Monday, May 31, 2010

A Darling Blogfest, and other exciting news

Author Michelle Gregory is hosting a Share Your Darlings Blogfest on July 1st.  You know the old saying, "Kill your darlings?" Well this is a chance to resurrect those deleted scenes you just absolutely loved and your critique partners didn't, or that you voluntarily sacrificed for the sake of story structure. So sign up at her blog, Beautiful Chaos, and post your scenes on July 1st!

Also, I am a winner!!! I am so psyched.  I never win anything.  But Aubrie at Flutey Words has chosen little ol' me to receive a free copy of her book, TheVoices of Ire.  I'm really looking forward to reading it and I promise to post a review when I'm done.
A couple of coming events:  Ann Pino, author of Maelstrom, will be my guest for an interview sometime soon.  As soon as she returns from her fabulous hiking vacation.  I met Ann about a year and half ago at Come In Character, where she is known as "bunnygirl."  I've had the great pleasure of getting to know her since then.  She is a wonderful person, writes really fun flash fiction which is now available in novel form, and her characters are dynamite.  At CIC, Faldur has developed something of a crush for her attractive djinn guitarist, Kalila.  Please check out Ann's website!  The ebook is currently available, and the paperback will be released soon.

Also, I am planning to have a 100 Followers Contest after I make more progress on my book. So watch this space for developments.

Have a wonderful Memorial Day, and remember to thank everyone you meet who has served our country, not just this weekend but every day.  Freedom isn't free, and they pay the price for us.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Free Critiques, Blogfests and Awards, Oh My!

First Page Critiques

Ray Rhamey is offering free critiques of the first page (the first 16 lines) of your novel at his website, Flogging the Quill.  He is a terrific writer and editor and someone I've come to greatly respect in the online community, so please feel free to check out his website and consider taking the FTQ Challenge:  Can you craft a first page that is so compelling, even a harassed, overworked editor who is trying to clear their desk at the end of the day wants to read more of your manuscript?

I also love his book by the same title: Flogging the Quill: Crafting a Novel that Sells.  I highly recommend it as a resource on the craft of writing for anyone seeking publication.  It's very readable and immediately applicable.  Certain things "clicked" for me when I read Ray's book that just hadn't made the connection before. Special features include the large, workbook-style format, exercises to do yourself (include sample passages to critique) and funny cartoons illustrating key points.

Also, speaking of critiques, my re-re-re-revised first scene should be appearing at *Fiction Groupie* sometime soon.

Blogfests - Feeding the Addiction

There are quite a few blogfests happening in June and July. 

Dream Sequence Blogfest hosted by Amalia T. at  on June 4th
Beach Scene Blogfest hosted by Rachel Bateman on June 5th
Bad Boy Blogfest hosted by Tina Lynn at Sweet Niblets on June 20th
and the
Scene of Death Blogfest hosted by Tessa at Tessa's Blurb on July 18th

For a complete list of summer blogfest fun, checkout the Write Runner's master blogfest list.

I can't believe this incredible group of supportive writers and friends I've met in the past couple of years. The writing/blogging community is truly an amazing thing.

Many thanks to Christine Danek for the Journey Support Award. (I wish we were at the beach right now, Christine. It's 80 in the shade and getting hotter.)  You are a lovely person, so full of enthusiasm, and I look forward to seeing your journey unfold.  Besides, we Christine's gotta stick together.

Thanks also to Laurel  at Laurel's Leaves for the Beautiful Blogger Award.  Your blog is also beautiful, with very thought-provoking posts. I'm so glad we've met!  Your two posts on overwriting are in the "Useful Resources" list on the sidebar.

I have been spending waaaaayyyy too much time blogging the past couple of weeks.  I need to really get cracking on my revisions if I'm going to finish by the end of July.

So, although I do plan to participate in the upcoming blogfests, if you see me online goofing off, I give you permission to say, "Hey Christine, get back to work!"

Clipart courtesy of

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mental Cheez

There once was a writer who tried
A novel too deep and too wide
The inciting instance
Got mixed up with romance
And her brain felt like Cheez Whiz inside

I posted this ten days ago, and I still feel like mental Cheez Whiz.

That's what I get for letting Marenya go all playful.  Now she's kissing Faldur's friend in the corner and I don't know what to do about it.

Anyone got any fries for my cheez brain?

The following scene will most likely be cut from the novel, but it's fun so I'm putting it up anyway:
“Aden fath, Marenya,” said a deep-timbred voice behind her. She turned to see Harth gazing at her with an appreciative grin, his hands clasped behind his back.

