The 6 Month Novel

Posted On Jan 8 2014 by

As promised, I’m going to start a series called The 6 Month Novel. Why 6 months? Why not. 6 months doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have a concept on January 1st and a submission ready novel by June 30th. But it gives you a specific timeline and the steps I and other authors use to take a novel from cradle to–if not the grave–at least get it to the nursing home. The goal is not to teach you how I write. The goal is that, by the end of this series, you have your own step-by-step method to writing your novels. …


Writer’s Movie Review: Catching Fire

Posted On Dec 1 2013 by

Catching Fire, the second part to The Hunger Games trilogy, opened last week just in time for the big Thanksgiving movie rush. Of particular interest to writers is the big question of how to treat the middle part of a trilolgy. While not the focus here, I apply two basic rules when it comes to trilogies: 1. Each book should stand alone. It should have it’s own beginning, middle, and end with a resolution to the current story. 2. The first and second books should leave open only the minor questions. In the case of Hunger Games, we were left …


How a Writer should Watch a Movie

Posted On Nov 25 2013 by

This week kicks off the big movie season for Hollywood. Thanksgiving weekend will launch some of the biggest flicks of the year. In fact, Catching Fire, part two of the Hunger Games trilogy, has already opened. It’s on my “to see” list this week. As a writer, though, you shouldn’t just sit and watch these movies. You don’t get to do that. Once you dive into the world of the fiction novelist, reading books and watching movings are homework, not just entertainment. Hopefully they’re both, but I want you to grow as a writer with every book you read and …


Essential Elements of a Scene

Posted On Nov 4 2013 by

If you’ve been following along with my NaNoPlotMo method of plotting, or even if you haven’t, eventually you have to write the scenes. Be excited! This is the fruition of your labor. Now you’re free to create without fear of missing some key story element. If you have generated story beats from each character’s goals, your next move is combine those beats into scene. One or two beats for each scene is optimal. More may get confusing. Let’s go right to an example for this one: Your character Bob has a goal of asking Carol on a date. Your beat …


Beats to Story

Posted On Oct 28 2013 by

Okay, with only a few days remaining in October, you should have your story beats lined up. Every character has at least one goal, most will have three or more. That means if you have 7 characters with 3 or more goals, that’s 21 individual goals. Each goal will have at least 3 beats–a beginning, middle, and end. Or a before the moment of enlightenment, moment of enlilghtenment, and after moment of enlightenment. So that’s 3 beats for each goal x 21 goals = 63 beats. Chances are it’s more like 80 to 100 beats. Beats and Scenes Now beats …


Writers and Storytellers

Posted On Oct 23 2013 by

The great Reds and Tigers Manager Sparky Andersen once said, “Give me a guy who can hit and I’ll teach him how to catch.” I can apply that analogy to writers. A writer knows how to catch. A storyteller knows how to hit. Anyone can learn the basic fundamentals of good writing–show vs. tell, active verbs, snappy dialogue. But to be a good storyteller, one must possess a minimum prerequisite of talent and imagination. Like the hitter who bats .100, though, we still have much to learn. Story Structure I’m taking a break from the NaNoPlotMo postings. Mostly because we’re …