Craft, For Writers

Links from Monday, 6/5/2017 & Saggy Middles

It’s Tuesday morning and a gray, gloomy day at my house. I hope it’s better weather where you are.  I came across some interesting articles on writing, publishing and creativity on Monday and I shared them on Twitter and LinkedIn. If you didn’t see them on one of those social media outlets, I’ve gathered them here in one place.

Kyle Malone shared some thoughts on the literary technique of foreshadowing on the Mythic Scribes blog in an article titled In the Land of Mordor where the Foreshadows lie.

I stopped at My Memories of a Future Life next where Libby O’Loghlin (one-half of the writing team known as Christoph Martin) shares her Undercover Sountdtrack. The Undercover Soundtrack is a series where writers – and occasionally other arty folk – reveal how music shapes their work. Check out The Undercover Soundtrack – Libby O’Loghlin

Every writer I know experiences the Imposter Syndrome, but we’re all secretly convinced we’re the only one who suffers. Marcia Lee Laycock shares some thoughts about dealing with the imposter syndrome in Such a Fraud on Novel Rocket.

Are you considering an author collaboration? You may want to read 5 Critical Mistakes of Author Collaborations and How To Avoid Them on The Creative Penn.

Some great advice on characterization where it seems more and more characters are so carefully “perfect” and politically correct, they’re not only very much the same, but quite bland. I read more than 25 published books for various writing contests this year,  and I’m sad to say that I couldn’t tell you the name of a single character nor did any of them have any distinguishing characters that set them apart from the crowd. To avoid this happening in your books, check out Rob Parnell’s advice to Give Them Some Attitude on Easy Way to Write.

“You remember—and I know you do—that part in The Princess Bride where Buttercup has jumped off Vizzini’s ship and the eels are about to get her? Just when she looks done for, the movie cuts abruptly back to the grandfather, who then explains to the sick kid that “she doesn’t”, as he puts it, “get eaten by the eels at this time.”

I mention this moment because it’s a fabulous example of exposition, and how exposition momentarily changes the focus of the story in a way that can be detrimental to your reader’s experience. Exposition is problematic for other reasons too (Google infodump if you want to), but this change in focus is what I want to talk about today.”

Click here to read more of How Exposition Breaks Empathy on Plot to Punctuation.

Deepish Thoughts 01As for me, I thought about the part of the book that’s the bane of almost every writer’s existence–at least until he or she figures out how to get it under control. For me, the key to getting past this problem was making up my own plotting method, which I call Organic Plotting. For years, I resisted the idea of plotting in advance, or of outlining a book in any way. And for years, I wrote books that not only had saggy middles, but saggy beginnings and nonexistent endings. I bored myself before I could get to the end of a book that, frankly, was going nowhere. I had some raw talent, but i needed a much better understanding of story structure before I could achieve my lifelong dream.

Dodging the Dreaded Saggy Middle on KindleIt was learning how to put a solid foundation under my stories that led me to finishing the first one and selling it, finishing the next one and selling it, and so on for more than 30 books to date. Understanding how to pace the turning points, not just in my main storyline, but in my subplots as well, helped me learn how to consistently dodge the dreaded saggy middle. I’ve put my thoughts together in a book on Kindle, Dodging the Dreaded Saggy Middle is also free to read if you have Kindle Unlimited.

Not go…write something!





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