According to the craft masters, scenes should have a purpose (also called a mission, intention, focus, point, or function). In other words, it needs a reason for being in your story. This isn't the character's reason for entering the scene. (We'll get to that later.) This is your, the author's, reason for including the scene … Continue reading Scene Elements: The Scene’s Purpose
So what all goes into writing a scene? Let's find out. As mentioned in the first scene post, these posts are ordered from the macro to the micro (more or less), so this post is mostly another overview post: We're getting a sense of all the elements that make up a scene, with a focus … Continue reading Scene Structure: Elements of a Scene
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. What is a hook? Generally speaking . . . “A hook is a device for catching, holding, sustaining, or pulling anything--in this case, a … Continue reading Story Hooks: What are they?
Have you read The Bestseller Code*? The authors, Jodie Archer & Matthew L. Jockers, say that the two bestselling adult books of all time--Fifty Shades of Gray* and The Da Vinci Code*--share a "regular rhythmic beat" that no other books share, at least not as closely. Whether coincidence or not, don't you kind of want … Continue reading Rhythm in Plotting: The bestseller’s best-kept secret – Part 1
As Nancy Kress says, "Characters have to be called something. And since they do, you may as well . . . make your names contribute to world building, characterization, and plot development." To that end, here's what the craft masters have to say about choosing character names. IS THIS POST ON NAMES REALLY NECESSARY? Dwight … Continue reading A Particular Character Detail: Choosing Names
Whether you know everything about your characters before you start writing or nothing about them, you can't include every single detail in your manuscript. (Well, you can, but you probably shouldn't.) As Nancy Kress says, you'll want to "choose artfully." You'll want to home in on the particular details your readers are looking for. Which details … Continue reading Character Details: How to Choose
We've been looking at character: introducing the character, forging the reader-character bond, creating contradictions . . . All good stuff. But let's back up a bit. There's a word that gets thrown around a lot about character, and, I'll admit, sometimes I feel like maybe I don't actually know what it means. The word is … Continue reading Characterization: What is it?
A character's first appearance in a story is a big opportunity to characterize. Here are several ways to fulfill its potential. BRING CHARACTERS ON IN CHARACTER If you take home nothing else from this post, at least take this: bring characters on in character. "To introduce any given character effectively, you must first of all … Continue reading Character Introductions: Characterizing from the get-go
Tags, markers, labels, traits. The craft masters have a lot of words for the details that help readers identify and distinguish the characters in a story. Here are 6 character aspects that you can mine for tags and 5 ways to put those tags to work. CHARACTER TAGS: WHAT ARE THEY? Jim Butcher says "TAGS are words you … Continue reading Character Tags: What are they?
9 ways to forge a reader-character bond