Friday, June 15, 2012

Ask Elnora--About Writing? About Plot??? Lenora Worth

Hello, my beautiful bloggers. Elnora is so excited about today's blog, she actually researched and wrote this way ahead of schedule!!! It's Third Friday Writing Day!!! It's a day for all writers to come out and play, to ask questions, to find answers, to get inspired to write. Yes, you know who you are. You are among friends here. So, ask away, but today we are going to discuss one of the most important parts of writing a story--the PLOT. P is for Purpose, L is for Logic, O is for Originality, and T is for Talent. You need purpose, logic, originality and talent to write a good story. But you also need this: This book by Debra Dixon (writer and editor at Belle Books) is one of the best "how-to" books around today. It explains what you need to do (or rather what your characters need to do) to have a good story. This is a big part of creating a plot that editors will buy and readers will love. You also need "Techniques of the Selling Writer" by Dwight Swaine. This book showed Elnora exactly what she was doing wrong and how to make it right. It's hard to find these days and used copies can be pricey, but it is worth it! If you've never heard of scene and sequel, this book will explain it. And next, Elnora recommends both "The Hero's Journey" and "The Writer's Journey" by Chris Vogler. These books explain the classic steps each hero or heroine or both must take in order to go on a quest. And let's face it, our books are all about a quest--mostly to find love--but still a quest all the same. These books are based on Joseph Campbell's "The Hero With a Thousand Faces." Confused? Don't be. The rest of us are here to chat about plotting! We know a thing or two, having studied the above books and about a gazillion more. So this is the question of the day. What is plot and how do I get one? Ask away, my little daydreamers!

14 comments:

  1. Ah, plot. I just got a mess of plotting books and now have new ones to add to the list.

    I am working on a WWII novel set in Washington, DC. The story is based on my pediatrician, a tiny woman with a big heart. I have always wanted to give her the happy ending she deserved.

    Now, to my question, how do I prevent the dreaded SAGGING MIDDLE? I have the beginning, the end, but it is that middle part that I fear. Can it be prevented or do I just have to let it happen and then fix it?

    Peace and thanks, Julie

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  2. Julie,we all dread the sagging middle. (in our books and our ...er....tummies.) When I hit the middle, I try to introduce a new plot twist, maybe a new character, or a tiny subplot with a secondary character. Think of it like days of the week. If you're bored by Wednesday, you find something different to do. It's also a good time to get deeper into your character's backstory or angst. I'm sure some of the other Craftie members can add more!!

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  3. I've done all those books except the Heroes' Journey. I love GMC.

    Julie, the sagging middle is my enemy too!

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  4. “Like a great singer, make your voice so rewarding that readers won’t care whether your middle sags or not.”

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  5. Vince, you make me laugh!

    Thanks, Pamela and Tracy, for the advice and letting me know I am not alone.

    Peace, Julie

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  6. Vince, so good to hear from you! Good advice. The sagging middle is the hardest part of the book. We have the set-up in the first few chapters and that's exciting. Then things start to level off but we want to keep the tension moving. And that means emotional tension, not just external action. Here we can let our characters begin to see that they have taken on a new quest, or they have a new goal. But what obstacles will keep them from that goal? This is why I love writing. It's always a surprise to see what's around the corner. C'mon, other Crafties, speak up and help out fearless writerly bloggers!

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  7. Lenora, I follow your advice and try and introduce a new element in the middle--something exciting, scary, or worrisome. I also look for ways to make things worse for my characters. I am so cruel to them but they seem to like it. lol
    Linda

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  8. Thanks for the books, Lenora! I love those.

    Julie, I love The Moral Premise. It talks about having the character get a glimpse (a moment of grace) of what life could be like if they were able to make the big change they need to make. But of course, they're not ready to do that yet. So the middle can be FUN! Give them a glimpse of happiness. :)

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  9. Good point, Linda. We must make them suffer because life is not a bowl of cherries! Things happen and so they should happen to our characters. That makes them real. I was proofing one of my books this morning and realized I was tearing up. I had to stop and smile and remind myself this was fiction. Or maybe I was so overjoyed that I was nearing the end of those AAs!!!!

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  10. Oh, good point, Missy. I haven't read that one yet but it's on my list. I think redemption and grace are an important part of any romance novel. I see that in ours, of course and I do see it in secular novels I read. It's part of the character's journey and it's the prize they find at the end of their quest. Oh, I just love this stuff!

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  11. Hi Lenora:

    You wrote:

    “I was tearing up. I had to stop and smile and remind myself this was fiction”.

    Now, when I tear up it’s not because the writing was effective…it’s because I wasn’t!”

    I think the best way to cure a sagging middle is to give the hero or heroine an unexpected victory that the reader will cheer…but, of course, it’s just going to cause more trouble!!!

    Vince

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  12. Good advice, Vince. A small victory or a set-back can always add value to the story at that point.

    And yes, sometimes I do cry when I think what I've written is drivel!

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  13. Lenora, I use all three books. Fantastic resources!

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  14. Thanks, Lyn. I use them a lot and love each of them. I'll list more later. :)

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