July 29, 2009

What Every Writer Needs to Know About Plot and Structure, Part 2

So, now that you know how plots used to be structured, how does today's writer plot out a novel without repeating the same-old, some-old?

Liz Strauss says the number one thing readers want from writers is for you to use an idea that is intrguing to you.

"If it intrigues you, I’m likely to be intrigued by it too. At the very least,
I’ll be curious about what it was about the idea that captured your interest and intrigued you. "

Read the rest of the article here.

This is vitally important. So many writers are overly concerned about "what's hot", what's selling, or what agents and publishers are looking for. While you should know your markets, don't let trends decide what you're going to write about. There are two good reasons:

1) The trend will most likely be old news by the time your manuscript is ready for publishing. (Getting a book to the shelf usually takes several months after you write it.)
2) If it sells, and you don't love it, you're going to hate being a writer. You'll be expected to write more of what you don't love. This job is way to hard to be worth it unless you're passionate about writing.

Create, Complicate, Resolve: The Keys to Keeping Your Readers Interested touches on the art of gripping your readers without letting them down by "cheating". (We've all seen it before--'and then I woke up.') Her advice:

Create a believable story where actions are followed by consequences. In real
life, situations happen this way, so don't hold back in your stories. It may
seem cruel, but your audience will actually thrive on how much trouble you
can heap on your protagonist while watching him drag himself over broken
glass by his lips to save the woman he loves.

Read the rest of the article here.

In Part 3 of What Every Writer Needs to Know About Plot and Structure, I'll post some freebies and other resources that helped me with plotting.
Part 4 will be on beginnings, middles, and ends.

You can read Part 1 here.

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