Monday, March 22, 2010

The Death of a Minor Character, CRAFT

Every once and a while, a minor character must die. Often, they give their lives so you can show the reader the danger the main characters face.

A good point to remember is one Stephen King recommends. First you create a real person and make the reader care, then you massacre him. Two examples --

STORY A: A man is walking through the darkness, and the monster eats him.


STORY B: Fred is walking to the 7-11 at midnight because his beloved pregnant wife is craving pickles and ice cream, and she ate the last gherkin at supper. A monster jumps out and kills poor Fred.

Story B makes the act and the monster more horrific.


WORKSHOPS: I now have two workshops scheduled with another TBA.

The Big Question: How to Create a Powerful Novel from a Few Ideas and One Big Question, April 11-May 8, 2010 at

Have you ever read a story then felt dissatisfied by it as you put it down? All the story elements--plot, characters, romance, and suspense--were there, but something was missing. That something is often called depth or resonance, and it's that element that turns an ordinary story into one you couldn't put down.

How do you create a story like that? It starts with the creation of the story. I’ll show you how to take a simple plot idea, premise, or character and turn it into a novel with resonance.

Magic, Monsters and Amour: Creating a Believable Paranormal, Fantasy, or SF World. October 4-31, 2010 at October 4-31, 2010 at

Are vampires, fairies, and space aliens real? If you create the right background for your paranormal romance, they will be to a reader. I'll show you how to create a fantasy or paranormal background from scratch and how to make it utterly believable.


Lisa said...

I was struck by your comment on "ever read a book...?" The Book club just read "Steal Across the Sky" by Nancy Kress, which had an intriguing premise, but seemed to unravel as the story went on. Good author, but she just couldn't seem to tie up any of the storylines. Guess I should read through to note her errors...

Marilynn Byerly said...

Reading books that get it all wrong is a good learning experience. I've forced myself through some extremely bad books for that reason.

One error I see a lot now that everyone published is writing paranormal romance and urban fantasy is an inability to blend worldbuilding and storybuilding.

Part of the problem is ignorance, part is being so absorbed in the worldbuilding that the author forgets everything they know about character and plot.