Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Guest Post: Tabletop Gaming--How It Can Enhance Your Writing

I am delighted to welcome James Patrick to "Write Away" today. He brings a topic that is new to this blog and, likely, many others! Welcome, James. I'm sure readers will find your post very interesting!

We read books written by authors we look up to for advice and pointers, attend seminars and webinars hoping to find that small key to fully unlock our ability, and we are constantly trying to find ways to simplify our process. There are a great many tools out there, and some of them are a bit unorthodox. Today, I am going to share with you one of my favorite activities and hobbies that has helped my writing in ways I never imagined.

For those who are unfamiliar with the concept of tabletop role-playing games (TTRPG), please allow for this simplified explanation. A TTRPG is a game in which a group of players create a character based on the world the game takes place (known as a PC), and is lead on an adventure by a Gamemaster (known as a GM) through what we call the “theater of the mind”. Then, by the use of a series of dice rolls, the actions of the PC’s are determined to be achieved or failed.

Now, what if I told you playing these games was not only fun, but the entire process would help you beyond belief in your writing? Might give it a chance in the case, right? Well, here is the reason you should give it a try.

As writers and authors, we are all constantly trying to find ways to fine-tune our craft.

It should come as no surprise, right along with the importance of plot to a story, is the significance of character development. RPG’s give you a unique environment to not only create a wide range of characters, but to also become those characters during the gaming session. You act out their behavior, think their thoughts, and most of all, are an active part in their growth over time. By actually becoming the character you created, you have an insight beyond the simple imagining and writing that we as authors typically do.

Since I have discovered the TTRPG world, though I don’t play as much as I would like, the things I have learned from my experiences have been monumental in the character development in my writing. The perspective you gain from role-playing characters deepens your take on how your characters develop through your story. You learn to see through their eyes, feel their emotions, and most importantly, understand how they grow as a character in relation to a plot or storyline.

We have seen how being a player can help you as a writer, now let’s take a look at how running a game as a Gamemaster helps even more.

In the TTRPG world, the Gamemaster is the man behind the curtain. The GM not only runs the game, they create the story and encounters for the PC’s. In terms we as writers can understand, they are the master story-teller. Through the process of the game, they adapt an overall plot forward while ensuring the actual story is that of the players. I find there has been no better way to learn how to write a story and ensure the characters remain the most important aspect of your book.

In case you are interested in taking a look at what TTRPG’s are like before jumping in on a game, here are some of my favorite places and groups to watch. I hope you have enjoyed this article and as always, I hope to hear back from you about what you think.


James M. Patrick is the author of Ashes Will Fall, Rudy’s Rangers and the upcoming short story series Vega: Orc Slayer February 2018. This former soldier turned contractor currently works in Baghdad, Iraq and calls Stuart, Florida home.

James is highly active on social media and you can follow him on his Facebook Author Page and Fan Group; Twitter; or find the latest information on current and future projects at TheJamesPatrick.com

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

PlotOber--When NaNoWriMo Really Begins

Thank You NaNoWriMo for the term, PlotOber. I’m not even sure I am using it as you meant for it to be used, but I appropriated it for my own purposes. The Phoenix NaNo group put up three plotting methods to aid those using October for plotting and planning. I checked them out, but I’m sticking with mine.

Yes, it’s that time of year again. I just love this fall event—National Novel Writing Month, affectionately known as NaNoWriMo (or just NaNo to many of us). What’s the big deal? And why am I so excited about it every year at this time?

I get to officially start a new book on November 1st!

Right, I can start a new book any time I want, but NaNo is special. Somewhere upwards of a quarter to a half million people, worldwide, will embark on the adventure of writing 50,000 words in 30 days. I am part of this great zeitgeist of word energy. About 13% of us will “win” (meaning you got to goal). But the other 87% won, too. Because on December 1st they have more words written on a novel than on October 31st. That’s a win!

The novel I am starting is Tequila Mockingbird, book five in the “Dinner is Served” culinary mystery series published by a yet-to-be-determined publisher. I will share lots of recipes using alcohol, but I don’t promise there will be other recipes as well.

