Sunday, September 30, 2012

What Does Kathy Write?

Someone asked recently about what sort of writing a do and wanted to know what kind of books I write.

I write Dark Suspense, which may include Suspense, Thrillers, and/or Horror, with or without paranormal elements.

Dark Suspense is what I enjoy reading and writing.

Some of my favorite Dark Suspense authors would be Alexandra Sokoloff, Dean Koontz, and Stephen King. (A writer gal can aspire BIG, can she not?)

Currently, I am writing a series set in East Tennessee that includes the upper East Tennessee mountain area, as well as covert activities in the Secret City of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The five-book series is based on children able to control the elements (wind, earth, fire, and water, as well as the the less mentioned element, the void).

The first book features a doubting techo-geek yanked into a real-life conspiracy, a little girl who is kidnapped and goes from happy-go-lucky to destroyer, and a villain set on using the children as weapons of mass destruction and taking down the government while she's at it. (Oh my, these characters are fun to write!)

If all goes as intended and planned, the books will be as enjoyable to read as they are to write, which is what I'm working hard to accomplish.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

And Now We Pause....

After working excessive hours for too many years, then diving into writing full-time with much enthusiasm, health issues have brought me to a standstill.

Here I sit, after a medical procedure that derailed my focus and concentration and not feeling well enough to write, yet I still tend to be writing in my head.

I contemplate what's going to happen next in my story once I'm able to regain focus and momentum. What am I going to write? What's next?

Soon.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Time to Write, A Time to Rest

I so love every part of the writing process, from plotting and characterization to fast drafting to revising and editing.

Yet, because of a medical procedure that was much more physically, mentally, and emotionally taxing than I could have ever imagined or predicted, I am weary to the bone.

Because of aspects of the procedure and statements the doctor made, I am deep down soul weary, so much so that the concern about the results of the procedure and the aftermath of the procedure make concentrating and focusing extremely difficult.

So, despite my enthusiasm about and my desire to work the revision of Book #1 and fast draft Book #2, I have not worked at writing during the last couple of days.

I guess we all take time off from our jobs once in a while, so I suppose I am taking a few days off in search of wellness and peace of mind and writing focus.

Soon, I will write.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Shuffling the Puzzle Pieces

The closest comparison I can come to the revision process for Book #1, Series #1, is to working with puzzle pieces.

For this comparison, please consider a scene of the story to equal one piece of a jigsaw puzzle.

Right now, I am trimming the pieces of my puzzle, going from 86 pieces to approximately 60 pieces, by combining and tightening several scenes.

Also, I will be shifting pieces of the puzzle around, relocating scenes, so that my finished puzzle will look somewhat different than my first attempt at putting the puzzle together.

A challenge, but a fun learning experience never-the-less, with my goal being to shuffle the puzzle pieces so that I end up with a more powerful, more strongly constructed puzzle.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Revision Plan

Revision Plan is just that. A plan to revise.

The four-page Critique Report from Cathy Yardley was an eye-opening, bang-up guide on how to tighten and strengthen the shape and focus of the story.

The comments within the manuscript are as valuable as flecks of gold to me.


My initial Revision Plan is simple:
  • Tweak and rearrange index cards
  • Limit Point of View to three (3) characters only
  • Write a few new scenes
  • Flesh out some existing scenes
 Current Goals:
  • Redo Goal, Motivation, Conflict, Disaster (GMCD) Table
  • Send Updated GMCD Table to Cathy for feedback
Additional Goals:
  • Complete GMCs and GMCDs for Book #2
  • Submit Info for Book #2 to Cathy
 Time-Frame:
  • Reorganize scenes in the next week
  • Submit GMCD Table for Book #1 by October 1st
  • Submit GMC/GMCD Info for Book #2 by October 5th
Onward! (Thanks to Rock Your Writing's Cathy Yardley!)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Time for a Pleasant Pause

The potential edits for Book #1, Series #1, resulting from the Developmental Edit that I received from Cathy Yardley's Rock Your Revisions critique, may affect the direction of Book #2; therefore, I am putting the Fast Drafting of Book #2 on hold for a couple of days.

