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Showing posts from November, 2020

The Six Act Two-Goal Novel

What makes for good drama is a constant. To begin, we combine Siegal's "nine act structure - two goal" screenplay (very much like the Syd Field three act except that the "reversal" from Field's structure joins "Act 5" in Siegal's version) with the Field classic three act. The Two-Goal Structure, Siegal maintains, creates more dynamic plot tension due to the insertion of PLOT REVERSAL later in the story. We concur.  NOTE:  "Plot Point" is defined here as a major occurrence that emphatically changes the course of the story. In the genre novel as a whole, we see three to five major plot points depending on various factors: a first PP that begins the rising action, second PP defined by the first major reversal, a third PP defined by a possible second major reversal, a climax PP, and a theoretical PP residing in the denouement, i.e., we think the story is going to resolve a certain way after climax, but a surprise happens that resolves it

Protagonist Sympathy Factors in the Hook

If you've won a Pulitzer you might consider disregarding the advice in this section, but it's not advisable. No article here at WE could be more representative of the Algonkian model-and-context method of novel writing than this. Look at the percentage of novels on the shelf right now that concentrate on creating a character the reader will become concerned with without hesitation. Quite a few, yes? A novel hook with an interesting, unique, and sympathetic character will make agents sit up and take notice. This is vital to avoiding a rejection slip. A few fairly recent and classic examples of what we're talking about as follows. The name of the character in question follows the title and author. Note that All of the factors listed appear in the first 10 to 15 pages. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time  by Mark Haddon Christopher John Francis Boone - A first-person narrative from an autistic 15-year-old protagonist: "My name is Ch

Aspiring Authors and the Epiphany Light

A WATERSHED EVENT FOR SERIOUS WRITERS Whatever the stage of your project or writing life, know that all writers, if they desire to become commercially published, must see and enter the Epiphany Light. First of all, what is the "Epiphany Light"?  The EL is a state of mind crucial to any writer desirous of commercial or serious literary publication, and one which clearly divides the 99% of aspiring authors from the 1% of those who've learned the hard way how challenging it is to have their expertise and projects taken seriously by professionals in the publishing business. But are the percentages so drastic as depicted here? Yes, and probably even more so.  Consider the very small number of first time authors who emerge with publishing contracts from major houses, imprints, or even well-regarded traditional presses, and then compare these few hundred to the hundreds of thousands of writers in America struggling valiantly yet vainly to accomplish the same f

Loglines and Hooks With Core Wounds

HOOK OR LOG WITH CORE WOUND AND CONFLICT Your hook line (also known as logline) is your first chance to get a New York or Hollywood professional interested in your novel. It can be utilized in your query to hook the agent into requesting the project. It is especially useful for those pitch sessions at conferences, lunches, in the elevator, or anywhere else. When a prospective agent or editor asks you what your book is about, your hook line is your answer. Writing one also encourages a realization of those primary elements that will make your novel into a work of powerful fiction.  The great novel, more often than not, comprises in reality two stories: the exterior story or plot line(s), as well as the protagonist-focused, interior story flow that defines and catalyzes their arc throughout the novel. For example, a protagonist with a flaw or core wound that prevents her from achieving a worthwhile goal, is forced to respond to a lifechanging event instigated by an antagonist of one s

What the Classics Teach us About Exposition

The literary science of accomplishing exposition is set in stone. The inexperienced writer dumps it like rocky weights on the reader's head (or not at all).   The experienced author delivers at the right time and place, fusing it within the narrative flow so as to avoid the appearance of artifice. But wait, let's provide a simple definition before going further:  " exposition" is that sum of information which must be delivered to the reader to enable them to fully understand the plot of the novel going forward. Generally speaking, the reader learns exposition in a similar manner to the way life teaches it, e.g., upon moving into a new neighborhood, you learn the background history of the neighbors a bit at a time. They tell you about themselves, and others, as circumstances and conditions permit. By combining those fragments, you are finally able to perceive the entire picture of neighborhood society.  The example above should give us a clue as to the best methods for

Writer Ego and the Imaginary Bob

You begin your first novel with equal parts ignorance and false optimism, only to embarrassingly learn many months, or even years later, the enormity of your mistakes. Those popular writer magazines and the  sociable little group of amateur writers that looked like a great plan, at first, now appear unreliable and even time wasting. At this juncture, you will either deny reality, quit altogether, or else vow to become a true and humble apprentice to the art of novel writing .  Ne confondez jamais une seule défaite avec une défaite finale.                                                              - F. Scott The process above is nearly inevitable for the vast majority of aspiring authors, and only the eternal narcissist is incapable of achieving a productive second stage. We've discussed this subject more than once. Of course, such a personality will always disagree and fume like a child, but what about less volatile, less serious forms of counterproductive ego? Abou

Screenplay Into Novel - Will You Listen?

From the desk of Jeff Lyons (Story Geeks) . Along with the self-publishing revolution has come a series of “mini-revolts.” One of those involves a major shift in the traditional way novels have been adapted for the screen. Creative writers of every stripe are now searching for a way into the ever-growing ocean of print and e-books. Among them are screenwriters hoping to leverage a prose fan base in order to, ironically, get their original script ideas sold as movies or television programs. A Changing Industry Traditionally published novels have always been a lucrative source of literary properties for the entertainment industry. But in the last decade, more and more self-published books have joined the page-to-screen trend and are responsible for building some of the biggest entertainment franchises, supporting billions of dollars in global box office revenue [e.g., Amanda Brown’s Legally Blonde , E.L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey , Andy Weir’s The Martian ]. While this fits with