Is Your Story PRIMAL?—Anatomy of a Best-Selling Story Part 6

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Geiko Caveman. Geiko Caveman.

Okay, so if you have read all the blogs in this series, you should understand what makes a scene vs. a sequel, understand the three-act dramatic structure. You also understand that the antagonist—or Big Boss Troublemaker—is the engine of your story. Without the BBT, your protagonist’s world would remain unchanged. The BBT’s agenda drives the story. It is the engine. No engine, no forward motion.

By this point, you should also be able to decipher a good idea from a not-so-good idea and then, once decided, state what your book is about in ONE sentence. You can have up to three, but let’s shoot for one.

Welcome to part SIX of my series on novel structure–whoo-hoo! Today we are going to discuss gimmick versus fundamentals of a good story.

First, gimmick. Here is the thing. There are only so many plots. DO NOT try to…

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21 Things Only People Madly In Love With Books Understand

Thought Catalog

conradoconrado

1. You’re completely against judging a book by its cover, but you will absolutely judge a person by their favorite book, without hesitation.

2. The main reason you fear death is because there are just so many books to read and you have to read them all and damn it if death doesn’t understand that! Heaven better be a giant library, that’s all I’m saying.

3. “Just one more chapter” is the most valid argument you’ve ever heard.

4. One of the greatest joys is reorganizing your bookshelf. And by “reorganizing,” we mean taking all the books off the shelf, cleaning the shelf, and putting all of the books back exactly where they were before, but taking the time to individually reminisce on each book as it’s lovingly placed back on the shelf. You’re basically Scrooge McDuck counting and recounting all of his gold.

5. You need a minimum…

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Getting a Leg Up: Improving Your Chances of Getting Published

brittanyekrueger

iStock_000015895884XSmall-300x199

I’m always searching for ways to improve my chances of getting published. No matter what avenue you pursue getting published is a challenge. Many times it seems more about luck than talent or perseverance, though without staying power the chances of getting published are reduced to zero.

I’ve joined a critique group, taken creative writing classes, read several creative writing books, analyzed commercially successful novels, and am now working toward a Masters in Fiction Writing. All of this done in an effort to polish my work into a piece of writing an agent and then an editor will take on.

wanted lit agentBut even as I do all of this I know my chances are still slim. And before I go off on a bunny trail and start talking about how many poorly written novels end up being bestsellers (readability is one of the most important aspects of successful commercial fiction, not…

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Editing

Aussie Writers

Today I wanted to talk a little about editing. It’s a huge part of writing and some people hate it with a passion. Editing, can be looked at as a second chance.

I GET TO FIX THIS.

Or as a sign of what lots of us (sometimes insecure) writers fear.

I DIDN’T GET IT RIGHT.

As for I feel about the subject, well it kind of depends on the day and that can be a problem. Because if a book is due to a crit partner, an agent, a publisher, a bookseller, then the edits need to be done.

There isn’t always time for a writer’s feelings.

I’ve been thinking about editing a bit after my 7yo’s class were introduced to the idea that they didn’t have to get it right first time. There was a lot of confusion over this simple idea. The teacher asked me to come in…

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The three best ways I get out of writing slumps

Writing Velocity

What’s the worst thing about the writing process?

Odds are you probably said writer’s block, because it sucks. Writer’s block – or as I like to call it, being in a “writing slump” (makes it seem less permanent) – can make even the best writers stare at their keyboard blankly.

Here are the three best ways that I get out of my writing slumps:

  1. Listen to music on the bus

This may be overly specific, but for me it works practically without fail!

Something about being on the bus with my headphones in always makes me contemplative. If I’m not crammed next to too many people, it’s a nice space to think about different plots, and just follow whatever thought process my music takes me on (image-heavy lyrics work well for me, especially Fall Out Boy!). It’s just me, my music and a bus window to watch the city rush…

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A Wealth of Information for everything YOU NEED to know.

