Updated: Taking A Workshop

Hello everyone. Just to let you know, this post will be ridiculously short. I am letting everyone know that I am taking a writer’s workshop, and joined a writer’s group, on Facebook, called the Plotting Workshop, and the Ninja Writers, respectively. It was started by the woman that I got the idea for the plot board from, Shaunta Grimes Alburger. It’s been interesting so far. I’ll do another post later, with more information. If you’re interested in joining me, look it up.

I’m adding a link for a contest for the workshop. If you click on the link, I get more entries for a chance to win free entry into a full writing course. If you click it, you will also be enrolled in the Plotting Workshop for free. If you’re interested, please click the link below.

http://www.whatisaplot.com/giveaways/a-novel-idea-giveaway/?lucky=40

 

How to Start Your Novel

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I love to read.

I have easily read hundreds of books, not that I have actually counted. I have read great books, good books, decent books, okay books, and have even tried to tough out reading terrible books.

I, like a lot of readers, can usually tell if we want to keep reading a book by the end of the first page, usually even sooner than that.

A reader’s time is limited, and precious, if they cannot get past that first page, why in the world would they want to risk wasting any more time on your book, when there are thousands upon thousands of other books they can be reading?

It does not matter how amazing you think your story is, if you cannot hook your reader on the first page -not just the first page, but the first sentence.

That is where we will be starting. At the beginning.

If you want to draw in a reader, and ultimately a publisher so that your story will even get out to readers, you need a great first sentence. A hook. Something that will grab their attention so that they keep reading, and don’t want to stop.

A hook should invoke curiosity, why is this happening? Why is the person, or people, in this position? A good hook will make people want to keep reading to have those questions, or others like them, answered.

A hook should also present conflict, what will happen because of what was introduced in the hook?

It should also be an introduction for the action to come. Things should flow smoothly from there. If you have a great hook, you do not want the action to drop off after that. The suspense should only build higher from this point.

Below I have compiled some of the most well known hooks. Why are the well known? Why do they such a good job hooking the reader?

The Man in Black fled across the desert, and the Gunslinger followed. -Stephen King, The Gunslinger

  •  This hook invokes curiosity. Why is the Man in Black fleeing? Why is the Gunslinger  following? Who is the Man in Black? Who is the Gunslinger?
  • There is conflict. What will happen once the Gunslinger catches the Man in Black?
  • The hook itself already has action: fled, followed, but there is a lot of potential for more. Where is the Man in Black going?

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.  – J.R.R. Tolkein, The Hobbit

  • What is a hobbit?
  • Why is he/she in a hole?
  • What will happen when a hobbit leaves their hole?

It was a pleasure to burn. -Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

  • Why is something burning?
  • What is a pleasure to burn?
  • What will happen after the fire goes out?

The three hooks above are three well known lines, and there are so many more examples out there, that I could continue making posts just about them, but I don’t have that much time or patience.

So, if you’re writing a novel, do you have your hook?

What are some of your favorite hooks? Why do they work so well? Share below!

Leave me your thoughts, opinions, questions, what have you, below. I love to hear from you guys.

Introducing…

Amara. p_20160131_214012_1.jpg

Amara is the protagonist in my, yet unnamed, novel-in-progress. Her name has multiple meanings, depending on the language: in German in means eternal or steadfast, in Greek it means eternal or unfading, in Igbo it means grace, in Sanskrit it means eternal, and in Latin it means everlasting or beloved. The meanings I was most drawn to were the German for steadfast, and the Latin beloved. She was beloved by her parents, who named her, and being steadfast is a facet of her personality.

She is about 26, but she doesn’t know her exact birthday, one, because it isn’t relevant to the story, and two, she was born in a post-apocalyptic world, so her parents’ main concern was keeping themselves, and her, alive, so they weren’t really focused on keep track of the date after things went bad. All she knows, is that she was born some time in the fall, shortly after the leaves had started turning colors.

She has gray eyes like her father did, but auburn hair like her mother. She keeps it cut short, about to her chin, for practicality’s, and safety’s, sake. It’s easier to take care of it, at chin length, things don’t get stuck in it. Plus, it’s a lot harder for someone to grab short hair than long. She’s about 5’5″, give or take, because she ended up being close to the same height as her mother, and that’s how tall she had been. She’s on the thin side, not by choice, food is hard to come by, so it is religiously guarded, and rationed. Her skin is well tanned, due to spending vast amounts of time outdoors, mostly because of a lack of safe shelter.

She has an old, beat-up, backpack she always wears, that was her mother’s, and a machete that was her father’s. She also carries both of their rings on a chain around her neck.

