Monday, July 24, 2017

And the Survey Says

A special thanks to those who voted to continue my “Links of Interest,” or told me why they no longer read them.

A grand total of three wanted “Links” to continue.  In other words, the link blogs are definitely not of interest to a vast majority of my readers.

I am not, however, leaving those who want fresh links without recourse.  On Wednesday, I will post all my resources for links, will recommend the best, and explain how to find link resources on my blog.  

Thanks, again, to those who replied to my survey, and remember to recommend my blog articles to your friends so I can continue to do them.


Marilynn

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Links of Interest

This is your last chance to ask for more links articles. If I don’t get a bunch more votes to continue, “Links of Interest” will be no more.  If you’d like me to continue them, please leave a note below and let me know.  

Plus, how about sharing my articles with writing friends, etc., so I have some reason to continue those as well.  As always, remember that I am more than happy to answer writing questions so please ask.  

MYSTERY CLICHES:


PROMO, ADVERTISING BASICS:


BACKSTORY THAT THE READER WANTS:


WHY YOUR CHARACTER SHOULD HAVE A PAST WOUND:


THE FICTIONAL MONTAGE:


ELEVEN STEPS TO CREATE A GREAT FIGHT SCENE:


HOW TO USE A BETA READER:


DO OR SHOULD YOU USE SWEAR WORDS IN YOUR WORK?


DEVELOPING YOUR CHARACTER:


CREATING DRAMA IN FICTION:


RESEARCH, GEORGIA HISTORICAL NEWSPAPERS ONLINE:


SIX THINGS TO IMPROVE VOICE:


BRANDING, PEN NAMES, AND READER BETRAYAL:



Monday, July 17, 2017

The Subplot

The main plot of the novel drives the story forward through the whole work.  Most main plots are about the main character working to achieve his goal. 

Some novels have only one plot. A simple romance's plot is boy and girl meet, one or both screws it up because of some inner flaw or weakness, but they manage to change enough to create a happily ever after.

Other novels have a major story line and minor story lines. Most often, these books mix genres like romantic suspense, or they are more complex in both subject matter and word count.

A minor story line is called a subplot. The two major types of subplot are the parallel and the independent subplot.

The parallel subplot is a smaller element of the overall plot that intersects the major plot with both its major character or characters and the events. The main plot affects the subplot, and the subplot affects the main plot.

In AVATAR, Sully's romance with Neytiri is one of the parallel subplots in the main story of Sully's learning about the planet Pandora and his decision to save it from the other humans.

His relationship with Neytiri is his personal introduction to the planet, its people, and their ways, and his emotional/romantic relationship with her teaches him the value of its people as well as giving him the original impetus to reconsider his decision to spy on the scientists and betray the locals to the corporation and its mercenaries.

In my STAR-CROSSED, Kellen's struggle against sexual slavery, his owner Cadaran, and his search for his freedom parallels Tristan and Mara's sweet relationship and their own fight for Tristan's freedom against Cadaran as the representative of the corrupt government.

A complex novel may have numerous parallel subplots. Some may be almost as complex as the main plot, and others may be short and simple pieces of the puzzle that is the story.

A simple subplot in my STAR-CROSSED involves Tristan's relationship with Floppy, the intelligent alien kitty.

When Tristan lives in Mara's house, Floppy sees him as a rival for Mara's time and attention, and the housekeeper has told Floppy that Tristan with his sneaky male ways is a danger to Mara.

Floppy works to prevent a physical relationship between Mara and Tristan, and he's more than willing to kill Tristan to protect Mara.

Floppy and Tristan gradually learn to like each other when Tristan teaches Floppy to read.

After Tristan saves Mara's life at the risk to his own freedom, Floppy is totally won over to Tristan's side.

This subplot not only drives the main story forward by interfering with the romantic relationship of the hero and heroine, it also is comic or scary in contrast to the main story line's tone at that moment to add variety.

An independent subplot doesn't impact the main story. A common use of this kind of subplot is in a mystery where the main character has a home life subplot as well as trying to catch the killer in the main plot.

At its least, an independent subplot gives a fuller picture of the main character or a more complete view of the world he inhabits.

At its best, it reflects the main plot thematically or emotionally. For example, the hero must face the death of his father and their issues of abuse at the same time as he is chasing a serial killer who targets elderly men which may indicate he was abused by an older man when he was little.

The TV show, HOUSE, often used the independent subplot which involved the relationships of the hospital staff to reflect the main plot of discovering what is killing their patient.

In most episodes, House would gain a valuable clue to the illness through his interactions with another character during that subplot.

The very strongest subplot, even those that aren't parallel, brings a thematic, characterization, and worldbuilding depth to the novel.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Links of Interest

IMPORTANT NOTE:  My “Link” articles receive very little traffic, and they take many hours of work per week.  If you’d like me to continue them, please leave a note and let me know.  Plus, how about sharing my articles with writing friends, etc., so I have some reason to continue those as well.  As always, remember that I am more than happy to answer writing questions so please ask.  

THE FIRST THING YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOUR PROTAG:


FIGURING OUT YOUR CHARACTER’S MOTIVATIONS THROUGH THESE FIVE QUESTIONS:


DIALOGUE DURING REWRITE:


THE PROMISES AN AUTHOR GIVES TO THE READER:


ACING THE BEGINNING OF YOUR SEQUEL:


HOW TO MAKE YOUR WRITING STAND OUT, PART 2:


CREATING AUDIOBOOKS, A PRIMER:


LINKED IN 101:


DEVELOPING YOUR CHARACTERS:


HINTS AND TOOLS FOR PROOFING AND EDITING YOUR BOOK:


FREE SCRIVENER STORY STRUCTURE TEMPLATE:


SHOULD YOU MAKE YOUR BOOK AVAILABLE AS A PREORDER?