I am reviewing the Developmental Edit -- what an awesome tool -- and will speak with Cathy Yardley tomorrow for more detailed guidance involving a Revision Plan for Book #1.

The Development Edit is quite an eye opener because Cathy points out issues that because I was too close to story I didn't see.

So, for today, I review the Critique Report and the comments Cathy made within the manuscript. It's a rainy day here, so I think a cup of hot chocolate and a relaxing pause while I review is most definitely in order.

What a Developmental Edit Is and Is Not

A Developmental Edit is a high level critique that does not include:
- Page-by-page edit
- Line-by-line edit
- Phraseology feedback

What a Developmental Edit is is a critique regarding:
- Plot Issues
- Pacing
- Information Sharing and Open Loops
- Point of View
- Voice

Foremost, a Developmental Edit is a learning experience and an opportunity to make my book more powerful and hopefully a great start to a series.

Thank you, Cathy Yardley of Rock Your Revisions fame. Your Developmental Edit rocks!

Next, a Revision Plan!

Monday, September 17, 2012

By the Light of the Moon

In keeping track of how much I produce when, I am discovering that evening and nights are most prolific, productive writing times.

Yesterday I wrote 3,000+ words, a majority of those words, minus 600 or so, were written between 6:00 pm and 11:00 pm, with a one-hour break for dinner.

Perhaps I could consider my days, mine and my family's, while evening hours will be set aside for writing, with a power nap in between. Or I could take a break as evening approaches, power nap, and visualize the upcoming scene(s), THEN write.

Oh, yeah, this night owl gal likes the idea of writing by the light of the moon. Arrooooo!

Yesterday's Progress Status - 9/16/12

Yesterday, I focused on writing three (3) scenes. Two (2) scenes are drafted, with the beginning of one (1) scene written.

With five (5) out of 75 (seventy-five) scenes drafted, seventy (70) scenes remain to be written.

For a goal of 75,000 words, with 6,633 words written so far, the First Draft, of Book #2 of Series #1 is 9% complete.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Today's Progress Status - 9/15/12

The Inciting Incident started the story rolling. The two following scenes are strong and move the story forward at a good pace.

With three (3) out of 75 (seventy-five) scenes drafted, seventy-two (72) scenes remain to be written.

For a goal of 75,000 words, with 3,630 words written today, the First Draft, of Book #2 of Series #1 is 5% complete.

Scene By Scene

Although I track my daily writing progress by word count, I write by scene. (Which leads me to question why I track by word count instead of number of completed scenes. Hmm. Perhaps because the tracking App that I use tracks by logging in word count. Something to think about and consider.)

For Book #2, Series #1, there are seventy-five (75) total scenes planned.

My goal is to write three (3) scenes per day, every day, with the intention of banking extra scenes along the way just in case something comes up and which is more than likely inevitable, to derail my writing for a day.

With the Goal, Motivation, Conflict, and Disaster (GMCD) noted for each scene, subject to change of course, I focus on the one single scene before me.

For Book #1, Scene #, I addressed the GMCD for each scene just prior to the scene without pre-planning, which in looking back tended to slow down my writing; therefore, this time around I have constructed the GMCD for each scene in advance, so that all that remains in front of me is the fast drafting of the actual scene.

Whose scene is it? Who is the Point of View (POV) character? Keeping in mind the GMCD for the scene, what would that POV character do? What happens then?