Early October is sign-up time. That means that almost all of October, for me, is spent plotting twists and turns and red herrings. I have an extensive plotting and planning process that I have described before for Potluck, book three in my culinary mystery series that powers me through to November 30th. No more saggy, soggy middles. Wahoo! No more wondering after chapter three what I’m going to write next. No more waiting for the muse to strike. My muse showed up in October and left behind a tidy pile for me to write about.

I was eating lunch with friends at an outdoor creperie in Flagstaff, Arizona and talking about my mysteries. My friends wondered at how I got my punny titles. I told them they just pop out at me, like Tequila Mockingbird. They laughed and then, “Did you just now make that up,” my friend asked suspiciously. “Oh, yeah. It happens that way all the time.” Making up titles is easy, but then I have to have a concept that matches the title. That takes more time.

For those who don’t know, a mockingbird mimics the calls of other birds, pretending to be someone else. In my story, Emilie, a woman who escaped arrest for the murder of her husband has resurfaced with a new identity after 25 years. I have her living in the neighborhood of my personal chefs, Alli and Gina and Gina’s mother, Maria. As her past is revealed, Alli takes on the responsibility of trying to clear Emilie’s name even while Alli’s fiance’s boss is seeking to prosecute her. This is the cold case he could never stop thinking about, so he wants closure.

So I have my premise and concept. Next for me in PlotOber is planning the theme and sub-themes, ten key events, writing my story treatment, writing the microblurb (elevator pitch), writing character sketches, and planning the 40 or so scenes on a grid (Expanded from 10 key events: who’s there, where are they, when is it, the point of the scene to advance the story, and what happens in the scene).

Busy month for me, right? But, oh, what fun! I just love beginnings! Join me in NaNoWriMo? Add me as a “buddy.”

Facebook: If you are a National Novel Writing Month participant, do you plan in PlotOber? Check out how I’ll be spending this month preparing for NaNoWriMo. http://bit.ly/2fmMiJ9

Twitter: PlotOber is when you get ready for #NaNoWriMo2017 by doing big planning. With prep, the 30 days/50K words fly by. http://bit.ly/2fmMiJ9

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Guest Post: Tips on Writing Dialogue

Hello, again, to a wonderful writer and friend. Marilyn Meredith writes two wonderful series, so she knows what she's talking about. Newbie or experienced writer, you'll pick up something from today's post. The really good news is that Marilyn has a brand new book out. Pick it up for a wonderful read.

Tips on Writing Dialogue

Though you want dialogue to be realistic sounding, don’t copy how we really talk such as:
“Hello, how are you.”   
“I’m fine, and you?” 
Leave all this greeting stuff and comments about the weather out unless it is important to the plot.

Dialogue should do one of two things: Move the plot along or reveal character.

Said and asked are better than the multitude of other dialogue tags such as responded, agreed, etc.

Better still use the character’s action as a dialogue tag instead.  “No way.”  Dan pulled out his gun.

Or use description as a dialogue tag. Cynthia’s multi-colored silk skirt swirled around her long legs. “Are you coming or not?”

Go easy on the exclamation points. If the dialogue is exclamatory enough, an exclamation point is unnecessary.  An exclamation point should never be used in narrative.  Elmore Leonard said, “Use only one exclamation point per novel.”

Don’t ever have a character tell someone something that they already know to get information across.  Maybe it is something that ought to be in narrative, but be careful of an information dump.

When writing, start a new paragraph every time a new person speaks or does something. This will help the reader follow what is going on.

Even if the conversation is between two people, if it goes on for long, put in a dialogue tag so that the reader knows who is talking. Of course, if there is a big difference in how each person speaks, this won’t be necessary.

For instance, if one person is educated, his grammar will be perfect. Another might use lots of clich├ęs, or use poor grammar. If someone is from the south, he/she will speak differently than someone from New York. Another might not use complete sentences. Listen to people carefully (eavesdropping works), and watch for different speech patterns.

Never have one person speak for long periods of time—when we’re talking to one another, we interrupt, change the subject, etc.

Be sure that the reader knows where the dialogue is taking place.  I’ve read too many books where I had no idea where the characters were having their conversation.

And my last tip, beware of talking heads. This means we need to see the characters and what they are doing while the conversation is going on. No one sits or stands perfectly still while talking—and this brings you back to the fact that you can use an action as a dialogue tag.

Phil scratched his head. “What do you expect me to do about it?”

