Stories Need Structure

Reading is fundamentally part of being a writer. Many writers start off as a reader. And over time they decide to try to write their own stories. At least that’s how I started. Unfortunately, reading stories does not teach you how to write stories. Stories need structure even if it’s applied at a subconscious level. A Pantser at Heart A pantser is a writer who starts writing without a plan. Years ago, that was me. I’d start with a voice and an idea. Yup, my characters talked to me, or through me. But my stories were unsatisfying. There was no pace, very little conflict, and too often, very little story. They weren’t the stories I’d dreamed of writing. More than Beginning-Middle-End I’m sure you’ve all heard that stories need a beginning a middle and an end. But that’s not enough. Many stories have beginnings and middles and ends. What they don’t have is pace or structure or, sadly, compelling conflict. Indie authors suffer from this most ONLY because self-publishing makes it easy to put it out there before their writing has matured. There are plenty of traditionally published authors whose stories suffer from a lack of understanding story structure. As […]

If She Loves a Rag Doll, Is She Still Evil?

In My Soul to Keep, there is a character who is a murderous psychopath. She’s been purposely programmed to be that kind of person.  So how do you go about creating a story villain who’s truly evil but has some redeeming qualities? If she loves a rag doll, is she still evil? HOW Fortunately I had a mentor who knew how. How did he know? First, he’s smart. Second, he’s studied successful fiction and movies for a long time. What did he say to me that gave me a clue? He reminded me that a great story villain isn’t all villain all the time.. He also reminded me to look at the villains in books I’ve loved. For example, in Dean Koontz’s The Watchers there is a creature who had been created to be a destroyer, a murderer. He’s loathsome in appearance in and in deed. However, there’s a scene where the investigator-character discovers the monster’s lair. In the lair, the monstrous villain has treasured objects that include a collection of Disney branded toys and movies. It made this reader’s heart soften a touch toward the monster. And it made the monster more real, less one dimensional. WHAT I DID I […]

How I Found the Right Editor

It was more than luck. Creating a book takes a team. I spoke about how I chose my cover artist. How I found the right editor for My Soul to Keep was to search for the right one several months before I needed one. It took some work, some due diligence, and some patience. But it paid off. Which Type? The first step in my journey to find the right editor was to research the different types of editors. It can get confusing. When you search the internet there are folks who say there are four types, five types, nine types, and more! But for most freelancers, it boils down to four general types. Developmental editors who work with you on the structure and arc of the story. Copy editors examine your finished story for consistency, grammar, and flow. Line editors address the writing style, language, and content on a sentence level. Proofreaders are the nit-pickers who look for typos and misplaced words or punctuation. Each writer’s needs, every novel’s needs, are different. I had a mentor who had helped me with developing the story. But my weaknesses were grammar and consistency. So I needed a copy editor. But there […]