Tag Archive 'plot'

Bombing Through It

Back in the nineties, before social networking or even blogs had been invented, I belonged to a chat list for published writers.  You carried on a slow conversation with like-minded people by sending e-mails to a central server, which then sent them out to all members of the list.  Tom Clancy, another list member, used […]

What Do Your Readers Know and When Do They Know It?

As any good operative can tell you, information is power.  Whether you’re dropping bombshells on your readers, teasing them with hints and suggestions, or letting them know ahead of time that disaster is approaching, you control their reactions by how and when you dole out the facts.  So how do you best wield the power […]

Tying Character Types to Plot, Suspense, and Emotion

Our guest today is Jeanne Cavelos, creator of the Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization devoted to helping developing writers of fantastic fiction improve their work. A writer, editor, scientist, and teacher, Jeanne began her professional life as an astrophysicist, working in the Astronaut Training Division at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, but […]

Everything I Need to Know About Plot, I Learned From Buffy

A couple of weeks ago, a client told me one of his beta readers had said his book read like a comic book.  I asked why that was a bad thing. Granted, you don’t want your characters to be shallow caricatures or your plot to be mechanical or contrived, which is what many people mean […]

A Matter of Time

Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end:  then stop.” It was good advice when Lewis Carol gave it in Alice in Wonderland, and it still is. When your story follows a straight timeline, it’s a lot easier to show how one event flows into the next. This makes it simpler […]

Layering: A look at Jennifer Weiner’s “Swim”

And now for something completely different.  Instead of my explaining a single idea or craft point, I’d like us to look together at a complete short story, the way we would if we were in a classroom or a critique group.  I’ll give you my take on it, but I’m eager to know yours as […]

The Cadaver Wore Text (aka the Case for Plot Dissection)

I managed to enter med school without attending a funeral or viewing a single dead person. So at age twenty, as I boarded the elevator which would take me to my first practical session in Human Anatomy, and with it my first encounter with a cadaver, I roiled with emotion. Though we didn’t speak of […]

Building a Plot of Variable Depth

Yes, you read that right, depth. There are lots of ways to describe the various moments of a plot as it develops, but I think in images, and when I think of plot, I see it in spatial terms regarding the depths of life it plumbs at different moments along the way. To me, there […]

Characters Welcome

Today’s guest is bestselling Kindle author Kathleen Shoop. Her second historical fiction novel, After the Fog, is set in 1948 Donora, Pennsylvania. The mill town’s “killing smog” was one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history, triggering clean air advocacy and eventually, the Clean Air Act. Kathleen’s debut novel, The Last Letter, sold more than 50,000 copies and garnered multiple awards in 2011, […]

Accidental Drive to Mexico

Today we feature another of our fab WU finalists for the Unpubbed Writer position. Kristan Hoffman isn’t just a terrific writer (she was a quarter-finalist for the Amazon Breatkthrough Novel Award), she’s one of our most loyal commenters (TY, Kristan!). We know you’ll enjoy her post about outlines, word counts, momentum, and writerly frustrations. _____ […]