I hope this will be helpful.

Marilyn Meredith

Did you find at least one helpful tip on writing dialogue? Share the tips with others using these copy/paste posts.
Facebook:  Marilyn Meredith helps writers craft sharper dialogue in their novels. Check out these "Tips for Writing Dialogue." Also, read about Marilyn's latest release in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, A COLD DEATH http://bit.ly/2wmfIyh

Twitter: @MarilynMeredith has a new Tempe Crabtree book out AND she shares her dialogue writing tips at http://bit.ly/2wmfIyh

Blurb for A Cold Death:

Deputy Tempe Crabtree and her husband answer the call for help with unruly guests visiting a closed summer camp during a huge snow storm and are trapped there along with the others. One is a murderer.

Anyone who orders any of my books from the publisher‘s website: http://mundania.com
can get 10% off by entering MP20 coupon code in the shopping cart. This is good all the time for all my books, E-books and print books.

Marilyn Meredith’s published book count is nearing 40. She is one of the founding members of the San Joaquin chapter of Sister in Crime. She taught writing for Writers Digest Schools for 10 years, and was an instructor at the prestigious Maui Writers Retreat, and has taught at many writers’ conferences. Marilyn is a member of three chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and serves on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. She lives in the foothills of the Sierra, a place with many similarities to Tempe Crabtree’s patrol area. Webpage:  http://fictionforyou.com Blog:  http://marilymeredith.blogspot.com/ and you can follow her on Facebook.

Contest: Once again I’m going to use the name of the person who comments on the most blogs on my tour for the next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery—which may be the last in the series.

Tomorrow I’ll be here:
Getting that Book Done—or Put Fanny in Chair and Write

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Quirky is as Quirky Does

We have a new post up in four days with guest blogger Marilyn Meredith. Next post after that is October 10th. NaNoWriMo folks will want to read that one, too: Plotober!

What is the difference between a character trait/habit and a quirk?

There are quirks in your behaviors as you write, quirks in your characters, and quirks in your writing. Perhaps there is some superstition involved. If I always put my coffee cup in that exact spot, all is right with the world and my writing will flow. If I always wear my nightie for the first two hours of writing, my writing will flow because I am comfortable and relaxed. Sound familiar?

Famous authors’ quirks have been noted for decades. There is something about us that wants to know what the famous do, right? And maybe there’s a little piece of you that says, “If I adopt Famous Writer’s quirk, maybe I’ll write gooder, too.” If you follow that line of thinking, here are some you might want to emulate from Celia Blue Johnson’s book:

Wallace Stevens wrote poetry while walking and then let his secretary type them.

Virginia Woolf composed for 2½ hours each morning while standing at a desk very like today’s standing desks.

John Steinbeck kept 12 sharpened round pencils on his desk for his drafts, always written in pencil. The round pencils helped avoid the callouses caused by traditional pencils.

Truman Capote wouldn’t begin or end a piece of writing on a Friday and would change hotel rooms if the phone number had a “13” in it.

Jack London wrote a 1000 words every day of his career.

Anthony Trollope wrote 250 words every 15 minutes, beginning at 5:30 a.m.

Stephen King won’t quit writing for the day until he has at least 2000 words.

Friedrich Schiller had to let apples spoil so he could write with their odor around him.

How about you? Do you have any strange/odd/unusual patterns or objects you must have to write? Perhaps like some writers you write to music selected for the kind of scene you are writing, or you burn candles/incense. Do you need absolute silence or do you need background noise?

Ava Jae nailed writers in her blog post “10 Quirks Only Writers Will Understand”.

We do have questionable search histories and simply cannot own too many books. Our characters are as real as our flesh and blood relatives and we’ll always choose to write a novel over writing a synopsis! Read her for more!

Are your quirks part of what makes you, you? Do your quirks give you your unique voice? Your tone? If so, think about how quirks relay, shorthand style, personality and attitude.

When your character gives everyone a “fun” nickname, manspreads, can’t say no to anyone ever, wears mismatched shoes/socks, picks at cuticles, paces/fidgets, always saves a favorite food to eat last, has a serious relationship with a pet rock, eats hot dogs/hamburgers on buns with a fork, repeats the last word of others’ sentences, and other such behaviors, you signal a good bit about your character.