She returned the traditional greeting warmly. “Aden fath. It’s wonderful to see you again.”

“And you. You took my breath away a moment ago. I've never seen you looking lovelier.”

She bowed her head in acknowledgement of the compliment. She didn’t see Faldur, but didn’t want to appear rude by asking for him, as if Harth’s company were insufficient.

“I’m sorry we are so late arriving.”

“Is the Captain with you, then?”

“He is, but he had to clean himself up first. You know what messes he gets into.” He glanced piously toward the ceiling. “I'm constantly getting him out of scrapes.”

“I’m sure he relies on you greatly.”

“Yes,” said Harth mysteriously, “I even saved his life tonight, not that he thanked me for it.”

A patter of panic began in her chest. “What happened? Is he alright?”

“Oh, perfectly!” He looked as if he realized that he had gone too far. “You know how I exaggerate.”

“But what happened?

“Ah! That I can’t say.” He assumed a grave expression. “All of our work is very important and secret, as you know. It would be more than my life is worth to divulge it.”

She laughed a little, and the patter in her chest quieted. Harth was prone to exaggeration. “Since he isn’t here, would you dance with me?”

He sighed dramatically. “Unfortunately, I cannot. Captain’s orders.”

“He didn’t!”

“I’m afraid he did. ‘Hands off,’ he said. You would think he didn’t trust me.”

Marenya wasn’t sure whether to be flattered or offended. Harth was the most incorrigible flirt, but surely she was old enough to decide that for herself.

“However–.” He looked around to see if anyone was watching them, then leaned closer and murmured in her ear,“He said nothing about my lips. So if you would care to stroll outside with me, I promise to keep my hands behind my back the entire time.”

The peal of laughter that escaped Marenya at this suggestion was so loud that it drew several surprised looks from those around them. Harth drew back, looking so offended she thought perhaps he had been serious.

“Please forgive me.” She had half a mind to call his bluff. “I’m not accustomed to being made love to.”

“Of course. I forgive you.” He raised his eyebrows invitingly. “All the more reason to accept my offer.”

She cocked her head. “And what if I did?”

“Then I should call myself privileged indeed.”

She considered. “Faldur really told you to keep your hands off me, did he?”

Harth nodded.

“And did you save his life?”

“I did.”

She shivered slightly at the thought of them being in mortal danger. “Then he owes you a debt, and I shall repay it for him. If he finds out, you can send him to me for an explanation.”

Harth looked towards the door. “He won’t find out if we go now.”

With reckless haste, they hurried to the entryway. A group of Hanorja were talking together and did not notice them. Harth put a finger to his lips and led the way into the frosty courtyard, breaking his promise by putting a hand out to steady Marneya when she slid in the snow. When they had turned the corner, he led her to a sheltered spot, put his hands behind his back again, leaned in and kissed her thoroughly. It was exciting, and an entirely new experience for her, but no spark of passion ignited in her breast, nor seemed to have been kindled in his.

Which was just as well, but a little – just a little – disappointing.

Harth laughed, pulling away at last. “This really is difficult when I can’t put my arms around you properly. Curse Faldur!”

“What will you do if he catches us?”

“Remind him that he owes me a debt.” He suddenly dropped his playful tone. “Marenya, Faldur is my Captain and my friend, and my brother in every way that matters. I would lay down my life for his at any moment. So what I am about to say, I say with the deepest love and loyalty.

"I hope you won’t wait for him too long. He has the quickest mind and sharpest reflexes of anyone in the kingdom, but he is an absolute ass when it comes to hawen.” She opened her mouth to protest. “No, let me speak. He is wedded to his duty and I doubt he will ever love anything – or anyone – half as much. You deserve to be properly worshiped, and made love to as often as possible.”

She looked down at her hands, absorbing this.

“Don’t hate me for speaking the truth," he said gently. "I hate seeing you unhappy.”

She took a deep breath and met his gaze squarely. "Do I look unhappy?"

"You look radiant."

"You are wrong about him. I will prove it. But thank you for your kindness. Er m'uhl brin hanor."

"No, you honor me." He kissed her nose playfully, and looked over his shoulder. "Let's go inside before anyone catches us. I don't mind facing Faldur down, but your uncle is a different story."

Monday, May 24, 2010

What Makes You Care?