For me, the First Draft is diving in and telling of the story, scene by scene.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Project Status and Goals

Project Status:
  • September 10th - Book #1 in for Developmental Editing
  • September 11th - Rock Your Plot Workbook for Book #2
  • September 12th - Index Cards for Scenes and Sorted
  • September 13th - One-Line Scene Descriptions
  • September 14th - GMCD for Each Scene
  • September 15th - First Draft Begins 
 Short-Term Goals:
  • 3 Scenes Written per Day
  • 20+ Scenes Written per Week
  • First Draft Complete by October 15th 
Mid-Term Goals:
  • Book #3 First Draft Complete by November 15th
  • Book #4 First Draft Complete by December 15th
  • Book #5 First Draft Complete by January 15th
 Long-Term Goals:
  • Finalize Majority of Series by End of 2012
  • Publish Majority of Series on Amazon prior to December 25, 2012
  • Publish Rest of Series on Amazon in January/February 2012
  • Begin Series #2 January 2012
  • Reassess Goals January 2012

No Goal, No Scene (GMCD in Action)

From the photo, you can see that my scenes are depicted by different colored index cards for each point of view (POV) character in the story. (Notecarding can be fun and Index Cards can be your friends!)

The cards are laid out in order of occurrence by character (or color), which leads to the next step of placing them in the main character's storyline, so that I end up with a blend of colored cards that depict a forward-moving story.

Once the cards in order, my next step is to figure out the character's GOAL for the scene.

For the first scene, which is also the Inciting Incident, the main character, Junior, is going about getting himself recaptured by the bad guys, on purpose, so that he can help his friend that's already been recaptured; therefore, Junior's goal IS to get get recaptured.  It's that simple.

For each scene, I look at, "What is the character's MOTIVATION for wanting what he or she wants?"

Junior's friend has been recaptured, and he was unable to prevent the friend being taken. He cares about the friend. His deepest need is to belong, so he considers this friend to be part of his family. That's his motivation for wanting to get recaptured. Again, simple.

So, what CONFLICT is preventing him from getting recaptured? Who or what is standing in his/her way of getting what he wants?

The captors certainly aren't expecting Junior to walk up and turn himself over to them, so Junior must get their attention, then things go wrong with his attempts to get their attention.

The DISASTER at the end of the scene answers the question of whether the character achieved or reached his goal.

Did Junior get himself recaptured?

Yes, however, Junior is injured, and because he's been recaptured we know that bad things are in store for him.

There you have the Goal, Motivation, Conflict, and Disaster (GMCD) for the Inciting Incident and also the first scene of Book #2, Series #1.

Without a character's GMCD within the scene, a scene, at least in the genres I write, doesn't serve a purpose, so without the GMCD follow-through for each scene, there is no scene.

So, with seventy plus (70+) scenes to go, I'm off to learn my GMCDs.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Inciting Incident - I'd Say

Bullet, the wire-haired dachshund, was visiting while I worked on Notecarding the scenes of Book #2, Series #1. With his oh-so-innocent face near the Inciting Incident index card on the lap desk, as if the card were a caption for his personality or depicting his near-future actions, I couldn't resist snapping a picture.

Yes, Bullet is an Inciting Incident unto himself. He charges nose-first into everything. Look out world, here he comes!

But, what exactly is an Inciting Incident in writing?

Basically, the Inciting Incident is when something happens that sets the story in motion.

For Book #2, Series #1, the Main Character intentionally gets himself recaptured. How's that for a kick-start for a story?

Notecarding Fun!

Author Holly Lisle has a great explanation of the Notecarding process and does an awesome job of describing the process I use.

One thing that I have added to Ms. Lisle's technique is that I color-code the index cards by Point of Views (POVs), so that I can get a better visual of the scene layout, as follows:

- White: Main Plot Points (Main Character's POV)
- Light Green: Junior (Main Character)
- Light Blue: Character A
- Light Orange: Character B
- Light Yellow: Character C
- Light Purple: Character D
- Light Pink: Character E

Most of my scenes average between 1,000 and 2,000 words, with the overall novel running at a minimum of 60,000 to 70,000 words, which means, using 1,000 words as my baseline, I will have a total of 60 to 70 scenes.

