Whether you’re writing a book, a screenplay, or a blog post, it’s tempting to just dive into your writing project. You’re probably bursting full of ideas and you’re ready to take off and get going.
However, I think you will find that you will likely save yourself time and frustration, as well as create a better end product if you hammer out a solid premise before you start writing.
Writer James N. Frey defines a story’s premise as the following:
“That single core statement of what happens to the characters as a result of the actions of a story. The foundation of your story”
In his book Save The Cat, screenwriter Blake Snyder calls this the logline. Snyder has been writing screenplays for Hollywood for more than twenty years and the very first thing Snyder says that all screenwriters – and writers in general need to master is the art of “the one-line“.
Continue reading “Setting Your Book’s Hook In One Sentence”
Recently, while working on the second book of the Extraordinary Accounts of the Oskaloosa Oddities Society, a developmental editor, who was looking over what I had written, commented that a particular scene would work ten times better if a certain character was killed versus another. I’m here to tell you, the moment I read her comments, I started sweating profusely
Many writers become quite attached to the characters in their stories. In fact, they’ll never let anything bad happen to them at all. I’m guilty of this myself. I want my characters to triumph. I want them to win. But, as a storyteller I can tell you, this approach is both limiting and dangerous.
Good stories are always about characters caught up in struggle. The darker the struggle, the deeper the pull. The other day I was reading how J.K. Rowling has always maintained that killing off so many “Harry Potter” peeps was a difficult but necessary task: that they had to die in order to move the story forward.
Continue reading “Becoming the Writing Reaper – Knowing When To Kill Off A Character”