Category Archives: Plot

Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers, 2017, and a Chance to Win a Googillion Dollars!

Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers is just around the corner. I can’t believe it. And we already have dates, and faculty, for next year. What? I know!

So

What would YOU do with a googillion dollars?

I would get allergy medicine that didn’t cause Alzheimer’s or dementia and the pills would really work.

#44

What is your main character’s secret desire? How does this work with the story and the major dramatic question?

Look closer. What is the real secret desire? Does everything in the novel point to this want? Will your character be better or worse if he achieves his goal?

How will you change after writing this book?

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Filed under Character, CLW, Exercises, giveaways, Plot, writing process

A Crime of Passion?

How are you coming with the writing prompts? Are you giving yourself thirty minutes a day to work on these different ideas? I’ve decided, when Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers (www.wifyr.com) is over this year, I’m gonna go back through all these and do each one.

One per day.

Perhaps I will post some of my results. There seems to be serious interest in this blog and I want to keep this going. (Imagine a gif with people laughing their heads off, literally.)

I keep bugging my friend, Trent Reedy, to write a book with me.

He is a boy.

I am girl.

We would have different points of views. This is good in writing.

But I can tell my friend isn’t interested in the ideas I come up with.

He’s very kind about it but he has no passion for my ideas.

Not too long ago Ann Dee and I brainstormed the next book we want to write together. We have this terrific start that’s a little scary because we’re only sorta sure where it will go. SO we wanted to think of something else.

 

As we went back and forth, the ideas I felt excited about, she was sorta like, “Uuuuummmmm.”

And then when she came up with a new idea, I was like, “Eeeeerrrrr.”

We didn’t share a passion. And without that–Trent Reedy and I or Ann Dee and I–can’t get a good book on the page.

You must care about your work.

# 38

Do you care about your novel?

Why?

Why not?

Is it worth the hours, the sweat, the worry, the writing and rewriting you must do?

Why?

Why not?

Is this book worth sticking though the tough parts?

Why?

Why not?

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Filed under Ann Dee, CLW, Exercises, Life, Plot, writing process

The Death Penalty-Pros and Cons

Sometimes we have characters in our novels that just aren’t doing anything to move the plot along.

Perhaps we like this character and so we mold and shape him. We give him the correct lines, witty banter. We even make him wowzers handsome.

Here’s the truth of it.

That guy’s gotta go.

If he ain’t pulling his weight, no matter how dynamic he is, you gotta get rid of him.

# 38

Look at the earlier writing prompt where you drew a circle, with your main character in the middle. All those lines lead to characters in the novel. Are they all important? Can you do without a few? Are there any people not doing their duty?

Every person who shows up in a book must DO something. No talking heads. No mannequins (unless you are Richard Peck writing SECRETS OF THE SHOPPING MALL. Mannequins WERE used in that story.)

So, get rid of all those who are weighing down the story.

And if they are super cool? Use them in another book.

 

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Filed under Character, CLW, Exercises, Plot, Uncategorized

Heartbreak at 36–When Life Doesn’t Go the Way You Hoped

(Are these titles bringing in more readers?)

(Can you believe we are at #36?)

Emotion grounds our reader in such a way that the reader should be changed at the end of the book. It is our duty, as writers, to allow the reader to feel. We do that by putting emotion on the page.

Once, many years ago, I asked a few amazing writers, how they put emotion on the page so that their books rang true-so they felt like real life. Jerry Spinelli said this:

“You need to experience that emotion yourself. You don’t have to be experiencing it as you’re actually writing, but you need to be able to tap the keg where the memory of it resides and, so far as you are able, relive it.”

Martine Leavitt gave me this advice: “Create a powerful story, and you will create powerful emotion. Novice writers sometimes try to spoonfeed their readers the emotion they want them to feel, but language has the great knack of diminishing emotion. Put an emotion into words and you will undoubtedly drain it of power. All you must do is write a great story, a story full of love, honor, pity, pride, compassion and sacrifice (Faulkner’s six), and your reader will feel every emotion you want her to feel.”

David Gifaldi answered the question this way:

“For me, emotion comes only when I have become close enough to the character
to feel what he/she feels at every turn in the story.”
#36
List important events in your story.
What do you feel as you write these parts?
How do you want your reader to feel?
How does your character feel?
Are you getting the emotion across?
How?
How can you de better?
Do you have Faulkner’s six in your story?
Do you know how your character feels at every turn?
Are you tapping into your memory keg?

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Filed under CLW, Exercises, First Line, Life, Plot, Voice, writing process

Sexy at Thirty Four

# 34

In the center of a blank sheet of paper, write your main character’s name. Circling your main character, write all the people s/he will encounter. Draw a line from that person to your MC.

When you have written everyone, no matter how small the interaction, write a brief description of how your character relates to that person. Are they friends? Enemies? Lovers?

Is it a teacher? The gas station attendant? A sibling?

As you write these relationships, decide if they’re fully formed (or as fully formed as one run-in can develop). Do you need to work on this relationship? How can you flesh these out?

Relationships offer dimension, plot, emotion, life, depth etc. Make sure EACH one in your book is developed.

 

 

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Filed under Character, Life, Plot, Uncategorized

Sexy Sexy Sexy Review

I heard if you give your posts good titles, you get more views.

Woot!

We may go up to TEN readers!

#33

Are you doing your one first line per day?

I’ve found having a slight idea helps me know what to write. Getting better at just saying anything and then thinking where the book may head. But I like having an idea and writing to that.

How many first lines do you have?

How many are great?

How many will lead somewhere?

 

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Filed under CLW, First Line, Life, Plot, Revision, writing process

Tuesday: Number Twenty-seven

 

Review time!

In 30 minutes, write all the things that could happen in your book. Even if you have done this once or twice, try to come up with new events.

Every novel is a bit mystery. Keep this in mind as you plug in ideas that might happen in your fabulous story.

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Filed under CLW, Exercises, Plot, Revision, Voice, writing process