Since I have a general idea of where the story needs to go (my main plot points are in place, thanks to Rock Your Plot), I start brainstorming and writing down one sentence descriptions of scenes. Anything goes. I will discard some, use most. Bottom line, I am storytelling in a simple, straightforward way.

So, I'm off to play with Index Cards, because they are my friends, and have me some Notecarding Fun!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Then What Happens?

With the major plot points worked out for Book #2, Series #1, thanks to Cathy Yardley's Rock Your Plot, I have the basic framework of the story before me.

For the eight major plot points, I have eight scenes already planned, with their Goal, Motivation, Conflict, and Disaster depicted.

The novel will have, at a minimum, 60 scenes, so I now have 52 scenes that need to be placed on my Index Card or MS Word Table road map. (More than likely both!)

I look at Scene #1, the Inciting Incident, then ask myself, "Then what happens?"

I do this until I get to Plot Point #1, then repeat.

As I explained to a writer friend who's considers herself a Pantser, which is someone who writes without a plotted course, and says she just "lets the book come out," the Rock Your Plot method is not a fill-in-the-blank formula.

Writer friend writes quite a bit of material that she discards, but claims that her overall writing is better because of the twists and turns the direction of her writing takes, as she finds her way through the story. The Pantser process works for her.

For me, having some sort of direction tends to keep me on the road, headed in a forward direction, with an idea as to where the road/story is headed next. Writer friend says that I'm a Plotter, because I plot out the scenes of my books ahead of time.

Either way, I'm glad us Plotters and Pantsers can get along and encourage and support each other.

So now, back to my list of Plot Points and Scenes. What's next? THEN what happens?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Rock Your Plot Workbook & Everlasting Treats

As a supplement to Rock Your Plot, Cathy Yardley provides a free download of her Rock Your Plot Workbook on her Rock Your Writing website.

So today, while Hubby reads a book and continues to recover from foot surgery and Bullet, the wire-haired dachshund, plays with his Everlasting Treat Ball (thanks for the suggestion, Cathy), I am re-reading Rock Your Plot on Kindle and working through the workbook for Book #2 of Series #1.

Ah, blessed quiet. And focus.

In a couple of hours, I'm close to completing the steps in the workbook. Two hours! That's amazing to me. (Again, thank you Cathy!)

Next, out come the index cards.

So, while Hubby enjoys reading and the puppy his everlasting treat, I will enjoy doing what I have wanted to do for as long as I can remember. I will write.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Expect, Plan, Prepare

The manuscript for Book #1, Series #1 has been submitted for developmental editing. I'm experiencing excitement and expectation, topped with nervousness and uneasiness.

This will be my first experience with this sort of feedback. From Cathy Yardley's Rock Your Writing website, this is my limited knowledge of a full manuscript or developmental edit: "I will analyze how your plot is working, and check if your characters are built with believable motivations to match the story you’ve got. I’ll also  recommend fixes for any story issues I see cropping up."

The edit is scheduled to be completed in a couple of weeks; therefore, I will be better able to blog about what a full manuscript or developmental edit is or is not in a few weeks.

In the meantime, I will not be sitting with my hands in my lap waiting (although it may feel that way on the inside, big time.)

What I will be doing, since the beginning of Book #2 became a bang-up ending for Book #1, is planning and plotting out Book #2, as well as sketching out the rest of the series in more detail. To help me progress more quickly once I begin the first draft, in addition to filling out index cards with my one-line scene descriptions, I am going to attempt to pre-plan the Goal, Motivation, Conflict, and Disaster (GMCD) for as many scenes as possible. (Look out, MS Word table, here I come).

For me, having a better idea of where I'm going (sort of like creating a map and having that map as a reference later on), will help me produce more solid first draft material in a shorter period of time.

My third month of writing full-time did not go well or as planned due to health issues, etc.; however, I'm looking forward to month four being much more productive and fulfilling, writing-wise and otherwise.

