Wednesday, April 17, 2019

How to Create an External Plot Journey by Developing the Internal Plot Journey

Plotting has always been the most difficult aspect of storytelling for me to master. I used to wonder, how can I create a plot that is not only interesting, but that can somehow connect with the main character's inner struggles and desires as well

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Since this was a problem area for me, I spent extra time studying how I can create an external arc of my story by drawing from the internal arc of my character. In this new episode of Firsts in Fiction podcast, I share some of the secrets I learned and discuss how you, too, can weave together external and internal conflict to thrust your story into motion. Check out the discussion below!

Main points:

  • Character-driven novelists, in particular, can benefit from discovering their story's plot by first establishing their character's inner journey. Once we discover who they are, then we can map out their external journey. 
  • The external journey will cause problems and tension as the inner journey proceeds. 
  • The overarching external goal of your main character, motivation, and story stakes can all be uncovered by first discovering your main character's inner need
  • The external and internal journey that your main character undergoes needs to be woven together in order to deliver a well-rounded story.

How do you create the external plot of your stories? What are other ways that we can brainstorm plot ideas by first uncovering the inner arcs of our main characters? Let me know in the comments!


Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Catching an Agent with Your Hook

What is a story hook, and is it possible to craft one in a way that captures a literary agent's attention? 

In my guest post on Story Ember's blog, I discuss the answer to this question and provide a check-list that can help you craft the perfect hook for your book. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Develop Your Story by Beginning with Character Backstory

As a character-driven novelist, I find it thrilling to discover my characters before I write their stories. I can get to know their hearts and their histories before I allow them to walk onto the page. Doing this not only enables me to present well-rounded characters to my readers, but it also helps me to develop the entire course of the story as well.

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Think about it: In real life, our past determines our present. The choices we made yesterday have brought us to where we are today. So how can we, as authors, expect to authentically slip into the shoes of our characters if we aren't first aware of why they are the way they are today? How can we expect to write in deep POV if we don't first allow ourselves to delve into our character's history? 

This is why, when I approach a new book, I like to first begin with backstory. Not only does this allow me to present flesh-and-blood characters to my readers, but it also helps me steer the entire course of our story.

In my first episode of The Firsts in Fiction Podcasts (an absolute favorite writing-craft podcast of mine, which I have recently joined as co-host--yay!), we've shared tips on how you, too, can develop your story by first beginning with backstory. Check out the video below

Main points:

  • When we discover the history, then we can craft well-rounded, authentic characters.
  • Our character's past influences his/her worldview, attitude, religion, personality, etc. Characters are who they are because of the decisions they made yesterday--just like all humans. 
  • It's important for writers to understand the backstory between character relationships as well--relationships with humans, as well as with the story's setting(s). 
  • When we understand their yesterdays, then we can understand the "whys" of their today. This can then shape a character's internal struggles, goals, inner needs, and flaws, which can influence the external journey of the plot. Our characters' pasts might come into play as they walk through the course of the story.

What are your favorite ways to discover your characters' backstories? Do you brainstorm backstory first, or do you discover it as you write? Let me know in the comments! (And don't forget to give the video a thumbs up if you liked it!)