Posts Tagged ‘novel’

Writing: An Update

May 15, 2014 Leave a comment

“With the wooden floor’s first creaky footfall, Maggie knew she shouldn’t be here.”

And thus opens our story.

I guess, since I’m about 2,300 words into my story, this makes me a writer now (despite my previous post of desperation).  Progress is progress I suppose.

With two scenes under my belt, and I still haven’t introduced my antagonist yet.  Eek.  I’m finding coming up with an introduction scene for my antagonist to be difficult.  I think the introduction of the antagonist will be brief, and probably fit in somewhere between the two scenes I’ve already written.

I’m glad I’m finally at the point where I actually start writing, and not just researching.  I’ve tried to come up with some kind of outline, but was told by others that I didn’t really need one.  I have a loose series of events at play in my noodle, I just have to get them down on paper and figure out the details.

Class starts Monday, so I’ll have to split my time between school work, house work and writing, but I think I’ll keep up with this.  I have four “beta” readers who are helping me along, and I thank them for their contributions.

For now, I think I’ll get back to considering how to introduce my antagonist.  Ta!


Frustration – “I’m no writer”

May 14, 2014 Leave a comment

I’m only taking two courses this semester, science and an exit course.  With the rest of my time this summer, I was hoping to write.  I’ve had an idea for a story rolling around in my head for years, and nothing ever came from it.  I tried writing it for NaNoWriMo, and failed.

I’ve spent the last two weeks building up background story, characters, metaphysics, history…  but not writing.

I’ve tried to come up with an outline and come up with… squat.

I’m a fairly organized person.  I like having everything planned out before I start something.  But this… everyone keeps telling me “Just write..” “It’ll plan itself…” but I’m sorry, that’s just not how I work.  I’m struggling to figure out how to get from Point A to Point B in this story and coming up with nothing.  Am I just not cut out for this?

I originally set out to just write a short story, but with the vast quantity of source material I have to work with, it’s turning out to be a much larger project than I anticipated, and it’s getting pretty damned overwhelming.

I’ve been reading books, watching videos, trying to learn how other others do it.  I have pages of notes, suggestions on how I can accomplish this.  None of it is helping…


…maybe I’m just not a writer?

Writing Fiction: Jim Butcher

May 12, 2014 Leave a comment

I just spent about five hours watching Jim Butcher of Dresden Files fame talking about how to write novels. I’m going to collect here what I’ve taken as notes from his videos, and I’ll post the videos below.

On the Protagonist:

  • Traits” – pieces of a character that are inherent to that character only – primary characteristics.
  • Tags” – words (or props) that get associated with that character only.
  • They should have exaggerated “traits” (like Harry’s height, or his smart-ass attitude)
  • They should be absolutely set on achieving their goal, are motivated and will not be stopped by anything!
  • Characteristic Entry Action” – Show them being who they are

On the Antagonist:

  • The villain doesn’t think he’s the villain, he thinks he’s the hero of his own story.


  • Stick to 5 words or less.  That’s how people really speak.

There are two parts to a story:

  • Stimulus
  • Response

Scenes get across to the reader what is actually happening.

Put together a worksheet with four sections:

  1. POV – Point of View – This is whoever has the most to lose.
  2. Goal – What is being actively pursued in that scene (survive, etc.), and the whys are apparent.
  3. Conflict – Someone is getting in the way of the goal.  This is not adversity – this is personal.
  4. Setback/Disaster – Scene question – will the antagonist succeed?
    YES.  (BORING!)
    YES, BUT….  (Consequences)
    NO.  (Completely shut down)
    NO, AND FURTHERMORE…!!! (Shut down and adds more plot complicatoins – deeper and deeper trouble!)

Make sure that your villain doesn’t understand that he’s the villain – he gets more “YES’s” and “YES, BUT…’s”.

Start your story in the first meaningful action of the protagonist.

Red Herring – used when you’ve written something, then discovered a “cooler” way to do things.

On Manipulating People’s Emotions:

  1. First reaction to an event: Emotional (Emotion)
  2. Second reaction to an event: The brain kicks in (Logic)
  3. Third reaction to an event: Reason and Review (Reason)
  4. Fourth reaction to an event: What’s going to happen next/Looking towards the future (Anticipation)
  5. Final phase: Choice – the most important part!
  6. This all leads to a new goal.

Story Questions:  A two sentence breakdown of your story – this is your story summary.

  1. WHEN (*something happens to disrupt the status quo*) THEN (*your proganonist*) SETS OUT TO (accomplish the goal).

EVERYTHING in your story needs to be driving towards your story question – that ONE question/answer.  Careful not to go off track!

The Question is at the beginning of your story.

The Answer is at the end.

You cannot have a protagonist who wallows in self-pity.


That’s it!  Those are all my notes from the videos, they’re kind of long, but I’ll post them below.  Enjoy, and happy writing!




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