Scene Prompt #3: The MacGuffin

Think of the most important object in your story. It could be the thing all the characters want that drives the story or just an item that acts as a metaphor–or both!–or anything in between.

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Scene Prompt #2: One true sentence

This one comes from Hemingway. I have this quote written on a post-it note next to my monitor. When I’m having trouble getting into a scene, I use it as a mantra:

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Scene Prompt #1: The still shot

I got this prompt from a book by Laura Deutsch. To prep for this writing prompt, imagine your point-of-view character in the scene you’re working on. Take a mental snapshot . . .

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Perfect Rhythm: How Dan Brown did it in The Da Vinci Code

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Several posts ago, we looked at how to create a regular, rhythmic beat, as discussed in The Bestseller Code* (which lists Fifty Shades of Gray* and The Da Vinci Code* as the only two (adult) books with perfect curves). I proposed sequences as a good way to plot for rhythm, and in this post we’re going to see if that holds true for The Da Vinci Code.

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Microtension: What is it and how do we get it onto the page?

People talk like microtension began and now idles with Donald Maass.  For Maass, microtension boils down to a conflict…a juxtaposition…a clashing of things, preferably emotions, but also ideas, concepts, anticipations, whatever–whatever’s available for contradiction in your story.  But is there more? More guidance? Continue reading

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Hooks Big and Small–How the Masters Do It

We looked at hooks last week, both concept hooks that pique our initial interest in a story and in-story hooks that keep us engaged from start to finish. Today we’re looking at how a few New York Times bestsellers hook us.  Continue reading

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Filed under Concept, Hooks, Microtension, One-Line Synopsis, Story Master Wednesday, Voice

Story Hooks: What are they?

In the last post, we discussed how the most important element in a logline is often the element that reveals the story’s hook(s).  But what is a hook?  Let’s find out. Continue reading

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Logline Revisited: Are some components more significant than others?

I got a comment the other day, on the post about NYTBS one-line synopses, asking whether the significance of each logline component varies according to the sort of story it’s describing.  Also requested was a list of the components ordered by most significance. These are great questions, and my answers ended up being pretty long (almost 8,000 words), so I thought I’d upgrade it from comment to post.

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Rhythm and Sequences: How Graeme Simsion does it

We’ve been looking at the rolling, mid-level rhythm of story, and how sequences might be the way to achieve that.  The Bestseller Code* gave us a list of the top ten books with good rhythms (none of which were as good/steady as TDC* and FSoG*).

The book I picked from the list to test the sequences=rhythm theory–the theory that sequences are the path to purposely developing this rhythm–was Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Project,* and I think it was a good choice for several reasons.

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Sequences: What are they?

Last updated 2.18.20

Last post, I said I’d do a master storyteller post, or three, on Rhythm.  Well, I found that I needed more guidance. Continue reading

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