We all hear that in order to capture our readers' interest, we have to make them care about our main character on the first page.  But caring is a very subjective concept.  We all have different ways of connecting. A detail that grabs one person's attention may be completely meaningless to someone else.

It seems that gender is a factor, too.  Women seem to need more of an emotional connection, while men might be drawn into an exciting situation without knowing anything about the characters.

One of my pet peeves as a reader is the assumption that just because someone is in danger, I care about them.  I don't. For all I know, they deserve to be in danger.  Perhaps that woman being stalked in the parking garage at night is just too stupid to live.  Perhaps she's actually the villain and her victim is seeking revenge.

Even if neither of those premises is true, I still need to care about her somehow.

What do you think is the key to making readers care?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Logline Blogfest

Thanks to Bryan at the Time Guardian blog for this blogfest on what is probably one of the most difficult tasks for any novelist: a one-sentence summary of the plot.

How in heck do you put a 100,000 words into one sentence and still make it interesting and different from everyone else's? Ah, the eternal question!

So, here is my best attempt for my work in progress, The Golden Gryphon.

A duty-driven Ranger and an appealing young maiden conspire to stop a charismatic prince from murdering his older brother and invading their homeland with an army of battle-trained lions and magically animated rock men.

Here's a second version:

Faldur, a duty-driven Ranger, and Marenya, an appealing young maiden, combine their talents to stop a  magically gifted prince from murdering their friend - his own brother and the heir to throne - and taking over the kingdom with his army of trained lions and soldiers created from animated rocks.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Writer's OCD

I am over the moon tonight, and it's not just the double cappuchino. My local writer's group met and I read them the first few pages of the nth version of my first chapter.

(We meet in a coffee shop, and to show my appreciation to the shop I always get a cappuchino and something to eat. I want them to like us and let us keep meeting there. So, you see, I had to have the cappuchino.)

Anyway, some of these poor captive listeners had heard or read previous versions. They liked the current one. They really liked it. Even the ones who don't read fantasy.

I am SO relieved. It would be nice to get on with the book, and my life. I have spent, literally, about a year writing and rewriting the first few chapters. I'll get to a certain point, and then go back and rewrite again.

You know what I'm talking about.

That constant questioning, the insecurity. Do I have a hook? Am I at the right point to begin? Do I introduce the main conflict on the first page? Is there enough description of the setting and the main character? Is there too much description of the setting and/or main character? Do I raise enough story questions to keep the reader interested?

Will they turn the page?

Or do you, my blog readers and fellow writers, not agonize about these things? Do you just write from your heart and your instincts? Do you outline like a busy little outlining bee? Do you write backwards from the ending? Or are you just as obsessed as I am?

Please tell me I'm not the only one with writer's OCD.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fantastic Worlds and Armies

I must say that I was a little disappointed when I found out that the popular writing book The Art of War for Writers wasn't actually about warfare and effective battle scenes. Because I need some help in that area.

I found some great articles on not just medieval warfare, but many other aspects of speculative fiction such as dialogue, world-building, and naming characters at The one I needed this morning is called "The Numberless Hordes."

Does anyone else have any other good resources to share?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Let's Talk Blogfest

Roni at *Fiction Groupie*  is hosting the "Let's Talk" blogfest today.  She suggested we post a short excerpt of sparkly dialogue.  My WIP doesn't have a lot of sparkly chat, but there is one scene involving a mischievous younger brother who can't resist teasing his sister about her upcoming nuptials.

(Note: I posted this back in March but I don't think too many people saw it, so I'm hoping you don't mind my posting it again.)

When they had eaten, Gorrith announced, “I have composed a song.  Would you like to hear it?”

“No!” cried Pelwyn.

“Yes!” said everyone else.

Gorrith stood up from where he had been lounging on the grass, clasped his hands behind his back and began to sing in a clear, pleasant voice.

We’re going to Tor Aden
It grieves my heart to tell
That Melbrinor put Pelwyn
Underneath his spell

They’re going to be married
Now toll the wedding bells
For Melbrinor and Pelwyn
Will soon be wed “Pell-Mell”

He made a deep bow and everyone laughed, even Pelwyn. “When I am Queen, you won’t dare tease me.”

“When you are Queen, you will need teasing more than ever.”

“You would make an excellent minstrel,” said Marenya.  “You would do well to get paid for your nonsense.”

“I would take payment now, my lady,” said Gorrith.

“All I have is this piece of cake.”

“That will do nicely.”

She handed it to him and he sat down again and proceeded to pick out the currents, leaving the cake.

