December 15th, 2009

Looking to books for inspiration on how to begin

Fiction First Aid: Instant Remedies for Novels, Stories, and Scripts says that there are two parts to plot:
Choosing what happens in your story.
Choosing the scenes that show what happens.

The book also says that in a plot, the characters goes from "Who I am and what I have" to "Who I want to be and what I want."

And it sets some tasks:

Act 1: Set up conflicts
Plot conflict: make clear what the charactes want and some of the obstacles that stand in their way
Character conflict: Make clear why what they want is so important to them

Act 2: Increase stakes and/or decrease ability
Increase stakes: For example, competiting in the rcace is no longer just for the glory, but for the prize money that will pay for the protagonist’s education now her family has lost all its money.

Decrease ability: The characters have additional obstacles that inhabit their ability to get what they want (For example, they lose a job, break a leg, loved one becomes ill.)

Act 3: Payoff.
Scenes must equal or surpass the promise that is made by suspense.

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Cross-eyed and painless

I got about five hours of sleep last night. I was wandering around bleary-eyed at Winco (my favorite cheap food store and only available to those of you who live in Washington Idaho Nevada California or Oregon, thus the name) and everything seemed fuzzy.

Then I realized it WAS fuzzy.

When I wear my contacts, I have monovision. My right eye is corrected for distance, my left has a bifocal lens and is corrected for computers and reading. Only I must have switched them this morning.

But my eyes are not interchangeable. I am very right-eye dominant. And my left eye is even more near-sighted than my right eye.

I drove home very carefully.

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Sad echoes

I'm on a private Yahoo group with a very small group of authors. The group is not very active, and in fact, two of us have died. (Cancer and Hepatitis C. Both battles fought valiantly). But we resist the idea of formally disbanding.

A few minutes ago, I asked if anyone else in our little group had loaded an out-of-print book to the Kindle, the way I did with Learning to Fly (at

Curious, I checked to see if there were any messages. And in just a few minutes, there had been six.

The first one started with Re: Putting an OOP Book on the Kindle and read "X's family is monitoring her messages and will get back to you as appropriate."

The next one started with Re: Re: Putting an OOP Book on the Kindle. And had the same message

Then it was Re: Re: Re.

And Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

And then Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: ...

I'm not the admin, so I can't stop it.

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