Showing posts from May, 2016

Developing Your Story Arc

As a slush pile reader, I rejected most submissions due to an incomplete story arc rather than any other element of writing. What is a story arc? It’s the structure that the characters, world, and action of the story must fit in to. Most stories follow the traditional three-act structure: the story begins with some action to hook the reader, which introduces a problem that must be solved or a question that must be answered the tension builds, one stone upon the next, until... the climax answers the question or solves the problem Now, imagine you're building a house. You lay the foundation, but once you’ve laid it, you try to put on the roof. It won't work because nothing is there to support the roof. In a story, the writer often starts out well because they have focused so much energy on the beginning of their story. Many writers, then, skip part of the development. They add fluff that doesn’t contribute to the story, or they completely fail to provide any secon

Memoir: 6 Tips To Avoid Angry Friends and Family

Image van Geelen Writing about your life can be a tricky business.  What do you share?  What do you keep private? No matter what you decide, someone will probably be upset with you.  I've heard many writers say:  "I'm afraid of what my mother (or father, sister, brother, grandparent, friends, etc.) will say if I write the truth." There's a great scene in the movie, The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood , where the protagonist, Siddalee Walker played by Sandra Bullock, deals with her mother's angry reaction to a truthful interview. Although this is a comedy, her mother's response is exactly the one most writers fear. Experiences like the one in the movie, might leave you asking the question: How do you decide whether to write the truth or not? You have to believe that your message will help others, not just you, in being made public.  You have to be willing to face your friends and family afterward. Many people have published t

First Memories: Developing In-depth Characters

What is your first memory? I have a faint one of my mother grasping at me, reaching across my sister, in the front seat of the car.  In those days before car seat laws, I sat in the passenger seat wondering if the car door would open when the car is in motion.  It did.  My mother was turning left at a traffic light at the time. I have other memories from the next year or two, but they are hazy: Falling in the local grocery store after pitching a fit for Cracker Jacks ®   Watching Mom in the kitchen before my fourth birthday party Riding a chair lift with my Dad who was scared of heights All of these memories center around my parents.  Why?  Because my parents played a huge part in my formative years. When we develop characters for our books, those early memories might be significant. Our first years shape and form us. Knowing something about your characters' childhood adds a richness and depth to the context of the story. In one my novels (yet to be publishe

Creative DIY: Finding an Alternative to Traditional Methods

Heidi Cox Do you dream of your novel hitting the big screen? Or maybe even the little screen? In this day of do-it-yourself creativity, many opportunities exist to get your content delivered to the public.  You just have to be willing to pursue your dream. This week, rather than talk about the creative pursuit of writing, I want to give you a glimpse of someone who went after their dream, even when the traditional routes weren't working for her. Heidi Cox pursued her dream of acting in Hollywood only to discover how hard it is to get noticed in a sea of beautiful and talented people. Did she give up? Absolutely not! She formed her own production company, Dweeb Darlings , and started producing her own content. This past winter, she successfully ran an Indiegogo funding campaign that raised money for the  second season of her web series, Stalking LeVar. In addition, she, along with other like-minded women, formed the panel, Female Driven Content, a Call to Action . Focu