Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Book Buzzin' and Writing Tips

Here's an interesting book that was finally released in the US yesterday. Dan Wells I am Not a Serial Killer. It sounds fascinating even though I believe it is a horror. I had the opportunity to met Dan at the LTUE Conference in February and sit in on some classes he taught. Great, enthusiastic person. His book sounds equally as good as his classes.

I Am Not a Serial Killer is the story of John Cleaver, a 15-year-old sociopath who works in a mortuary, dreams about death, and thinks he might be turning into a serial killer. He sets strict rules to keep himself “good” and “normal,” but when a real monster shows up in his town he has to let his dark side out in order to stop it–but without his rules to keep him in check, he might be more dangerous than the monster he’s trying to kill.

For more information about Dan and his book, check out his website.

One of the classes I took from Dan was on Pacing and Structure. I loved his energy in what he taught. He that growing up he did a lot of role playing which turned out to be a valuable source of story structure. Anyway, here's the 7-point system he uses and said that you can fit any store into this system. He showed us several examples. It was quite interesting to see how accurate his statement was.

1. Hook-start with the opposite in your character, i.e. if the character ends strong have them start weak
2. Plot Turn 1-helps the story move from beginning to midpoint, introduces conflict, sets story in motion
3. Pinch 1-apply pressure, force the characters into action
4. Midpoint-characters move from reaction to action
5. Plot Turn 2-pushes from the midpoint to the end, you get the last piece you need
6. Pinch 2-applies more pressure, takes the characters into the jaws of defeat, make sure it's bad
7. Resolution-everything works out or it doesn't

This is a good outline to have in mind, but keep in mind everyone doesn't write this way. Some people are discovery writers-meaning they discover their story as they go. Most will find that they have all seven of these points but they don't necessarily know what they are the first time they sit down to write.

I'm a discovery writer. It's have the fun for me to write that way, but one thing I strongly agree with Dan on is you have to begin with the ending. Otherwise you end up going in circles not sure what you're doing or where you're going. I don't mean you have to have all the particulars already worked out, just know how you want the story to resolve.

Hopefully this helps some, if it doesn't everyone has to find the best way that works for them. Just remember you have to know where you want to go or you end up wandering nowhere at all! :)

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