CREATING GREAT MONSTERS:


SUSPENSE, THE BIG TEASE:


SERIES TIPS:


PUTTING THE SUPER IN SUPERNATURAL:



Monday, July 10, 2017

How Not to Make a Novel Longer

Many of us in our writing careers have had a novel that simply wasn’t long enough.  Sometimes, it is poor planning on our part when we misjudge exactly how much word length each element of the plot entails.

Other times, it is due to a market shift-- a publisher who wants one length either closes down that line or rejects your book so you have a book with no home to go to.  

This problem has been solved to a certain extent with the advent of self-publishing and ebook publishers, but, if you want to sell to one of the major publishers, you must either rewrite to fit the available markets or shelf the book.  

I recently read a Regency historical which was obviously written for the defunct short Regency market then had around 20,000 words added to make it fit the historical market, and it’s a classic example of how not to lengthen a book.  

Novels have a certain rhythm to them, and like with a song, most of us sense when the end is coming.  Plot ends are being tied up, the bad guy has been thwarted, and the emotional problems, particularly between the hero and heroine, are being settled.  

When I felt the novel coming to a close with many pages yet to go, I realized what this author had done.  Instead of adding another subplot to make the novel longer, this author had chosen to leave the short Regency basically untouched except for a few extra sex scenes and to continue on with the story.

This choice meant that the novel came to a complete stop because all the plot points had been answered, and the hero and heroine had come to a certain emotional closure so they were worthy of their happily-ever-after.

The author then lured the reader forward with standard honeymoon events and sex for several chapters then family matters and villains who had appeared to be handled reappeared and trashed their relationship once again so it was back to square one for them.  

This was not only annoying, but it also gave a lie to the possibility that these people would ever have a happily-ever-after if they couldn’t get past their emotional issues.  

Even if they seem to solve them this second time, it’s more likely that these problems will reappear again.  Like a bad monster movie where it appears that the monster may rise again, the final page seemed to say “The End?”

When that short novel needs to be longer, resist the urge to leave the main body of the book alone, and, instead, work in subplots to make it one whole book.  It will make a better book and won’t annoy your reader.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Links of Interest

IMPORTANT NOTE:  My “Link” articles receive very little traffic, and they take many hours of work per week.  If you’d like me to continue them, please leave a note and let me know.  Plus, how about sharing my articles with writing friends, etc., so I have some reason to continue those as well.  As always, remember that I am more than happy to answer writing questions so please ask.  



EIGHT STEPS TO A PERFECT SCENE:


LOOKING FOR A CRITIQUE PARTNER?


GRAMMAR, PUNCTUATION IN QUOTATIONS:


COPYRIGHT, PROTECTING YOUR RIGHTS:


FACEBOOK SOFTWARE UPDATES AND AUTHORS:


HOW TO COPYRIGHT A BOOK:


WHAT IS IRONY?


WRITE FOR TODAY’S, NOT YESTERDAY’S AUDIENCE:


IF YOU USE PHOTOBUCKET FOR PICS FOR YOUR SITES:


APP TOOLS TO CREATE METADATA:


FORESHADOWING:


PICKING THE RIGHT TITLE:


AVOIDING THE BEGINNING INFO DUMP:


FINDING THE RIGHT EDITOR:


PODCASTS:


FIVE TYPES OF BOOK OPENINGS:


CUTTING DOWN WORD COUNT:


BACK UP YOUR WORK:


LIST O’ LINKS:


WHAT MAKES A COMPELLING CHARACTER:


TESTING A NEW BOOK IDEA:


DEALING WITH AN EDITOR’S CRITICISM:


ADDING A MEANINGFUL SUBPLOT:


FIGURING OUT YOUR PLATFORM:



Monday, July 3, 2017

The Ethics of Critiquing

Never talk about what you critique to others.

Never show someone else's work to others.

Never "borrow" a critique partner's ideas or characters.

Respect others' time. Critique in a timely manner, and don't send your life's work at once.

Agree upon an amount of work (a chapter or more) and stick to it unless the other person agrees to see more.

Agree on what each of you wants from a critique and give it. Some of the choices are a general overview, copyediting only, or a check on accuracy from an expert.  

The checklist I blogged about last week is also a good starting place.

Be specific. Be fair. Be kind. Don't say, "I hate this." Say, "Your hero is unpleasant because...," or, "He may be rude to the heroine here, but show he is a nice person to others so the reader can like him and see him as a worthy hero."

ALSO mention what works. "The heroine is really charming. I loved the way she...," or "Your descriptions are excellent. I could see the waves around the pirate ship and smell the ocean."

Don't be too kind. If you see a problem, mention it so it can be fixed. It's kinder in the long term for her to know this problem now rather than in the rejection letter from an editor.

Ask questions if you don't understand a comment, but don't defend your work. It's a waste of time for both of you.

Anger is a waste of time, as well. It's no fun to be told that your writing isn't perfect, but you'll have to learn to deal with it. Even the best writers in the world have editors who change things so learn to deal with criticism or forget about a writing career.

If you can’t control your anger, walk away from the critique for a while then come back.  

Respect each other's voice and individuality. Don't suggest rewrites as you would do it.  Instead, suggest rewrites that will improve the author's vision.

Respect your own voice and vision. The critiquer can only give SUGGESTIONS. Only you can decide whether to change your work. Only you know what you are trying to achieve with the entire book.

Always thank your critiquer because she gave up writing time to help you.


NOTE:  Feel free to copy this to share with a critique partner, but if you'd like to share this text otherwise online, please ask my permission.  You need not ask permission to link back to this article.