Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Which Way?

For years I lived life as a non-fiction writer. I blissfully ignored all the ins and outs of writing fiction--they didn't apply to me. When friends discussed their characters as if they were real people, I smirked. Puh-leeze! None of this "hearing voices" for me!

And then ... I wandered over to the "dark side" and tried my hand at writing fiction. Why? Because I was burned out with magazine and book deadlines. I swore I wasn't going to write another word ever, ever again.

Within days of my pronouncement, I found myself unearthing the snippet of a book idea and playing with it. No pressure. Just fooling around. Now I am meeting with a weekly critique group, producing a chapter a week. Sometimes I'm begging the voices to say something--anything--to give me a clue as to where the plot of my WIP is going!

And, yes, I'm learning the rules of writing fiction. I know I need a plot. I know I need to develop my characters. I know there needs to be conflict. Point of View. Dialogue. Character arc.

I also know there are lots of different tools out there to help me develop my book idea. I stumbled across a new one recently. The January issue of Writers Digest includes an article by Karen S. Wiesner, author of From First Draft to Finished Novel. In her article, Your Novel Blueprint., Wiesner recommends a Story Plan Checklist that helps a writer pinpoint key elements like:

*character descriptions
*plot conflicts
*evolving goals and motivations

To download sample worksheets or checklists to help you craft your novel, go here.

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