“You’re ruining it!” said Marenya.

“No, I am merely taking the currency from it as my payment.”  He grinned, and all she could do was shake her head at him.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Romance at Barnes and Noble

Yesterday evening I stopped at Barnes and Noble for a cappuchino and a good browse. Let me first say that Starbuck's is pretty much the only thing I really like about B&N. Nothing against the chain, I just hate bookstores in general. Walking in there, seeing thousands of unsold glossy covers with names I've never heard of printed on the spines, makes me want to turn around and walk right out again.

Hence a hefty dose of fortifying caffeine before daring to peruse the shelves.

My purpose was twofold: read some first pages and see what kinds of openings are getting published, and try to find some novels comparable to mine, so that I can see where it fits into the market. I didn't have much time, however, so I had to be quick.

After downing my cappuchino,
(Are they sure that's a "tall?" 'Cuz it didn't look very tall to me. And there wasn't much espresso hiding under that foam. I mean, for four dollars, the least they could do is, you know, put some coffee in it)
I started looking over the shelves. First I got distracted in the literary fiction section, and wished I could buy some of the titles there. Lovely writing with lovely premises. Anyway, then I went to the Fantasy section, since that's what I'm writing. But I had to pass by Romance first, and so I paused to read the first and/or middle pages of several books there. Romance isn't what it used to be, I guess. More gutsy, less hand-holding and sighing.

Then I looked at the Fantasy section, and quickly came to the conclusion I had been fearing. Very little of it is even remotely like what I'm writing, although I found some more books I wished I could purchase.

What has become apparent to me is that my story, although set in a fantasy world, isn't really "fantasy" as the market defines it. It's Romance.


Despite the fact that I really, really, really do not want to be known as a romance writer (like, gag me with a spoon), this could be a good thing. Because I have noticed that many popular agents state that they don't accept fantasy. And there seems to be a huge market for romantic fiction these days. As well, accepting a "Romance" label would take some of the pressure off of me to try to make the story more appealing to guys.

(I just *sob* you know. Wanted to be 'cool.' For once in my life, I just want to be, you know, not girly but...Cool.)

So it might be okay. If I can get over that whole 'not cool' thing. I mean, and I hope nobody takes offense at this, but if I EVER am compared to Stephanie Meyer I will jump off a bridge. Seriously.

What I really think my genre is, is "Romantic Adventure." If it was a movie, that's what it would be. Like "The Princess Bride" or "Ivanhoe" or "Zorro" or "Journey to the Center of the Earth" or "The Last of the Mohicans." But those are movies, not books. There is no "Romantic Adventure" section in Barnes and Noble.

There was, however, an entire table labeled "Vampires."

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Just Can't Get Into It

There once was a writer who tried
A novel too deep and too wide
The inciting instance
Got mixed up with romance
And her brain felt like Cheez Whiz inside

See what I mean? I can't even write a decent limerick today.

Do you ever feel like it's just not working and you have no clue what to do? I have three main problems.

1. A point-of-view shift from one character to another (Faldur to Marenya) around Chapter 3. The story needs to be told from both of their perspectives, since they each witness part of the action. Their relationship also drives the plot, so it's important to know what they are both thinking and feeling. But maintaining a good balance between the two, so readers maintain interest in both characters, is difficult. I need to introduce her POV sooner, but the way I've done it isn't working.

2. A plot that is just to complicated. I've never had such a complex imaginary world, and I just can't seem to get the right amount of info on the page. It's either too much or too little, or too soon. Can you hear the sound of my hair ripping from my scalp as I pull it?

3. The first chapter. I have spent way, way, way too much time on it already, but I have joined two different crit groups recently and need to give them material. I need the feedback, but it's hard to go back and redo the first chapters when my mind is somewhere around Chapter 18. I don't want to waste their time, however, by just giving them the old versions as I have already gotten feedback on things that need improving.

I just want to find a mountain cabin and hide there until the book is done. Six weeks should do it.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Internal Conflict Blogfest

I'm a little late to the party.  It's been a very busy week, but the semester is DONE!!!  Yippee!!!  I'm just waiting for the last straggler to take their make-up exam and I can turn in final grades.

Meanwhile, here is my entry for the Internal Conflict Blogfest hosted by Alliterative Allomorph.  (I'm still kind of fuzzy on what an Allomorph is, so if anyone can explain it to me I'd be grateful.)

