Are you hooked?

You are going to hate me for this,” Robin said as she looked at me with sadness. I had just read the first chapter to a book that had been completed a week before. Sitting in the library room with one of my writer’s group I tensed on the inside. Okay be calm, breath how back can this be?

Robin said the first two paragraphs of my first page needed to go somewhere, anywhere but where it had been placed. My hook she continued really started on paragraph three. Looking where she pointed I knew she was right, 100 percent correct. Thanking her I made the notes on the sheet.

The back story would just be moved elsewhere in the book. It is rare I delete that much words unless they don’t work anywhere else. The hook, the most important part of any story regardless of length has to be mastered. There are many books on this topic though the one I refer to most often is “Hooked” by Les Edgerton. This determines if a reader will continue with your novel or just place it down never to be picked up again. Some example of hooks:

-”The creatures came again last night.” – Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge

-”I lost all interest in sex after I died.”- Water-Skiing Down the Styx

-”When John Rochon was found dead Sunday morning on his front lawn, his neighbors were not surprised- only they had always somehow suspected his timid wife Beth would die first.”-He Had It Coming

One of my writing teachers once said if you are missing a hook at the beginning, then go through your story and find it. There is a chance you have written the hook but have placed it further into the story line. This is something we as writers can not ignore and hope it will just happen.

One of the many reasons we write is to have people read our stories and get enjoyment from them. To do that we have to make sure they get pass page one, then page two and so on until the last page has been read. As much time and effort we put into writing it does no one any good if the book remains on the shelf or worse the trash can.

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Character Development Class Finished

Eight weeks ago I signed up for a Character Development class. I had taken this instructor before and had learned a lot from him. In the short span the following was taught:

-Character Development

-Creating Real Life Characters

-Bringing a Character to Life

-Characters creating the plot

-The Villain

-The Character/Inner Life

The last two weeks we concentrated on the story that was growing by each passing session. We had a story that had been created by groups and the overall story that as individuals we were nurturing.

By the time the class ended I had a story of over 5K words. It is in a genre that I have never truly tried before which is action and drama. Well not one of this length anyway. The critiques the class gave me on the last day when I read the WIP was favorable and I will probably when there is time, feel free to laugh here, to expand it into a novel.

This class has caused me much sorry and joy. I truly had a love hate relationship with it. There would be weeks where my teacher would say “ Yes yes you nailed it.” to “No, you missed the boat this time.”

I learned that there is so much more for me to discover. Also it showed me that there are some aspects that I am getting right. In the last eight weeks I have shared with you my class notes taken each time there was a lecture. I hope some of what was shared on this blog has helped someone along the way.

Telling him I would take this class again my instructor asked why. Simple answer really. Every time a class is taken over, I am starting at a different place with a better understanding of what I am trying to accomplish. I have never worked this hard for a writing class in my life. That is a good thing, right?

By doing so I had growth in my writing.

Characters Make The Plot- Part 2

Part 2

1-Character vs Character- protagonist vs another character

2-Character vs Nature- A hiker vs the cold Yukon

3-Character vs Society- Jonas vs the norm of his community( popular in YA books)

4-Character vs Self-The character over our own fears, guilt, self-esteem etc.

5-Character vs Fate-Using the example of Stanley in the book “ Holes”. Stanley vs the family curse

One plot will take center stage and become the main plot.

Subplot- A secondary plot strand that is a supporting side story for any story or the main plot. Subplots may connect to main plots, in either time and place or in thematic significance. Subplots often involve supporting characters, those besides the hero and villain.

Situation irony- This is where the ending is the opposite of what the reader thought it would be.

One needs plot, setting and characters all threaded together to give substance to one’s story.  Some authors use multiple themes. Themes add meaning and depth to a story in fiction

There are four elements to make one’s writings complete: setting, character, plot, theme.

Put equal attention to one’s antagonist for you may flip and he soon becomes the good guy or the one that readers attach to Try to give as many problems as possible to make one’s character more developed.

A plot needs to have three elements:

1-Character Emotions-These should be seen in the first five or six sentences of the story. This creates fascination.

2-Dramatic action-This is the action that happens in a novel, screenplay, memoir, short story, or any other kind of writing that causes a character to react and thus be affected by and changed at depth over the duration of the story. This provides excitement.

3-Thematic significance-This is the deliberate step-by-step development of the underlying meaning of the overall project. This portrays the overall story meaning. When the dramatic action changes the character at depth over time, the story becomes thematically significance.

If a writer does not have all three you will lose your audience. The story will falter or get stuck.

This class is moving along pretty well. We are halfway done