Stop Killing Your Story! Why Suffering is Essential for Great Fiction – written by Kristen Lamb

Kristen Lamb published a blog post on why suffering is essential for great fiction. I find the article very useful and informative and definitely worth sharing.  Thank you Kristen for sharing your valuable advice!

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Just finished watching Season 7 of Game of Thrones and, of course, now I’m in the post-GoT depression. I will have to wait who knows how long to GET ANSWERS! I NEED JUSTICE! WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN?

AAAHHHHHH!

Though I do feel slightly robbed that any television season would be legally permitted to only have seven episodes, I must take the good with the bad. Thus, today I want to talk about what writers like George R.R. Martin do so freaking well and why the rest of us would be wise to pay attention and learn.

Even if you’ve never read or watched GoT, odds are you’ve probably read a book or watched a TV series that had your nerves wound so tightly you physically couldn’t stand the tension. I know there were times watching GoT that I literally had to get Hubby to pause so I could breathe, take Pippa outside for a moment and gather myself. Brace for more.

 

To continue reading the entire blog post go to:

http://authorkristenlamb.com/2017/09/stop-killing-your-story-why-suffering-is-essential-for-great-fiction/

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The Engine of Fiction—Meet the Antagonist – Post by Kristen Lamb

Kristen Lamb has posted an excellent article about the engine of fiction. I strongly recommend reading it. It’s an excellent guide for new writers.

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One of the major issues with first-time novels is that the young writer fails to understand what a novel really is. All great stories are about one thing and one thing only—PROBLEMS. More specifically? Every good story has one core problem in need of being resolved. Granted, there will be many other problems along the way, but they are the setbacks and are all related to solving the core problem.

The trouble is that many of us got our “author training” in school, which really is no training at all. That purple prose that scored us an A on our college short story won’t get us far in the world of commercial storytelling. Additionally,… – READ MORE

 

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The Seven Deadly Sins of Prologues—What Doesn’t Work and What Does

Are Prologues bad? Read in Kristen Lamb’s blog what she recommends. It’s another great post she published! Thank you Kristen.

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We writers have a vast array of tools at our disposal to craft stories readers will love. But like any tool, it helps if we know how to use it properly. Theme is wonderful. It can keep us plunging a story’s depths for years when used correctly. Applied incorrectly? It just makes a story annoying and preachy.

Description! Love me some description! But pile on too much and we can render a story unreadable.

The same can be said of prologues. Now, before we get into this, I want to make it clear that certain genres lend themselves to prologues. But even then, we are wise to make sure the prologue is serving the story.

So, to prologue or not to prologue? That is the question.

The problem with the prologue is it has kind of gotten a bad rap over the years, especially with agents. They generally hate them…

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The Single Largest Problem of Most First Time Novels

Kirsten Lamb provides us “firsties’ with a guide to write a good first time novel. Thank you very much Kristen. You’re an angel!

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Original image courtesy of flowcomm, via Flickr Commons Original image courtesy of flowcomm, via Flickr Commons

All righty. So we have spent a couple of posts talking about getting our head right when it comes to doing this writing thing. Once we get our heads in the game, then the practical How To advice gets a heck of a lot more mileage. Today we are going to talk about the writing of the actual novel.

When I started out wanting to become a writer years ago, I was so clueless I didn’t even realize I was clueless. I had an overinflated ego from all those years making As in high school then college English. I believed I could write so when it came to reading craft books? I thumbed through them and decided I didn’t want my writing to be “formulaic” *flips hair*.

Trying to take a short cut cost me a lot of time and wasted words…

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How to Write Endings that “Wow!”

Kristen Lamb provides us with excellent guidance concerning the endings of our books. I find this article extremely useful. After all I’d love to sweep my readers off their feet and would like them to come back to my next book, right?

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The End (2)Once again, I invited blogger and copywriter Alex Limberg to spread his nuggets of wisdom amongst us. Today, he is closing in on closings. He is showing us several “typical closing styles” you can use as templates for your own stories. Yes, just rip them off mercilessly. Alex brings in a few famous authors like Agatha Christie, George Orwell and Bret Easton Ellis, so you can see one brilliant practical example for each closing. Make sure to download Alex’s free checklist of “44 Key Questions” to make your own stories awesome. And here is the beginning of the end…:

The beginning, so they say, is the most important part of your story. And that might very well be true. Or how do you think your reader will get to experience your genius climax, if a sleep-inducing beginning has put her into a coma long ago…?

However, the end is…

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How to Write Mind-Blowing Plot Twists—Twisting is NOT Twerking

Kristen Lamb published a blog post about the difference of twisting and twerking – in literature. Yes! What a great helpful article! Thank you, Kristen!

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Okay so on Monday I talked about 3 Mistakes that Will Make Readers Want to Punch a Book in the Face. One of the mistakes involved the twist ending. Very often a writer believes she has written a twist when in fact, it is NOT a twist at all, it is a twerk.

Twisting the reader? YES. Twerking the reader? NO.

You’ve heard the literary term MacGuffin? For the sake of a simple analogy, I’m adding a new one and it is called a MacGyver 😛 .

How is a MacGyver a twist?

We know MacGyver is in a bad spot and he has two choices. The obvious one. A gun. Blast his way out. Or he has is det-cord, glitter, and coffee stirrers.

OMG! How can he ever survive?

MacGuyver uses what he is given and fashions the glitter, det-cord and coffee stirrers into a small incendiary device…

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Lies & Secrets—The Lifeblood of Great Fiction

Kristen Lamb has published a post about lies and secrets in the fiction world. I think it’s a very helpful post when it comes to character conflict. Thank you so much Kristen.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Image courtesy of Nebraska Oddfish via Flickr Creative Commons Image courtesy of Nebraska Oddfish via Flickr Creative Commons

It’s tempting for us to create “perfect” protagonists and “pure evil” antagonists, but that’s the stuff of cartoons, not great fiction. Every strength has an array of corresponding weaknesses, and when we understand these soft spots, generating conflict becomes easier. Understanding character arc becomes simpler. Plotting will fall into place with far less effort.

All stories are character-driven. Plot merely serves to change characters from a lowly protagonist into a hero….kicking and screaming along the way. Plot provides the crucible.

One element that is critical to understand is this:

Everyone Has Secrets

To quote Dr. Gregory House, “Everybody lies.”

All good stories hinge on secrets.

I have bodies under my porch.

Okay, not all secrets in our fiction need to be THIS huge.

Secret #1—“Real” Self Versus “Authentic” Self

We all have a face we show to the world, what we…

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