Tink...tink...tink...anyone out there? Hi! I'm Barbara Donlon Bradley - Author - editor and slightly crazy - ask anyone in my family. I hope to use this blog to talk about writing, editing and whatever pops in my head. Hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Writing Down the Bones: Basic Elements of a Good Story

I found another wonderful handout that I would love to share with you. This one is by Marian Jones. It's from the 80's and not everything is true anymore so I'm going to use some of the elements she listed then put my spin on it - as usual. I think it's a good one - hope you enjoy.

1.) Begin the story on stage:  Starting a scene the way snoopy did won't work any more. He sat on his doghouse and started his book with 'it was a dark and stormy night'. People now say you need to start in the middle of a scene. One that will suck your reader in immediately and not let go.

2.) Introduce your main viewpoint character at once: Basically you bring in your main character whether it is your hero or heroine and most of us do this if we start in a middle of a scene.

3.) Introduce the opposite sex: Understand that all the handouts I have are for romance writers and as long as I've been writing I've heard this - bring the hero in immediately start that conflict on page one.

4.) Develop the story in scenes: Think of your book as a movie or play - picture the scene then convey that to your scene. It will make your story more three dimensional.

5.) Be bigger than life: Your characters need to be bigger than life. I don't like using over the top because it can be misunderstood, but think Indiana Jones. That was a bigger than life character and everybody loved him.

A lot of the other things she mentions I have already talked about. Like searching for the to be verb - was and were, never let the author intrude in the story, and use action tags.

I hope this helps you as you work through your MS. Editing is easy and hard all at the same time and hearing these things over and over helps remind you (and me) what to look for as you work on your ms,


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