Ella Emerson

When I first started blogging I hate to admit it but I knew NOTHING about the blogging world. Seo? Backlinks? These words confused me, but over time I learned as I went. I just kept blogging and hoping people would read what I wrote. Most of my first blog posts were senseless chatter. But I kept at it.

Now although I still feel as though I don’t know much, I am branching out. I am trying new things and trying to market myself as an author, blogger, and ANYTHING that will help me quit my 9-5 job and stay home. Everyone wants to work from home, right? Well if you don’t then this posts may not be the best for you. Although, if you even use any type of online social media then you may want to pay attention.

I want to introduce you to a site I found. When…

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Writing With Style

WordServe Water Cooler

All writers want to write with style. However, your publisher thinks of style less in terms of crafting words with fashion and flair and more in terms of communicating with good grammar and consistency. iStock_000003403361MediumHere are a few resources you will need as you polish your prose for publication:

1. Manual of Style:
A manual of style (MOS or MoS) is a comprehensive guide to editorial style and publishing practices. These thick books cover industry-wide or profession-wide guidelines for writing. If you are writing a book for general readership, you probably need to follow The Chicago Manual of Style. For both UK and US usage, you can turn to the New Oxford Style Manual.

If you are writing articles for newspapers or magazines, you may need The Associated Press Stylebook. If you are writing for a scientific or medical audience, you will need to use the AMA…

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The Need to Write

eternal sunshine of the spotless mind

You ask whether your verses are any good. You ask me. You have asked others before this. You send them to magazines. You compare them with other poems, and you are upset when certain editors reject your work. Now (since you have said you want my advice) I beg you to stop doing that sort of thing. You are looking outside, and that is what you should most avoid right now. No one can advise or help you — no one. There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for…

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The Writing Process: Ana Maria Spagna

University of Washington Press Blog

reclaimers coverAna Maria Spagna is busy at work on her forthcoming book, Reclaimers, which the University of Washington Press will publish in Fall 2015. Spagna recently participated in a Writing Process Blog Tour and shared insights about her current project, work habits, writing influences, and more. We hope Spagna’s responses provide an opportunity to reflect on your own creative process and get you as excited about her forthcoming book as we are!

What are you working on?

AMS: I am working on a big sprawling book called Reclaimers that tells stories of people reclaiming things that have, in some way, been lost or stolen or damaged. Like sacred lands, wild rivers, and endangered species. Like culture and identity. The project dips into environmental history and cultural history, and includes a series of profiles: of three elders, two of them California Indians, of bureaucrats, activists, and fish biologists.

In this book…

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Growing as a Writer: An Interesting Observation on First Drafts

Ron Writes Stuff

I believe with all my heart the most important thing about writing a novel is completing the first draft.

It’s just math. It doesn’t matter how great or original your idea is. A great, original idea != a book. It doesn’t matter how long your outline is. An outline != a book. You have to complete that first draft. A first draft is a book, albeit (for many of us) a bad book-but a book nonetheless. Or manuscript, if you prefer. Then you do a ton of editing to make it a good book, or even a great book. If you’d like to see it spelled out, here are some formulas (to keep the whole math theme going):

no first draft = no book

first draft = book

(first draft + editing) = second draft = better book

(second draft + A LOT of editing) = next draft = good…

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Modernize Your Grammar

The Write Nook

One of the scariest aspects of self-publishing is the editing process. You don’t have a built in editor waiting for your next draft. If you don’t possess a doctorate degree in the English language, you feel prone to have a ‘professional’ edit your work which often comes with hefty fees. You worry about following every grammatical ‘rule’ because you fear that any poor grammar will cast your work in a negative light or will be judged by readers and/or critics, just because you are not following the ‘conventional rules’ despite how well you write. We all have heard and seen authors get slammed for poor grammar and the last thing we want is to be the next victim. Go ahead and breathe because I don’t want you to spend another second worrying about it. I recently came across a very interesting article in the Wall Street Journal, called “There Is…

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