Sunday, July 25, 2021

Write your book with these five elements

 

A BOOK HAS FIVE BASIC COMPONENTS

The first half of writing a book is creating this content

PLOT

CHARACTERS

STORY

SETTING

Who, what, when where, why & how?

Character (internal beliefs), characteristics (habits, goals & agendas)

Character interactions with the plot points, hurdles, options

Geographic location

Sequence of Events - Cause & Effect - “and then”

Natural Abilities (physical, mental, emotional,) & specific LEARNED skills

Choices, decisions, actions, reaction & new goals, failures & accomplishments

 

Time of year, weather decade/era

Happenings &results, Hurdles & solutions

How characters cope with life & this plot in particular.

learning, shifts in beliefs, external portrayals

Community & cultural norms

PLOT IS THE ACTION

CHARACTER IS THE PEOPLE

STORY IS CHARACTER INTERSECTING WITH PLOT

SETTING IS THE STAGE WHERE STORY PLAYS OUT.

THE DRIVING FORCE IS CONFLICT & RESOLUTION

PLOT + CHARACTERS + CONFLICT = STORY 

 STORY + SETTING + RESOLUTION = THE BOOK

 

NOTE: DO NOT BE CONCERNED WITH GRAMMAR, SPELLING, WORD CHOICE AT THIS STAGE

JUST USE THE WRITING TOOLS TO CREATE & RECORD

(SEE THE REST OF THE STORY IN TOOLS NOT RULES -

WRITE YOUR BOOK YOUR WAY)

 

 

 

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Tools Not Rules - Write your book, your way.

TOOLS NOT RULES - WRITE YOUR BOOK, YOUR WAY

AVAILABLE IN DIGITAL AND PAPERBACK- here's the link.




How do you write a book? Any damn way you want. 


In Tools Not Rules, learn the basic elements for a novel, follow steps to create the parts, and build your first draft. From your first story writings to typing The End, this book leads you through a logical process. Included are tools and guidelines that you can use in various ways. Thirty-five years of studying the writing craft resulted in a concise guide for anyone wanting to write a book. Other generous authors taught me my craft. Let me pass that information to you.

REVIEW: Thank you for creating Tools Not Rules. I learn something new every time I read it..the darn thing is becoming my 'writer's bible" Del (Former journalist, new fiction writer)

Friday, April 9, 2021

Show not tell - 3 steps to showing description

 

SHOW NOT TELL - that's what they tell us.

Grasping the approach isn’t as easy as the instruction. My first writing was all telling. Lines and lines of narrative filled the pages. That's the reason 'Music in the Kitchen' is still 'under the bed.'

As writers, we want people to remember out books. We work with words yet we need to paint pictures, offer photo-snaps, and create worlds. Details get the job done whether it is solidifying an overall theme or painting a momentary stage.

I remember three details from a book I read before I was ten years old. That’s almost six decades ago. Here they are. These details showed me the world of the book and the life of the character.

1) How to properly sweep the floor. (Use long, slow sweeps so as not to raise a dust cloud.)

2) It is possible to knit if you are blind. (Polly had to learn when her eyes were compromised.)

3) Polly for some reason is a nickname for Mary. (Who knew?)

 Woven into those details is the feeling of family, personal growth and survival. The remembered details provide a gateway to the overall effect the book had on me. And I remember the book with affection.

 Details used effectively can shift telling to showing and leave story images planted in the reader’s brain and soul.

How do you get the result you want? In other words how to get to ‘showing the story.’ Here’s a tip I learned years ago for changing telling generic detail into showing a multi-textured world.

     First, write your general thought. 

–“It was a dark and scary night.”

Second, describe what makes that statement true.

It was a dark and scary night. Clouds obscured the moon. The rain beat down like the tears of dead sailors and a banshee wind howled, obliterating any hope of comfort. Shadows deeper than the darkness lurked ready to suck a man’s soul from his bones.

 Third: Go back and take out the first sentence.

It was a dark and scary night. “Clouds obscured the moon. The rain beat down like the tears of dead sailors and a banshee wind howled, obliterating any hope of comfort. Shadows deeper than the darkness lurked ready to suck a man’s soul from his bones.

 

And one, two, three-you are showing not telling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, January 11, 2021

Dialgoue - what works, what to avoid

 What the heck can we say about dialogue?

 Exert from "Tools Not Rules" what to write and how to write it. Information and workbook for beginning writers. Coming November 2020

Dialogue is a conversation between two or more people as a feature of a book, play, or movie. It is the conversation between your characters, the discourse by officials, and arguments when characters disagree. This is sometimes referred to as “external dialogue.”

         Dialogue can accomplish almost anything for your story and often with greater immediacy and freshness than narration.

         It can crate mood, describe setting, fill in background, reveal motivation and plot, heighten emotion, and add characterization.

         Dialogue is comprised of words, and the tags and actions that identify the speaker and is harder to write than narration.

         Dialogue must have a purpose in the plot or story. If it doesn’t add something new, it isn’t needed.

Dialogue in Your Book

Tags

These are used to correctly identify speakers. Simple is always better. Use only sufficient dialogue tags to clearly indicate who is speaking. Remember these tips when using dialogue tags.

  1. Keep them unobtrusive. The dialogue itself is what's important. The only function of a tag is to let the reader know who is speaking.
  2. Therefore, use a tag whenever it's unclear who's speaking.
  3. Vary the position of your dialogue tags.
  4. Simple is always better. Said, Asked, answered are often all you need for a tag. They tend to be almost invisible to the reader.
  5. When using said, asked, answered, put the character’s name before the tag, not after

 

NOT – “I invited four people to Saturday dinner,” said Susan.

BUT - “I invited four people to Saturday dinner,” Susan said.

OR – Susan said, “I invited four people to Saturday dinner.

Beats

“A beat is usually a minor action that breaks up dialogue when a pause is needed to keep the scene visual.”  Sol Stein, How to Grow a Novel, p131

 

Beats can also be used to identify speakers.

Here you put the dialogue beside a sentence or phrase in which the speaker is mentioned. The phrase or sentence is the ‘beat.’

“Oh no.” Jade glanced over her shoulder. “Are you sure they are following us?”

Gestures, body language and character action can all be used as beats. But don’t get carried away. Limited use is recommended. And watch out for redundancies. In the two examples below, the action and the words do the same job. Use one or the other.

She shook her head. “No.”

She shrugged her shoulders. “Beats me.”

Beats and tags are used to break up exchanges that might otherwise cause confusion. Having a character ask two questions and then the other person answer them both muddles the information. Break them up.

NOT John rushed into the room “What is he doing with the medal? Where did he put it?”

BUT John rushed into the room. “What is he doing with the medal?” He glared at her and she shrugged. “And where did he put it?”

A new paragraph is used when there is a new speaker. This is especially important when you are omitting dialogue tags and writing several lines of conversation. Make a new paragraph even if the speaker has had only one line.

In this example it’s easy to know it was Sam who asked the question and Edie who answered it.

Edie turned to greet Sam. “Thought you might want food.”

“That smells delicious. What is it?”

“Beef stew, fresh rolls, and rice crispy squares for dessert.”

Know when to summarize dialogue:

When the exact words don’t matter to the story.

Jane waved her hand at the kitchen. “That darn expresso maker is terrible to use.” (no need to explain what it does to make it terrible.)

When dialogue is mundane.

“Boy, it rained all day and I got wet.”

When a character says something routine – like ordering in a restaurant. Just say “they ordered salads.” Don’t have them actually say all the needed words.

Summarize when one character tells another one what the reader already heard elsewhere.

“As gently as he could Jake told Sarah what the doctor had said.”