Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Write On Con Writing Tip for You...

AND THEN WHAT HAPPPENS...?

This week, many of the Bookanistas are taking a break from published-book love to share some tips about the writing process for WRITE ON CON.  Here's mine.

"And then what happens?" is THE question for the writer--the storyteller.  Don't get me wrong, I could say a lot of things about characterization, setting, word choice, pacing, avoiding info-dump, revision techniques, and on and on.  All of those things are hugely important.  BUT when you get down to brass tacks, all of those finer techniques must be applied to a STORY.  It's the core of your elevator speech, the stuff your editor will be trying to convey on the jacket copy and, most of all, it's your light in the storm that is writing a novel.  Here are three times to put this standard to use:

1. FIRST DRAFT: As each chapter concludes, ask yourself this question.
2. REVISION: As you review each chapter or section of the book, be sure you can answer this question with something other than, "And then the MC reflects on/thinks about/wonders if..."  Check to see that something else HAPPENS at reliable intervals as your story moves along.
3. THE ENDING: Reread the final pages of your book, then ask one more time. Whether you decide to answer on the page or not, you should know this answer in your head because it speaks to whether you've ended the story in the right place.  Have you reached that point when the next AND THEN isn't necessary for the reader to leave satisfied at some level?  And, if you're writing a trilogy or other continuing work, it's nice to hit send with a sense of where you're going next!

WE INTERRUPT THIS BOOKANISTA BROADCAST…to celebrate WRITE ON CON! For some fun writer insights and pep talks, click along to…Christine Fonseca, Beth Revis and Jessi Kirby.


And, we know you MUST have your Thursday Bookanista reviews so here you go!

Veronica Rossi loves Legend
Shana Silver serves up a Maureen Johnson double feature of The Last Little Blue Envelope & The Name of the Star
Scott Tracey is awed by Anna Dressed in Blood
Bethany Wiggins howls over How to Take the Ex Out of Ex-Boyfriend
Carrie Harris is in a frenzy over Stupid Fast
Gretchen McNeil is spellbound by Witch Eyes
Carolina Valdez Miller and Shelli Johannes-Wells are passionate about Possess
Matt Blackstone blogs From Bedside









3 comments:

Laura Marcella said...

That's a great tip, one I use often! I love asking, "What if?" too to see in what other directions I can take my characters and story.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Fantastic advice, Stasia! I seem to be fond of series, so it's absolutely an essential question for me! But I agree even with the standalones--the writer should have a sense of where the story is going.

Stasia said...

Thanks Carol & Laura. Sometimes I think it's great to just get back to that very simple, essential question. Kind of my rock :)