Faldur sat in the corner of Strider’s stall with his head in his hands. The dory butted his horns against Faldur’s shoulder, wanting attention, but Faldur shoved him away. How could this have happened? Marenya, whom he had guarded so diligently, needed guarding from himself.

He would never forget when they brought Firn’s body into the post, wrapped in his Ranger’s cloak, the blood seeping through the fabric. They told him not to look, but Faldur needed to see exactly what the nightstalker had done. It wasn't pleasant, but the older haman looked peaceful and his face was mostly untouched. For that, at least, Faldur was grateful. It meant that Erinor could say good-bye to him.

Marenya hadn’t cried at the funeral. She was just a slender whip of a lass then, more than a child but not yet a hawin. She had stood silently beside her mother, watching the proceedings with solemn eyes. Erinor maintained her composure almost to the end, but broke into sobs as her husband was placed into the ground, pressing her hands against her mouth as if she could somehow hold in her grief. Marenya’s mouth twisted with anguish as she tried to comfort her mother. Firn had died saving someone else’s child, and left his own family fatherless.

It was then, at that moment, that Faldur had determined never to marry. He was a Ranger until he died, but he wouldn’t be a father or a husband. He wouldn’t cause anyone that kind of sorrow for his sake.

Especially not Marenya.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Nurturing Creativity

My sister sent me the link to this absolutely fantastic talk by author Elizabeth Gilbert.

I love the way that she says that the pressure of expecting a mere, single human being to be a font of creative genius is "like asking someone to swallow the sun," and that perhaps we need to try to overcome centuries of humanistic theory about the source of creative inspiration.

I also love the comparison of one's muse to Dobby the House Elf, lurking in the walls and suddenly jumping out at you. Not just because it's such an apt metaphor, but because it's such a pertinent example of how one person's faithfulness to their muse can create a whole new aspect of a culture. (That is a reference to Harry Potter, for those of you unfamiliar with J. K. Rowling's work.)

If I have a muse (or damon or genius or whatever you want to call it) it probably looks like a panther, staring me down with its yellow eyes, telepathing "Would you get off of Blogger and start writing already?"

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Primal Scream Blogfest

Oh my, another blogfest.  Yikes!  I mean, literally, "Yikes!" because you're supposed to post your scariest scene.  Hmmm.  That requires a little thought, because I don't write much scary stuff.  For the full blogfest link, click HERE.

I'm not posting anything from my novel, because I think I've put up too many spoilers as it is and I would really like to publish it some day. So here is an excerpt from a mystery story I wrote years ago, about a couple of newlyweds who witness the apparently accidental death of a rich, irritating old man while on vacation in Mexico.


Marianne hurried down the hallway, which was actually a wide, concrete balcony that went all the way around the building. Their room faced east and she could see the glow of the sun starting to set on the western side as she rounded the corner to the elevator. She thought she would just pop around for a moment to see it. It wouldn’t hurt Peter to cool his heels for sixty seconds longer.

She was in time. The red ball of the sun was just dipping towards the horizon. There were no clouds to diffuse the light, just a brilliant, red orb falling into the water as straight as a coin dropping into a bank. She leaned against the balcony wall next to one of the huge pillars, breathing deeply of the evening air and listening to the fountain tinkling in the palm courtyard below. She rehearsed her apology, hoping this spat wouldn’t ruin their entire evening. I really don’t hate him, she thought. He drives me crazy, but he loves me. We just need time to iron out the kinks.

She heard footsteps coming along the corridor and thought for a moment that it might be Peter. She looked around the pillar and saw Peggy Harris. Marianne opened her mouth to speak to her, but stopped. The woman’s face was hard, brittle. Resentment poured out of her and seemed to foul the air. There was something more. Hatred. The triumph of hatred.

Marianne felt her heart shrink within her. In that moment she knew that Harris’s fall had been no accident. It would have been so easy for Peggy to talk him into posing for a picture near the edge of the cliff and then give him a little push. Rita had said that they had been here before and knew the tourist sites well. Peggy Harris had probably been planning this for years, waiting for just the right moment. Marianne realized that in her heart she was almost as guilty as Peggy, desiring the death of a cranky old man.

Mrs. Harris had not yet seen her, having stopped a short distance away to stare at the sunset. Marianne longed to step back behind the pillar, which was large enough to conceal her, but was afraid to move lest her sandals make any noise on the tiled floor. All she has to do is turn her head and she’ll see me. She felt like a rabbit caught in an open field.

