Building Up Your Story – Tension is Everything Pt. 1

tension_fullI have read enough books on the craft of writing to know that building tension is everything to a story. The reader has to feel it growing so it pushes them farther into the story and makes his or her desire to know what is going to happen so unbearable that it is a race towards the end. When I started writing The Beholder, I definitely had a few ideas on what “bricks” I was going to use to build up the tension in order to make the climax the highest point it could be. Think of your plot as a huge mountain and the more tension you stack onto it the higher your climax point. The higher the reader has to climb to get to the climax, the more exciting the view will be from the top when they reach it.

After reaching the 20,000 mark (click here to relive my virtual happy dance about that milestone), this is a good time to reflect back on what those tension building blocks are going to be. There should be new ones to add, old ones to revise, and even ones to maybe throw out, depending on how your story has changed in this initial phase. I also think the 20,000 mark is a good place to do this because, at least for me, this is where I have already done some major writing at the front and back of my story, but the middle is kind of hanging them all murky and evasive-like. I need to know more about what I am building up to in order to connect my super hooky beginning with my star-studded ending. Without realizing it, I created a “building up” exercise that I think will come in handy for any future novel I write. Here is what you do:

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Reaching The First 20,000 Words In a Novel

WAAAAAHHHHOOOOOOO!

That’s pretty much what I feel like right now. For some reason the amount of 20,000 words seems like a substantial goal in the quest to complete my first novel. It has definitely not been the easiest journey so far but I have pushed onward and have reached an estimated one third benchmark. Just thinking that only 10,000 more words is an approximate halfway point is even more exciting! Continue reading

The First Idea Is Not (Usually) the Best

bright-idea1I have been working on The Beholder for over a month now and I am still in a pretty confident state on mind. I even had some breakthroughs for my series that I put on hold, so my creative fountain is just gushing right now.

I have to say, though, that one of the biggest things I am noticing while writing The Beholder is that your first idea is not usually the best idea you can come up with. Now, the main concept that got me to start the story – yeah, that kind of stayed exactly the same (so far). But I’m willing to put almost anything else on the guillotine if it makes the story stronger. Nothing should be sacred here except the ultimate goal of creating the best story you can.

That being said, I have already had a ton of changes occur in my story and I am only at the 15,000 words mark. Through these changes, I have come up with a few strategies to see if your writing could use some reconstructing in order to spice things up.  To better lay this out for my fellow aspiring writers, I have decided to use a listing format….because, let’s face it, who doesn’t like a good list? Continue reading

One Thousand Words and Beyond

It has been two days of outlining and fleshing out my characters and two days of actually writing for my new WIP, The Beholder, and I already have 1,000 words! That may not seem like a whole lot but I am happy with it because it is 1,000 words more than what I was accomplishing on my series this past month.

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Taking a Hiatus on my WIP Series

When it comes to writing, I have a “I’m not quitting” mentality this time around. It is very important to me to zero in on this ever-changing craft and publish my own stories to share with the world. I am not, by any means, taking a hiatus from that dream. However, this series that I have bouncing around in my head has too many flaws for me to deal with and stay confident. It is a story close to my heart and I will not put it to sleep for good but it just needs to take an afternoon nap right now. Since I have never fully completed a manuscript, not even a rough draft version of one, I think the concept of a three book series with a lot of subplots going on is overwhelming me. I have been spending way too much time trying to sort and outline and plan and NO time really writing. And even after all the planning work, I still feel like key elements are missing from the story. So I feel the best thing for me to do right now is put it aside and regroup.

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Friday First-Novel-Attempt Blues: The Curse of the Tree Novel

So here is where I am at with my first attempt at a novel. Wait…let me re-phrase that. I have had many attempts at a first novel so, really, here is where I am at with my first attempt at a novel I am forcing myself to finish. That’s better.

My novel right now is a tree. Let me explain. I have the core idea with roots firmly planted into the ground. I have my main characters developed in my head and they are wonderful little darlings. The base of my novel is strong and thick and ready to take on anything. It sounds like my novel is in a wonderful place then, right? Why the heck am I complaining?? Continue reading

The Disease of TMI

I currently am very sick. I have succumbed to a disease that has shattered my ability to write. I want to share this disease with you in hopes that you will be able to withstand the infection that seems to be spreading amongst novice writers like myself. This is the disease of TMI or, Too Much Information.

What this disease feeds on is our yearning as beginners to gather up all of the little trinkets and golden nuggets of information that prestigious published authors want to toss out on the road for us to pick up in scraps. Or literary agents who blog or Tweet occasionally and try to throw us a bone while we fuss relentlessly over our query letters and outlines. Or the countless marketing tactics out there to draw in naive and hopeful new writers with workshops and how-to books that will make us “the next best-selling author.” Continue reading

First Entry Ever

So when I first considered starting a blog as a novice writer, I thought NO WAY! What am I going to be able to write about writing that will make any sense?? Here there are a thousand PUBLISHED authors out there with blogs that everyone will migrate to and if someone even HAPPENED to stumble across mine they would hurt themselves in the process of trying to leave it so quickly…maybe get a sprained pointer finger or something.

But that I reconsidered what my goal was even to begin with and that is to *insert triumphant music* become a PUBLISHED author myself! So what better way to help people then to show them the journey to (hopefully) getting published?? We can start here at the beginning where I have absolutely no “ins” in the publishing industry and I have absolutely NOTHING professionally published. Continue reading