Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Increasing your plot's intensity

When my back hurts from cleaning my house, I often read one of my Writer's Digest Books. The one I'm currently reading is Creating Plot by J. Madison Davis. Click here for the link.

To increase the plot's intensity, the scenes move to more important and dangerous level as the story moves forward, while the protagonist is caught in tighter situation with the possibilities for action decreasing with each scene.

As I've plotted my time travel novel, this sentence hit me like a brick (but without the migraine :). My antagonist, Sam, wants to make a name for himself and please his father. As he plots the best course of action, he receives disturbing news and makes poor choices that lead to his becoming evil.

Once my character profiles were developed, the event that led to Sam's dark path flashed in my mind. It takes a good bit of time for me to improve my writing skills, so these great aha moments helps me write better fiction.

What are your thoughts? Do you have any great tips for increasing your novel's intensity that you care to share?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Book Review of Vanish

A week ago today I met Sophie Jordan, author of the young adult novel, Firelight, at one of her book signings. Vanish, the second book in her Firelight series about draki, was released on September 7th.

I read the book yesterday and flew through it. It was one of those epic books where I didn't notice the style or pacing because I was so enthralled  in Jacinda's life. Her life is pretty difficult as she returns to the pride with her sister Tamra and mother, and I enjoyed Jacinda's back and forth between Cassian and Will.

Rather than give anything away, I highly recommend you read this book if you enjoyed reading Firelight.

Friday, September 9, 2011

My plot thickens....

After a long break, I've returned to my young adult novel, Time Control: Deception. After much thinking and talking to my husband/co-author Jim, my antagonist, Sam, has solid, believable reasons to form his dark plans.

It's fun to write about characters who travel down a dark path when greed and lust for power takes control over them. I have always been interested in 'why' people behave the way that they do, so giving Sam a complicated past helped me understand what motivates his choices.

Do you enjoy getting to know your antagonist and understanding what makes them behave the way he/she does?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Write Great Dialogue: Part Two

I was out of town this Friday and did not have the chance to post this on Friday. My father-in-law passed away and I traveled to Pittsburgh, PA for his funeral.

Last Monday I wrote the first half of how to write great dialogue. Today we'll talk about the importance of conflict or tension in fiction, something I'm still learning how to do.

Great dialogue leaves the dull parts of conversation out, so that the protagonist is dealing with the change, threat, or challenges. Imagine reading this conversation:

 "How is that new toaster working for you?" Babs asked.
"Oh, it's marvelous," Mary said. "I'm really glad I got this one. It's at Target, on sale."
"Really? I may just have to get one for myself."
"Do. You'll love it. You'll absolutely love it."
Babs took a sip of her coffee. "Mm, this is good. What blend?"
"French Roast."
"I adore French Roast."
"Me too."

In reading this, you would think neither one has a care in the world, and wouldn't believe that Mary's husband is in the hospital.

This conversation seems more realistic:

"How is that new toaster working for you?" Babs asked.
"The toaster. How's it working?"
"It toasts."
"Yes. It toasts."
"I didn't mean to-"
"What do you think it does?"
Babs took a sip of her coffee. They sat in silence for a long moment.

This shows a distracted Mary not paying attention when Babs asks about a toaster. Their conversation takes an awkward turn which leaves them in silence.

Writing dialogue like this is taking me a long time to learn. What are your tips for writing dialogue?

*This post was taken from the book, "Revision & Self-Editing" by James Scott Bell.