Of course, not all of these quirks are in one character. Too many quirks detract. Pick no more than three, two is better, and use them to show character in situations.

Think about ways you can show your character through quirks and not just dialogue and action scenes. Subtle signals deepen character development.

If you found this post helpful, please share with others.

Facebook: Writers, what quirks do you have? What quirks do famous writers have? How can you show your characters through their quirks? http://bit.ly/2xlAJIT

Twitter: #writers, quirks are in us & in our characters. What are your quirks? What quirks do you put INTO your characters? http://bit.ly/2xlAJIT

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

"Leave Out the Part Readers Skip"

The title today comes from the mouth of one of the best-regarded modern writers. He had a way with words! Here are some more Elmore Leonard quotes for all you writers, beginning with his famous 10 writing rules:

“There are some people who have been reading me for years, and they keep saying kind things about the writing. That’s what you’re writing for, to get people to respond to it.” 

“It doesn’t have to make sense. It just has to sound like it does.”

“It’s my attempt to remain invisible, not distract the reader from the story with obvious writing.”

“My most important rule is one that sums up the 10. If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”

Elmore Leonard is famous for many things: his Raylan Givens book series that became the TV series, "Justified."; Get Shorty and The 3:10 to Yuma; and for writing spare and elegant prose across his 52 novels and short stories in westerns, crime fiction, and suspense thrillers.

He is a great one for writing quotes. So pithy and direct. So on-point. His writing rules are among the most shared of his quotes. The last one being the most shared: leave out the parts readers skip.

Ha! A genius statement. But, I wonder, how do I know what those parts are? A quick Internet search turned up some elements.

1)   Fast pacing is necessary. If not, re-write a scene or leave it out.

Pacing involves a balance of tension, energy, and calm. No book can be breakneck in every sentence. That kind of book would be like the plot heavy/character absent action adventure movies where something blows up every three minutes interspersed with car chases. Stock characters with no growth. That’s not your book!

2)   Snappy dialogue is necessary. If not, rewrite or leave it out.

Dialogue advances plot or reveals character. Examine the dialogue you wrote. If it does neither, dump it or re-write. Even better if you can get your dialogue to do double-duty.

3)   Setting should set the scene not dominate it. If not, rewrite or leave it out.

Literary fiction is the place for extended and rich scene setting. In the books most of us write most of the time, the job of the scene is to anchor the actions and characters. Checkov famously said, “If a gun is on the mantle in the first act, it must go off in the third.” Examine each part of your scene setting. What is necessary to advance the plot.

4)   Word choice must be appropriate to characters. If not, rewrite or leave it out.

I get called on this one all the time by my crit partners. If a word stops the reader, it’s got to go. Words should be like caramel flowing over ice cream, smooth and easy.

Oh, there are more stoppers that should be eliminated in my writing (and yours), but this bunch ought to get you started toward a cleaner, sharper manuscript with less skipping by your readers. Thanks, Elmore!

Bloggers need readers. If you found this pertinent, perhaps you could share on social media.

Facebook: Elmore Leonard’s writing advice was the inspiration for this post on leaving out the parts readers skip. Check out Sharon Arthur Moore at http://bit.ly/2wefJQ9

Twitter: Elmore Leonard said leave out the parts readers skip. How do you know what those are? @Good2Tweat has some ideas http://bit.ly/2wefJQ9

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Book Review: The Emotional Craft of Fiction

This book does more than give you strategies and tips and writing exercises. It does more than elucidate principles with stellar writing from others’ novels. The Emotional Craft of Writing is at heart a book about how to write an enduring book, a book for the ages.

What do “books for the ages” all have in common? They create a resonance that remains in the mind and heart of the reader. An emotional chord is played and reverberates long after the song has ended.

Maass’ is a unique book among my myriad writing craft books. From the first chapter you know this book will be different. He makes a strong case for taking the reader on the emotional journey of the characters, not just describing the journey.

Merely telling or showing those inner conflicts and effects is the skin-deep part of the novel. Getting to the internal organs and the skeleton is what we should be aiming to do. The visceral reaction, not merely the goosebumps of reaction.

You might not need to read this book if you want to be a good writer. Lots of serviceable and successful writers don’t tap the emotion of fiction as deeply as Maass directs us to.