So in the meantime, while waiting on the results of the developmental edit, I write.

So, in the words of Dennis Waitley, “Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised.”

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Good, Average, Bad - Rating My Review

I am grateful that I am blessed with a husband who encourages and supports my writing and a puppy that's a fast learner in regard to behavioral issues.

A few days ago when I was struggling with the perils of writing at home, there was no way would I have considered that I would be able to review my manuscript in a few hours.

As I reviewed scenes, rearranged scenes, and inserted notes for a few additional scenes, I assessed the following:
  • Overall the writing needs polishing, but for a first draft the writing isn't as bad as I feared
  • Some scenes are stronger than others
  • A good amount of the first draft writing stands out, in a positive way
  • Several scenes need to be expanded
  • POV grounding is needed in some scenes
  • Restructuring may be in order; however, the story is intriguing and strong
My reactions at the end of the review were as follows:
  • Excited and looking forward to wordsmithing the next draft
  • Nervous in regard to receiving the developmental edit
  • Expectant about the results of the developmental edit
  • Pleased overall with a cohesiveness and storytelling aspect of first draft
I need to look at a couple of things and spell check, then I will send the reviewed manuscript in to Cathy Yardley (Rock Your Revisions) for the developmental edit.

Scary and exciting!

No matter how this adventure turns out, bottom line, I've done something for my family and me. THAT's enough to make this writer gal grin.

Searching for Time

In considering a future potential book title, I've been looking at what kind or types of time there are.

There's time to write, time to read, time to review. There's also killing time and stealing time. What about a time to reap a time to sow? Or work time, play time, doing serious time, having a fun time, etc.

There's also finding time, taking time, and making time.

The last three are what I'm striving toward.

Finding Time

Finding time is an odd one, because if you wait to find time in your busy day to do the things that you really want to do, time tends to be elusive and difficult to hold. My intent to find time more than likely winds up in never finding the time for the things that are most important to me because everything else uses up all the valuable available time.

Taking Time

Taking time tends to lead to situations where you feel as if you are taking time away from other things. Taking time seems to lead to guilt and a struggle to maintain momentum in time slots that belong to other things. Taking, for some reason, leads to guilt feelings associated with stealing time, from others, from other things of importance, and from my day.

Making Time

Making time, to me, means scheduling definite set-aside times to do what's important to you, whether that means exercising, meditation, writing, crocheting, etc. Making time means giving the time for the things that mean a great deal to you priority and respect. A schedule that includes those important things that I don't seem to be able to find time for or take time for, that I follow, with flexible adjustments as necessary, is considered making time.

Finding Time, Taking Time, and Making Time

As far as finding time, taking time, and making time, one of my favorite quotes is:

"You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must make it." – Charles Bixton.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Balance - Getting Back on Schedule

Due to a stir-crazy husband who had minor surgery over a week ago taking the puppy with him on a have-to-get-out-of-the-house errand run, I enjoyed a few hours of silence and focus.

After much searching, I located my At-A-Glance appointment book, and started making a to-do list for today, and filling out a scheduled day for tomorrow.

My life has been out of kilter when it comes to balancing work, play, life, relaxation, family, relationships, writing, etc., for quite a long time. Basically, too much work and not enough life, so that now that I'm not working a full-time day job, I'm more than a little lost in how to find, gain, and hold onto the balance I need to write full-time. I truly had no idea the perils of writing from home.

After my full-time job ended, there were health issues, then hubby's surgery, an attention-seeking puppy, and so much to catch up with at home, plus some long-overdue traveling and vacationing that was much needed and much appreciated.

So now, writing-wise I must get back on track.

Once I had the to-do's jotted down and tomorrow partially sketched out, I began reviewing the scenes and making a scene list of Book #1 of Series #1.

