by Michael Mohr
One of the toughest things to do in fiction or creative nonfiction writing, in my professional opinion, is to create strong, believable tension. Without tension—between the protagonist and a villain, the protagonist and him/herself, the protagonist and the environment, etc—you really don’t have much of a story. And it’s unlikely readers will want to follow you far through the jungle of your narrative.
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Writing a novel is hard, especially if you’ve never done it before. You’ve spent hours researching, building your world and becoming an expert on your characters. Now you’re ready for the next step: planning (also known as plotting).
While some people like to write organically (letting the story take you in whatever direction feels right), having a detailed outline can help make the novel-writing process a lot less daunting and overwhelming. But how exactly do you plan a novel?
Essentially, there is no right or wrong way to outline your novel. Each story is different and needs to be told in a different way.
However, if you need a bit more guidance on how to plot out the next bestseller you know you have inside you, the three-act structure might be for you.
Defining The Three-Act Structure
The three-act structure is a popular screenwriting technique that revolves around constantly creating set-ups, conflicts and resolutions. With this structure…
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One of my hugely informative author profiles. Don’t do this. Author profiles are an essential part of book marketing and promotion. An a…
If you are planning on writing a story, there is something you need to consider besides basic plot structure. You need to determine your Inciting Incident.
What incident will compel your protagonist to act?
What Is an Inciting Incident?
To incite means to stir, encourage, or urge on; to stimulate or prompt to action.
An inciting incident, then, is an event that forces your protagonist to act, compelling them to stop sitting around and do something.
Shawn Coyne has this to say about inciting incidents:
No matter the unit of story (beat, scene, sequence, act, or global Story) what the inciting incident must do is upset the life balance of your lead protagonist/s. It must make them…
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Emotional wounds are tricky to write about.
Abuse, betrayal, victimization, and the death of a loved one may exist in our characters’ pasts and so must be explored.
But these are also real life events that cause damage to real people.
So as I talk today about personalizing wounds for our characters, please know that I’m aware of the pain they cause in our world, and I applaud the courageous individuals who fight to come to grips with them every day.
Why Wounding Events Matter in Fiction
Wounding events greatly affect a character’s development, so they’re important to identify.
These painful experiences are deeply impactful, giving birth to life-altering fears, new habits and behaviors, even flaws meant to protect her from facing that pain again.
Wounding events are aptly named because they change who the character is; until they’re faced and addressed, she will never be whole.
But pinpointing what…
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