The moment I stepped off the bus, I thought,
Monday, January 31, 2011
The moment I stepped off the bus, I thought,
Friday, January 28, 2011
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
- They have potential to create friction for your main character, to complicate things.
- They've got a life of their own going on.
- They disagree with decisions your MC (main character) is making, or your MC disagrees with them. Or both.
Monday, January 24, 2011
Friday, January 21, 2011
For those who missed it yesterday - since I normally don't post on Thursdays - we had a guest. The lovely and generous Christine Sunderland shared with us a bit about her writing process. She's also giving away free copies of her books, so click here to learn about how she writes a novel and get yourself (potentially) hooked up.
"I believe it is possible to fashion breakout novels from the stuff of actual human experience. It just requires identifying what is extraordinary in people who are otherwise ordinary." - Donald Maass, Writing the Breakout Novel.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Here's a bit on my writing process in the construction of a novel:
1. I first choose a theme/problem/conflict.
How does one deal with grief and loss? What is love? What is marriage? What is friendship? Is there right and wrong? If there is, how do we know what is right and wrong? Does God care what we do with our lives? Is premarital sex wrong? Is my body connected to my spirit?
2. Then I choose a main character that will have to deal with this theme/problem/conflict in some way.
The character will be a mix of people I know - their appearance, their quirks, their likes, their dislikes, their fears, their desires. I will have the character want something, then throw obstacles in his or her way to achieve what he or she wants. What she wants will reflect the theme chosen. I will make the main character sympathetic, that is, a person the reader will like, so that the reader cares what happens to the character and turns the page to find out.
3. I will complicate the plot which has already begun in #2.
Things will get worse and worse for my main character until she reaches a crisis. At this point she will be forced to make a choice. Things will then change for the better, both inside her (her feelings about her life) and outside her. These changes and choices will reflect the main theme.
I will add subplots that kind of weave in and out of the main plot. Each of those will have a character who wants something and is trying to achieve it and who has obstacles as well. They too will reflect the main theme.
In the story I will use characters I know and settings I have experienced. If my character eats pizza, I think about the flavors and feel of the warm spicy cheese in my mouth and the thin crust - but maybe she likes the thick crust. I use sensory details to describe what she hears, sees, tastes, touches, smells. If there is a waterfall in the story, I will have seen, heard, experienced the waterfall (I'm told YouTube is a good substitute).
I keep a notebook and write descriptions of people I have met, and sometimes I refer to these when creating characters. The same for settings. I notice news stories and see what makes people jealous, envious, angry, and some of the choices they make and what happens to them. I look for common emotions so that my readers will identify with the character's feelings. Grief is a universal one, whether losing a parent, a sibling, or even a pet. It is a type of loss. Losing a friend is another kind of grief, of loss.
My first novel, Pilgrimage, is about grief and how God helps us deal with it. My second novel, Offerings, is about illness and trusting God. My third novel, Inheritance, is about the preciousness of life and how we must protect all human life, from the unborn to the very old. My fourth novel, Hana-lani, is about our bodies and the definition of love. In each of these stories, I created problems that had to be solved. My main characters all want something and the plot pulls them to the point where they might just find it.
Christine has been generous enough to offer to give away each one of her novels. Isn't that sweet? To get entered to win, leave a comment either asking Christine a question, or commenting on something about her process. (Like, how fascinating that you know even what kind of pizza your character enjoys!) And make sure you leave your e-mail address so I can contact you when you win.
Christine, thank you so much for being with us today!
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Monday, January 17, 2011
With a name like his, there was no hope of going unnoticed.
Christa's debut novel, WALKING ON BROKEN GLASS, released in February 2010 from Abingdon Press. She's also contributed to Chicken Soup for the Coffee Lover's Soul, Chicken Soup for the Recovering and Divorced Soul, The Ultimate Teacher, and Cup of Comfort for Special Needs. She writes a monthly column for two ezines: Afictionado, the ezine for American Christian Fiction Writers, and for Exemplify.
Friday, January 14, 2011
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Monday, January 10, 2011
Friday, January 7, 2011
- What could make the situation worse for my Lead?
- How can I take that beyond worse and make it worse than that?
- What part of my concept is familiar? Has it been done before? How can I freshen it?
- What if I tried a completely different setting?
- What trait could my Lead possess that hurts her?
- How can I make the characters in conflict hate each other?
- How can I make the characters who love each other have to be on opposite sides?
- Are there relationships I can create that up the ante for each character?
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
“So then I say to him, ‘That’s not a rave.’ And he says, ‘It’s not? What is it?’ And I say, ‘That’s getting drunk in a field with all your friends!’” Josh laughed, one hand slapping the table, the other firm on Izzy’s back.
“Josh, that’s hilarious,” Leigh said.
“You should have seen his face when I explained what a rave actually is.” He looked at Izzy. “It was priceless, wasn’t it, Izzy?”“Priceless,” she validated. He rewarded her with a wink.
Monday, January 3, 2011
Today is our first ever writing prompt!