Marianne had just made up her mind to say hello as naturally as possible and act like she had only just noticed Peggy standing there, when she heard footsteps behind her. She hoped the person would come around the corner and interrupt them, but instead the footsteps stopped. They’re probably looking at the view, or waiting for someone. Oh God, please make them come around the corner! Then someone else approached the balcony from the opposite direction. Peggy turned to see who it was, and Marianne stepped back behind the pillar, grateful for the other person’s footsteps to mask her own.

“Here you are,” said a man’s voice. It was Jerry Smith. He sounded tense, not like his jovial self. “How are you doing?”

“Not good,” said Mrs. Harris. Marianne was shocked to hear the fragile tremor in the woman’s voice. “It’s worse than I thought.” She started to cry small, gasping sobs, and Marianne heard a rustle of clothing as Jerry embraced her. She could picture Peggy resting her head on his chest, playing on all his masculine emotions. Good God, thought Marianne, this woman is an artist! She has manipulated us all.

“It’s over now,” Jerry said soothingly. “It’s all over. There was no other way.” He sighed deeply. “It’s all for the best.” Marianne’s mind was racing. Jerry had helped her. He was part of it. Poor Rita! Her own brother. Had Robin known? Was that why he had stared so blankly out the bus window? Had his treatment of his wife been fueled by her infidelity? Her heart was suddenly filled with pity for him.

“Come on now,” Jerry was saying, “let’s go down to dinner.”

“I can’t. I can’t possibly eat.”

“It’s important. You have to be seen, to be in mourning. You don’t have to eat anything, just put in an appearance.”

“Allright,” she said bravely. They started to walk, and with horror Marianne realized that their footsteps were heading towards her. In a second they would know that their entire conversation had been overheard. She flattened herself against the pillar, hoping that they wouldn’t notice her. If they did, would Jerry give her a little push over the balcony? The blood pounded in her veins as she thought of the terracotta tiles far below her, and how her body would look splayed beside the fountain.

Just then Peter appeared around the corner. “Oh, hello, Mrs. Harris." His voice was deep and sympathetic. "I’m so sorry about what happened to your husband. It must be horrible for you. Especially being so far from home.”

Peggy groped for words. “Thank you.” Jerry guided her past Peter and they disappeared around the corner. They never noticed Marianne.

Marianne flew to Peter and wrapped her arms around him, pressing her face against his sweaty shirt. He gripped her just as fiercely. “Were you standing there the whole time?” she whispered.

“Yes,” he replied hoarsely. “I heard the whole thing. I saw you standing there, and I wanted to apologize but I was waiting for you to turn around.”

“I’m so sorry for what I said,” Marianne replied. “You were absolutely right.”

He pressed his face against her hair. “I’m sorry too.”

Monday, May 3, 2010

Don't Get Fooled

Being a novice writer whose degree is not in English, literature, or any kind of writing, I struggle a bit with plotting. The whole three-act structure is kind of a mystery to me. It seems like something that you impose after reading a story, not something you can really plan ahead of time without seeming boring and formulaic. As in, "I must have a first act, so this is it, and here is the second act, and look at this nice climax I've added, and don't you just love what I've done with the denouement, Darling?"

I took French, so I can pronounce that correctly - "DAY-new-montt."

I remember in high school classes how we would analyze all these books and write five paragraph essays about them. And then I had to write a term paper comparing and contrasting three novels of the same genre. Again, with three main points, each one explained by its own mini-five paragraph essay.  Surprise - I picked the Lord of The Rings, Out of the Silent Planet and Earthsea. It was horrible digging up all the points I needed and putting them in the correct logical order, even though they were all great books to read and research.

I think that writing a three-act novel would be about as exciting as writing that term paper. So I'm just writing it, and I'll let the future American Lit students figure it out for me.

But, I had a revelation last week when I stumbled across this article at Hook vs. First Plot Point - Don't Get Fooled.

I think that I've been trying to make my first plot point my hook, and I need to go back to what I was doing and allow some buildup.

How are you handling the whole "hook" issue? How are you getting your readers hooked on your story, and how much do you reveal about the actual plot in the first few pages?  How much do you think you need to reveal to hold your readers' interest?

P.S. for more info on story structure, look here and here.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Last Line Blogfest

Thanks to Lilah Pierce for this blogfest!  Interesting concept. 

I decided to contribute one of my chapter endings from my WIP.

He felt splintered, scattered; he was flying up in the air in a thousand different pieces; he was falling to earth like the embers of a spent firework; he was gone into a womb of quiet darkness.

He was gone.