Plot: Climax, #Preptober Day 29

Preptober is almost over! That means NaNoWriMo is almost here! Where did all the time go?! With just three days left in the month of October, it's time to talk about the climax of your story. First, just what is a climax, and why do you need one? The obvious answer is that this is the Big Moment that your whole story has been leading up to, whether it's a big reveal (Clark Kent is really Continue Reading...

Plot: Twists, #Preptober Day 28

PLOT TWIST! The plot twist is the simplest solution to any perceived problem in your novel, and is often shouted by frustrated NaNoWriMo novelists who have found their "Eureka!" moment. Plot twists are also a) necessary, b) unavoidable, and c) a great way to keep your reader from getting bored. Let's explore. First, what's a plot twist? It can be as simple as an unexpected action Continue Reading...

Plot: Fill, #Preptober Day 27

As noted yesterday, today's goal is to start filling in the gaps between the big plot points you sketched out yesterday. Now, I don't want to give away my whole novel here, so I'll spare you all the minute details of my own plot, but the basic idea is to keep building on your outline. Right now you've got several big scenes chunked out, so fill in additional important scenes that will take you Continue Reading...

Plot: Sketch, #Preptober Day 26

Today it's finally time to start plotting that novel. There's a little less than a week left in Preptober, and we've got to get to the heart of this story, stat! Whenever I start outlining my novels, I usually do some brainstorming to begin with. As explained in this post on outlining, I jot down every bit and piece no matter how wild and crazy and off track it may sound, and then sort through Continue Reading...

Scenes: Emotions, #Preptober, Day 25

Today's topic: How do we make sure that our scenes are conveying the right kinds of emotions? One of the most important things your scenes need to do is strike the right emotional chord, which involves setting the mood. A scene about losing your family in the forest, for instance, should call up feelings of fear and frustration in your character, leading to distress – and possibly even Continue Reading...

Scenes: Character Motivation, #Preptober, Day 24

Today, you might be wondering why it seems like we're dipping back into character development, as the topic of our prompt is Character Motivation. But guess what? Character's motivations also affect your scenes! Let's explore. When crafting your scenes, you obviously want to have logical actions following one after another in time – unless you're playing with timelines and experimenting Continue Reading...

Scenes: Subplots, #Preptober Day 23

Yesterday we talked about our main plot. Today it's time to talk about subplots. First of all, what's a subplot? The most basic definition is a "subordinate or secondary plot." But why do you want or need these, and what is the purpose of subplots? Subplots typically deal with additional elements in your story, such as a romance or conflict between two characters. These are usually Continue Reading...

Scenes: Main Plot, #Preptober Day 22

It's Day 22 of Preptober, which means it's high time we started plotting this story! Let's start small: What's your story about? Think about the main story you plan to tell, and put it into one sentence that will convey the gist to your audience. This is often referred to as the "elevator pitch" or the "logline." Your pitch should be: [author_list style="star"] Short To the Continue Reading...

Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon: It begins!

Hooray for reading! Today is another installment of Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon, and although the challenge started at 5 AM in my timezone, I am just getting started now. So, here are my answers to the opening survey... 1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? I'm in sunny San Diego, California. 2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? The one Continue Reading...

Setting Themes: #Preptober, Day 21

Today let's talk about themes. Themes are often used as the entry point into an idea about the kind of novel you want to write. Maybe you want to write about love or loss or forgiveness. Ambition, betrayal, coming of age – these are all themes. Writers usually pick one as the overarching idea that will guide their story (my ninja story is a coming of age tale, for instance). The problem Continue Reading...