Choose, Sacrifice, Adapt

Sam, One of the key elements to a story is having the protagonist make a sacrifice–pay a heavy price–at the climax or breaking point; what makes that good is when the author has had enough build-up to get the audience to care about the protagonist’s sacrifice and how they adapt. There is the creation of…

The First Spell: ‘Philosopher’s Stone’ Part II

Sam, In ‘The First Spell: Philosopher’s Stone Part I’, I discussed the expertise of the Scholastic’s layout job, and how Jo begins her story on a plane we (as uninitiated Muggles) can understand. She then gradually transfers our interest – our support – for characters from the Dursleys very quickly to their severely oppressed nephew, Harry….

When the Turkey’s Ready and Only Then

Sam, I write to you this post at a timely moment. November hosts the annual challenge many writers will take up: National Novel Writing Month. The objective of NaNoWriMo is to compose a 50,000 word manuscript within the dates of November 1 and November 30. Whether or not you accomplish the assigned criterion by November’s end…

Turning Over Tension

*SPOILER ALERT* Sam, I recently read an article about some advice Donald Maass gave in in his Writing a Blockbuster Novel workshop. He told his students to “cut scenes set in kitchens or living rooms or cars driving from one place to another, or that involve drinking tea or coffee or taking showers or baths, particularly in…

Write What You KNOW

Sam, The title of this post might be a phrase you’ve heard of before. If you’re a writer or just familiar with any great writer (Stephen King for instance), then you’ve heard this piece of advice repeated. It’s a word from the wise on a practical approach to writing. I wish to augment this truth…

Outline Success?

Sam, Due to the results of my most recent discussion regarding Project Stripes with a friend, I have decided to branch out and try new methods of plot crafting. If it promises an improvement to the work, I am always open to different angles of creating a story. He told me the beginning, out of the story as a…