After a few hours, I am now two-thirds of the way through the manuscript and the scene list. Reviewing the manuscript is not taking anywhere near the time I expected the task to take; however taking and making the time to do it has been a supreme challenge.

Balance is key, and getting back on a realistic writing schedule is so very important to me.

I am forever grateful that I have a supportive husband, friends, and family and that I have been blessed with the opportunity to write full-time. (For sure, this is one blessing I am going to enjoy and cherish!)

Dear Diary, with only 3 days remaining...

Dear Diary, with only 3 days remaining, I am reviewing the manuscript of Book #1 of Series #1. For the submission to a developmental editor, I am rearranging scenes and adding markers for a few new scenes.

Hubby's healing from foot surgery is going well, and OUR change in behavior toward the puppy is eliciting changes behavior in him.

This morning, I will start planning a writing schedule, the same way I basically set a work schedule. Writing is my job now; therefore, writing deserves the same level of respect and commitment as my former job.

First things first, I must find my Daytimer-type calendar book. Secondly, I will map out my potential writing work day.

What if I could have an ideal writing day? For that matter, what would my ideal DAY be like?

Oddly, even though I tend to be creative, I have not before considered what either an ideal day or ideal writing day would be.

So, next, I map out, with the intent of commitment and with the understanding that flexibility is a must, my ideal writing day AND ideal day. (Why shouldn't this writing gal go for it all?)

Until next time, Dear Diary!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Perils of Writing from Home

The puppy's whining woke me from a dream of a post-apocalyptic world. An awesome story idea evaporated into wakefulness to address puppy's need to piddle.

Sitting before the monitor, with puppy outside in the kennel, mama cat yowls and wants attention.

Reading through a scene, mama cat continues to eeroow, and hops on top of the writing table, dislodging notes and scattering pens.

Placed back on the floor, mama cat rrreeews and proceeds to yerk on the carpet.

I retrieve paper towels and clean up kitty leavings. Spray with stain remover and scrub the spot.

Since it's getting warmer out, so I herd the cats out of my writing room, and bring the puppy back in.

Ah. I sit before the monitor. Doing what I most enjoy doing.

There's a white flurry in the room. Puppy has knocked the roll of paper towels off the printer stand and is having great fun.

Pieces of shredded paper towel fly into the air. The mess that only took seconds to make is quite impressive.

I clean up the paper towels, while puppy wags his tail mightily, then since hubby has had foot surgery and for now I am our primary cook, so it's time to cook breakfast.

Breakfast is finished, yet there's some paperwork that hubby needs to locate. I am informed this should only take a few minutes.

Three hours later, the missing papers has been FINALLY located, and it's time to make lunch.

That was the first half of my day yesterday.

The second half consisted of more outside puppy trips, more assisting with compiling paperwork, putting dishes into the dishwasher, doing several loads of laundry, making healthy fruit shakes to encourage hubby's healing (twice), cleaning blender (twice), making dinner, and cleaning up mess leftover from searching for paperwork.

As for writing-related activities, I skimmed part of a scene in the early morning hours.

Folks have commented about my working at home, sitting before the computer monitor in my pajamas. That does not happen. I get up and get ready for my day as if getting ready for a job outside the home, because writing is my job.

Yesterday, I was not able to do my job well or properly. Had I been working outside the home, my boss more than likely would not have been happy with my job performance.

The pets tend to add so much companionship and enjoyment to my life, as does hubby; therefore, I don't have a solution as of yet as to balancing, setting boundaries, and priorities.

Hubby's healing and comfort is of great importance and is a priority for the next few weeks.

As for puppy, he's, well, a puppy; however, in the next few weeks, we will address his behavioral issues as well.

For mama cat and her two offspring, a visit to the vet is order to address their continued tummy issues. (In the next few weeks as well.)

As for writing...it's my job, it's what I do and how I intend to make my living; therefore, in the next week I must pull the first book together and send to the developmental editor by next Tuesday. Once hubby is healed, if the puppy and cat issues are not resolved, I will need to come up with other alternatives to my writing environment.

