance, but don't let the title put you off.  This advice applies to all writing.
Your book is not written in chapters--it's written in scenes and sequels.  Like a string of pearls, scenes and sequels keep your story on track and moving toward the hero or heroine's goal.  Scenes and sequels are part of the glue that holds your story together.

There are three parts to scene and three parts to sequel; not one of them can be skipped:

Scenes = Action                                 Sequels = Reaction
1. Goal                                                 1. Reaction
2. Conflict                                            2. Dilemma
3. Disaster                                            3. Decision

There are two goals in the first scene of your book: a story goal and scene goal.  The story goal is the character's ultimate goal that she/he is aiming for when the story opens.  The scene goal is how to overcome the obstacle that has blocked her/his path to the story goal.  The scene goal will open every scene after the first scene in your book.  Once the story and scene goal are established, begin writing conflict.

Conflict is the meat of your story--the heart of the struggle toward a happy ending.  Every scene ends in conflict or the foreshadowing of conflict.  Not every conflict has to be the size of an atom bomb.  It can be something as simple as spilling coke on a prom dress ten minutes before the character's date arrives.

Once that disaster happens and you've explained it through emotion and action in the scene, go straight into the first point in sequel: reaction.

Okay, maybe this will give something new to think about in your own execution of writing scenes and sequels.   I hope it's been helpful.

Keep Writing, Ya'all,
Sunny Marie

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Writing Tips as promised...

Marcia Preston hosted one of the workshops at the Central Coast Writer's Conference this year.   She is a published author who lives in Edmund, OK.  She presented us with a good list of Writing Tips which I will share with you.

1.  Your story needs to be something special and unique.  It needs to hook the reader in the first few paragraphs, through the character or the setting.
2.  There needs to be a strong sense of character and of place.
3. Structure your novel well...make sure you have all the elements of Plot Structure, and you work this to the max. 
4. She suggest keeping a Writer's Journal.   This is a place you can jot down ideas for future novels, or record events you witness and turn these into story ideas.
5.  When selecting an agent, be sure it is one you feel you can work with.  One who is compatible, and aggressive.  A bad agent is worse than no agent at all.
6.  Don't overlook Small Presses and Publishing companies.
7.  Once you have sent out your book to an agent or editor, start right away writing on the next one.
8. Here's the important one...Marcia Preston says to begin now...even before you have a novel accepted or published, to build a platform.   This means, get a Blog, and/or Web Site, join Facebook, etc.   Starting building a fan base and get your name known.   She also said if an agent or editor sees you were willing to put forth this effort before you got published, then they know you will be willing to really promote your book once it's out in print.

That is why I have this Blog site, and my Web site:    Check it out.

Facebook?   Well, I'm not quite ready for that just yet.

So, I hope these tips will be helpful to you.   Some, I'm sure you are already aware of, but just think about them a bit more...and what they really mean to your finished product.

Marcia also said you can use Brand Names and Song Titles in your story with no problem.   However, if you use lyrics you do have to obtain permission first.   You can also use "show names", like The Jay Leno Show, etc.   I know some of you have wondered about this.

And her most important piece of advice:  Never, Never Give Up!

Keep Writing Ya'all,
Sunny Marie