Scene Prompt #28: Love me, Hate me

Does your main character have any vanishing allies? For this prompt, we're looking for shifting characters. Characters who seem to be on your main character's side, but are ultimately serving some other cause. How might your protagonist find out that this character has betrayed them? Does the shifting character confess? Does some other character let … Continue reading Scene Prompt #28: Love me, Hate me

Scene Beginnings: How the masters do it

So over the past three scene posts, we learned that good scene beginnings: Start with a hookEstablish the POVOrient the reader with the 5WsClue the reader in to the POV Character's scene goal (which creates a scene question that implies action and stakes)Move into the middle of the scene with an inciting incident of conflict … Continue reading Scene Beginnings: How the masters do it

Scene Purpose: How James Patterson (and his cowriter) does it

In the last scenes post we looked at the scene purpose, of which Larry Brooks says, "James Patterson has mastered this, and it has become the accepted model of effective scene writing today: One mission per scene." So I picked up a Patterson book (actually a Patterson/Richard DiLallo book) from my library, the most current … Continue reading Scene Purpose: How James Patterson (and his cowriter) does it

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

Last updated 4.27.21 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 … Continue reading Perfect Rhythm: How Dan Brown did it in The Da Vinci Code

Character Introductions: How the Masters Do It

In the last post, we listed seven techniques to use when introducing characters.  Most of the masters use a combination of techniques. Here's how. Method 1: Out-of-Viewpoint Description In this method, the narrator (not a view-point character) tells us about the characters. JKR uses this method to introduce the Dursleys at the beginning of the … Continue reading Character Introductions: How the Masters Do It

Character Tags: How the Masters Use Them

We're looking at character tags.  Here's how some of the master story tellers help us remember who their characters are. Jim Butcher's Dresden series Harry Dresden is a practicing wizard who hires out as a detective.  Jim Butcher has said that he consciously creates tags and traits for his characters to help readers identify them. In … Continue reading Character Tags: How the Masters Use Them

The Reader-Character Bond: How the masters do it

This week, we're learning how to forge the reader-character bond.  Here's how the masters do it: For these examples, I'm rereading only the opening scenes and otherwise drawing from memory.  Let's Get the classic example out of the way first: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, J. K. Rowling (MG) Main Character: Harry Potter First … Continue reading The Reader-Character Bond: How the masters do it