Although, I have been working from home for my job for several years, setting my boundaries for doing work for a company that paid me for my time tended to be more straightforward and realistic.

For the past few weeks, the level of distraction and lack of the ability to focus has been, mildly put, overwhelming.

Truth be told, I had no idea the perils of writing from home.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Those Lovely Acronyms - GMC, GMCD, EQDA

GMC is the acronym for Goal, Motivation, Conflict. Every story has a GMC. Each main character's GMC drives the story.

My main character's GMC for the first book in the series is:

Goal: To get back home 

Motivation (Internal/External): Homesick, Misses grandparents / Taken away from family, Current negative situation

Conflict (Internal/External): Scared, Uncertain, People-pleaser / Kidnappers, Held against will, Inside mountain, Others threatened

That's the main character's story GMC. Her story, what the book is about, is how she journeys through her GMC.

GMCD stands for Goal, Motivation, Conflict, Disaster. Each scene is written to this model. The main character, in Scene #1 of Book #1, has a GMCD of:

Goal: To go fishing

Motivation (Internal/External): Loves fishing / Her grandfather

Conflict (Internal/External): Fearful of doing something she's not supposed to do / The wind is blowing too hard to fish, Her grandfather's presence to witness her doing something she's not supposed to do

Disaster: Yes, but her grandfather isn't well

Potential Disaster endings for scenes include: 1) No; 2) Yes, but; and 3) No, and furthermore. (A straight-forward Yes, as far as reaching the scene goal, is not a good option, because it leaves the end of the scene flat and without expectation for what's going to happen next.)

EQDA, which is Emotion, Quandary, Decision, Action, serves as a sequel to the scene and may consist of as little as a sentence or a paragraph or as much as several paragraphs or several pages. The EQDA for the first scene is depicted in a few sentences at the very end of the scene.

Emotion: Excitement

Quandary: Doesn't want to get in trouble, but maybe it's okay to do something she/her might get into trouble for.

Decision: She/he is going to do it.

Action: Does it.

Although the draft is rough, the GMCD and EQDA are depicted clearly. The scene has a purpose. It moves the story forward, plus, hopefully, if I've done my job correctly, the scene leaves the reader curious as to what she's going to do that 's wrong, as well as giving a sense of foreboding and hinting at bad things to come.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Good Storytelling Versus Good Writing

In an interview, Stephen King stated that Stephanie Meyer of Twilight fame is not a good writer. I've heard the same said about J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter), although Mr. King's opinion differs, as well as Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code).

Yet, all three are touted as good storytellers. Their books and movies have certainly proven that storytelling sells. What stories they have told and can tell!

Although their storytelling abilities are strong, their writing tends to be clunky, disconnected, rambling, etc. (Enjoyed the movies based on all of the above author's books, but did not enjoy the reading experience of their books at all.)

Dean Koontz's mastery of words, grammar, etc., is strong; however, his ability as a storyteller lags at times, devolving into rambling narrative and rushed lackluster endings. Thus, in my humble opinion, Mr. Koontz is a good writer, yet not a good storyteller. (Enjoy the reading experience, but am not always satisfied with the development of the stories or the endings.)

While Sherrilyn Kenyon has bouts and spurts of good writing in her books, her ability as a storyteller has suffered greatly over the years. Although it's debatable, I would personally consider Ms. Kenyon a better writer than storyteller. (Enjoyed very much her earlier books, but am no longer a reader or a fan.)

By most standards, the likes of Stephen King and Nora Roberts are considered masterful writers, as well as great storytellers. (I can stay lost in the worlds and characters each create for hours, and the depth and power of the experience stays with me long after the books have been read.)

As writers, we may tend toward having natural abilities with either writing or storytelling; however, a balance and strength in both is what I, as a reader, long for and enjoy most.

As a writer, both good writing and good storytelling is my main goal.