Amara tends to be quiet and reserved, only speaking when she feels like it is needed. This is due in part to being taught to be super cautious around people, spending a majority of her life only with her parents, and then the remaining portion of it alone. She is very logical, and has a hard time processing emotion, so she comes across as uncomfortable, and awkward in emotional situations. She can become easily annoyed with people, especially if she feels they are being illogical, and can often times be to blunt, again, due to limited social interaction. She does have a dry, or sarcastic, sense of humor, which can often be taken negatively.

Due to having a hard time understanding, and handling, emotion, she has an extremely hard time speaking about it. Trying to do so, often times, has her shutting down. That does not mean that she is emotionless, and does not care. In fact, she can care very deeply, and shows it by doing things for whomever she cares for, whether that be giving the last bit of a food item to them, because she knows it’s their favorite, or taking first watch, because the person did not sleep well the night before.

Well, that is Amara.

What does everyone think?

My next post will focus on another character. So look out for that.

 

My Plot Board 3

So, I’ve done as much as I can for now, but I wouldn’t call it finished. Things will probably get shifted, added, and removed as I actually write. How it is now will act as a road map, keeping me on track. Now I can really get writing again, and I am so excited.

image

In my next post, I will be introducing my main character. So, look out for that.

Has anyone else started/been plotting? How’s it going?

Don’t forget to like, and comment below. I love hearing from you guys.

Sub-Plots

For this post, I am taking the time to mention sub-plot. Below is a couple of links about sub-plot, and why it is important.

http://writerswrite.co.za/the-subplot-not-second-place-but-side-by-side

The link above gives some good reasons as to why sub-plots are a good idea to add to your novel.

https://www.writersandartists.co.uk/writers/advice/450/a-writers-toolkit/story-and-plot/

The above article also explains why sub-plots are a good addition to your novel.

I am currently working out the sub-plots for my novel on my plot board. So far, I have two, and I think they’ll add enough to the story, not to need more.

I am doing my best to make sure that the sub-plots add to the main plot, help move it along, without feeling out of place, or forced. It’s a delicate balance, but I think I have it figured out.

If you’re writing a story, or have written a story, will/did you have sub-plots?

Do you feel they are important?

Don’t hesitate to let me know what you guys think. I will always do my best to respond.

My Plot Board 2

Here’s an updated version of my plot board. WIN_20160119_170932 I’ve moved some things around, and added things. I’ve done some sub-plotting. I’ve also wrote down facts needed to keep at least some of my story accurate.

The big green notes are major points for the story.

The blue notes are certain actions that are important, ones that generally lead up to, or stem from, the green notes.

The yellow is dialogue that I want to remember for certain parts.

The pale pink is facts that I want to remember, to keep myself straight.

The purple and orange are two sub-plots.

So, what do you guys think?

Do you think a plot board could be a useful tool for you as well?

My Plot Board

All right, so I posted about plot boards earlier. I decided to give it a go. This is how it looks so far. WIN_20160116_222400There will be more added to it, but my brain has decided to clock out for the night. So, I’m sharing what I have, and I’ll take more pictures as I add more to it. So far, the process does seem to be working for me. It has helped me figure out some key points in my story, so, yay!

Plot Board

I saw this pin on Pinterest. It’s about creating a plot board. Check it out if you’re interested.

http://pin.it/fIioHTg

It seems like a good way to get organized. I think I may give it a try. I need to find some way to get myself good to go. The fact that you use sticky notes, so you can move things around, is what really drew me to it. Has anyone else done something like this before? How do you keep yourself organized? I have seen things like binders, notebooks, spread sheets. I may use another method in tandem, the binder method possibly, to test them out, try and find out if one will work better than the other.

Thoughts?

Movie Adaptation

Is anyone else super excited over the first Dark Tower movie? As soon as the news came out, I squealed. That series is one of my favorites. My dad started letting me read Stephen King’s books at around 10, my mom was mad, she thought I was too young. My first of his books was The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. I had nightmares, like she knew I would ,but I have read it multiple times. I have always loved to read, but his books opened up a whole new world for me, one where the character was just as, or more, important as the story. From there, I read whatever books of his I could, and then I found the Dark Tower series. It was love at first read. In fact, I intend to get “Go then, there are other Worlds than these,” tattooed  on my arm.

I have heard that they were considering Idris Elba as Roland, anyone else? Have they confirmed it yet? He’s not my first choice, but if they handle it well,  he could be great.

Anyone else super excited? Thoughts, feelings?