Your Protagonist’s Obstacles

Posted On Oct 13 2013 by

Okay, we’re on to Day 4 of NaNoPlotMo. This is the last easy day. After this we kick it into high gear. You may want note cards before tomorrow. Clear a bedroom wall. Send the family to Aruba. Today, we’re going to pick up where we left off yesterday, with a list of obstacles to throw in your protagonist’s path toward her goal. Remember: you cannot be nice to your protagonist. The creator of Little Orphan Annie didn’t give an orphan and her little dog a moment’s rest. So you can find it within you to beat up the character …


Your Hero’s Goal

Posted On Oct 12 2013 by

Day 3 of NaNoPlotMo Okay, let’s review: Your first two days of National Novel Plotting Month should have been spent developing the backbone of your story: The Moral Premise. Here are the steps you should have taken: Idea…A future society where kids are sent to fight to death. Concept…What if two kids from each of 12 districts are drawn in a lottery to fight to the death in order for a tyrannical government to maintain control? Premise…Katniss Everdeen is sent to the capitol of a dystopian society to fight 23 other kids to the death. (Note: Premise is not the …


The Moral Premise

Posted On Oct 11 2013 by

  Happy Friday and welcome to day 2 of NaNoPlotMo. Again, we’re behind schedule, so no Fun Friday today. Time to get to work. Yesterday you should have come up with an idea, concept, and an Ironic Hook (which I sometimes call an Ironic Premise, I’ll try to stay with Hook from now on). Take you protagonist’s biggest fear or weakness and make her face it head on. Maybe your protag is deathly afraid of tight spaces and finds himself pursuing his wife’s killer through the Mammoth Caves. Or he’s a devout Christian and refutes violence but is morally obligated …


National Novel Plotting Month(s) – NaNoPlotMo

Posted On Oct 10 2013 by

I’ve had enough. As much as I love National Novel Writers Month (NaNoWriMo) in November, we seem to have a problem. Many of you…and you know who you are…don’t do a thing in advance of November other than dreaming up a cool idea or character in your fuzzy little heads. Let’s stop this. Right now. To prove I’m not alone in my quest, check out this article (along with response from Donald Maass) over at Writer Unboxed. I apologize for the late start. And here’s why: For every day you spend writing your novel, you should have spent at least …


Ironic Physical Hook

Posted On Oct 6 2013 by

I’m going to spend the next few months going through the story creation steps outlined in Stanley Williams’ excellent book, The Moral Premise. For those of you who’ve been following me, you know that I’ve become a student of Story Structure this year. This is my next educational step in my writing career. Trust me, the steps never end. But this is a big one. Writers like Larry Brooks, KM Weiland, and James Scott Bell all approach structure from a slightly different angle, but they all converge at the same point. I’ve written four novels. All with basic writing skills …


Your Novel’s Midpoint – The Man in the Mirror

Posted On Sep 30 2013 by

Your novel’s midpoint is often compared to the center pole on a circus tent. Without it, you get a long, sagging middle supported only by the first and second plot points, which are too far apart to hold your reader’s attention. Larry Brooks, author of Story Engineering, suggest the midpoint be a revealing, or lifting of the curtain. The reader, and maybe the protagonist, get a glimpse of what we’re really up against. The destruction of Leah’s home planet in Star Wars is a good example. Note this is necessary so that the viewer will know why the last fifteen …