I had a few sources of learning in September, including the free ACFW course on Plotting, the unofficial ACFW at-home conference, and a couple of magazines. Hoping you will glean some good stuff from what I'm sharing here (and know, of course, that this isn't EVERYTHING I learned - just the highlights!).
And here I go!
From Plodding vs Plotting class at ACFW:
- The plot is what the character goes through to overcome the obstacles standing in the way of achieving his goal.
- The plot is the vehicle for the hero's transformation
- If your characters are well-developed, they will come alive and take the story where it needs to go.
- The middle of the story is all about raising conflict,increasing tension, making the journey more and more difficult for our hero.
- Act one is complete when all your main characters have been introduced, when the main story challenge is introduced and your hero is engaged in it.
- Plot, character, and societal stakes need to be high.
- Keep building the tension until the last possible moment.
- Let your reader experience emotions at the same time as your characters.
- Make sure your character tries, or at least considers and discards, the easiest, most obvious and most logical solutions to her dilemma before she finally hits on the right (and hard) solution.
- Every word in your story will add to or detract from the story.
- YA books generally take place in shorter time frames than "adult" books.
- What matters when it comes to critiques is not how far along you are, but the source of the feedback.
- To raise the stakes, make us care about something, then put that something in danger.
- The longer we keep our reader guessing, the more attention they will pay to what they are reading.
- Writing in bite-sized chunks - one idea at a time - is very appealing to me.
- Secrets up the tension.
- The more the story matters to your character, the more it will matter to your reader.
- Your novel should be like a sitcom - every character should be interesting enough to have a spin-off show.
Questions? Comments? Observations? What was most interesting/helpful to you?