Monthly Archives: March 2017

How to Choose Your Story’s Structure

rolling up sleeves right.pngNow that I’ve agreed to value lessons more than successes, I’m rolling up my sleeves to make major revisions on my current work in progress. I participated in a Webinar last night titled “How to Choose Your Story’s Structure” (recommended by my writing coach).  The presentation opened up a whole new area of thought for me regarding “structure”.

Hopefully I’ll devote subsequent posts to topics covered in the Webinar, (you can email Beth Barany to ask if she’ll repeat this Webinar in the future) but I’m going to focus first on material Beth referenced from a book titled The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne.

recumbent bike left.jpgToday I watched the first of five (free) YouTube videos regarding Coyne’s Story Grid. They were easy to watch while I huffed away on my exercise bike for eight minutes. (No judging here – I’m slowly building up my stamina!). The material filled in knowledge gaps that I realize will make my WIP stronger. I just ordered Coyne’s book and will read that in conjunction with watching the videos.

One of Coyne’s major points that hit me over the head is the idea of creating “obligatory scenes”. This concept proposes that different genre readers have specific scenes they look for when reading a particular genre. If these scene types are not included, the reader will feel disappointed and probably not read more of your work (or may put the book down before finishing}! I never heard the idea  of “obligatory scenes” before. I asked Beth during the Webinar if Coyne covered obligatory scenes for historical fiction, and she did not think so since historical fiction can include either romance, adventure, mystery, or other specific genres. I believe historical fiction, despite its inclusion of some of these other genres, DOES have some specific elements of its own. I’m looking to discuss this further with other historical fiction writers. Any takers?

Categories: authors, books, inspiration, obligatory scenes, Story Structure, Structure | 8 Comments

Value Lessons More than Successes

I recently heard a speaker say, “Value lessons more than successes.” The presenter also emphasized that there’s no failure, only feedback (Derek Doepker). I needed to hear that.

Over the past eighteen months I researched facts and then excitedly began to write my next novel, tentatively titled, All That Glitters. The project, about two orphans accompanying their guardian West on a wagon train just before the California gold rush, has morphed several times. Now, two-thirds of the way through, I recently paid a writing coach to provide feedback. The input I received made sense but implementing the critique will almost put me back to square one.

stomachpain4.jpegAs I allow the truth of the coach’s comments to sink in, the sickening pit in my stomach threatens to paralyze me. I had the same feeling when the middle school band I taught several years ago worked hard to get a Superior rating at a music festival. We performed well but only received a second place score. What more could we have done? I realized then to value lessons more than success.

Perspective – At first Band1.jpegI felt as though all the writing I’d done on All That Glitters was for nothing. Then I remembered that as a band teacher I always had students warm up on scales, arpeggios, rhythm exercises and chords to listen for intonation. I’d never have my students play those warm up drills for a concert, but they served as an important rehearsal technique that, in the end, helped to create a beautiful performance.

So with my writing. If I take my coach’s comments as feedback not failure, If I view my present word count as rehearsals and warm ups rather than a concert, then I’m that much closer to creating a well-tuned piece that will soon grace your shelf with a well-crafted, gripping story that you’ll find hard to put down!

Categories: Uncategorized | 3 Comments

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Blissful Scribbles

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ACFW - DFW CHAPTER a.k.a. DFW Ready Writers

"Nothing happens unless first a dream." Carl Sandburg

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Northern California Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers

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I make Children's Books

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"Nothing happens unless first a dream." Carl Sandburg

Cathleen Armstrong

"Nothing happens unless first a dream." Carl Sandburg

A Writer's Diary

Author, Educator, Consultant

Blissful Scribbles

Musings through the journey of writing my first novel

ACFW - DFW CHAPTER a.k.a. DFW Ready Writers

"Nothing happens unless first a dream." Carl Sandburg

ACFW SFBayArea

Northern California Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers

Letters to Noah

Spoken words are fleeting, but written words last beyond a lifetime.

Sontag Writing Dreams

"Nothing happens unless first a dream." Carl Sandburg

marsha ottum owen

I make Children's Books

Under His Wings

"Nothing happens unless first a dream." Carl Sandburg

Cathleen Armstrong

"Nothing happens unless first a dream." Carl Sandburg

A Writer's Diary

Author, Educator, Consultant