But if you want to be a great writer, start here. Plan to read this book more than once. Get your stickies out to tag the segments that speak to your need as a writer.

As Maya Angelou said, “At the end of the day people won't remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” Maass understands that very well. His analysis of thousands of books over the decades informed and guided this book. The subheading delineates that: The Emotional Craft of Fiction: How to Write the Story Beneath the Surface.

Here are some quotes that show the depth of his expectations for our writing:

“How many novels have moved you to tears, rage, and a resolution to live differently?  How many have left a permanent mark, branding you with a story that you will never forget?”

“What makes them classics? Artful storytelling, sure, but beyond the storytelling, classics have enduring appeal mostly because we remember the experiences we had while reading them; we remember not the art but the impact.”

“What all that means is that readers fundamentally want to feel something, not about your story, but about themselves. They want to play. They want to anticipate, guess, think, and judge. They want to finish a story and feel competent. They want to feel like they’ve been through something. They want to connect with your characters and live their fictional experience, or believe that they have.”

“When a plot resolves, readers are satisfied, but what they remember of a novel is what they felt while reading it. Hooks may hook, twists may intrigue, tension may turn pages, and prose may dazzle, but all of those effects fade as quickly as fireworks in a night sky. Ask readers what they best remember about novels and most will say the characters, but is that accurate? It’s true that characters become real to us but that is because of what they cause us to feel. Characters aren’t actually real; only our own feelings are.”

“When readers feel strongly, their hearts are open. Your stories can not only reach them for a moment, but they can change them forever.”

“What shapes us and gives our lives meaning are not the things that happen to us, but their significance. Life lessons, revelations, changes, and growing convictions are what we think of when we ponder who we are.”

Each of the seven chapters concludes with exercises for you to apply what you were just taught. The seven chapters are:
~The Emotional Craft of Writing
~Inner versus Outer
~The Emotional World
~Emotions, Meaning, and Arc
~The Emotional Plot
~The Reader’s Emotional Journey
~The Writer’s Emotional Journey

Interspersed among the seven chapters are thirty-four “Emotional Mastery” elements (like moral stakes, shifting from tension to energy, and the emotional mirror) with exercises for you to internalize the lessons.

An appendix, “The Emotional Mastery Checklist”, provides you a list in one place of these thirty-four elements you need to embed in your writing. The depth of thinking Maass demonstrates is impressive. The task before us to learn the principles is daunting.

As I said, a remarkable book filled with the wisdom of what it takes to write a powerful book, words that will affect the hearts, minds, and souls of others.

Pick up your copy of The Emotional Craft of Fiction: How to Write the Story Beneath the Surface by Donald Maass. I think it’s his best yet.

Spread the word and let others know about this great new tool for writers. Copy and paste the messages or make your own post linking to this page. Thanks so much!

Facebook: Maass has outdone himself with his best writing craft book yet and one of the best of all times. Get an overview from Sharon Arthur Moore at http://bit.ly/2eN7Jzx

Twitter: @DonMaass’ THE EMOTIONAL CRAFT OF FICTION is a must-own book for #writers. See why at @Good2Tweat http://bit.ly/2eN7Jzx

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Should You Be Using Instagram as an Author?

Instagram seems to be everywhere and on the lips of many. Do you have a personal Instagram account? How about an author one?

I was curious about this feature on the social media horizon. Back a few years ago, everyone was talking about Pinterest. I thought it of no relevance to me. I enjoyed looking at the pictures of food and vistas, but there was nothing that drew me into the Pinterest world.

Until. Hmm.

I read an article about authors using Pinterest as part of their writer’s platform. Hmm. After reading more, I joined up and developed my boards. I wrote a blog post about Pinterest for authors on this blog. Check it out. I love my Pinterest Boards and am so happy I started them.

So, here we are a few years later, and I’m thinking, “Hmm. Is Instagram the new Pinterest in terms of something I should add to my platform?” I went hunting for the answer. 400 million+ users? Hmm.

After looking at tons of Instagram pictures on dozens of author sites, I’ve concluded that this one isn’t for me. Instagram is a largely visual medium with few words. So is Pinterest. One big difference for me, however, is that I just don’t see posting regular pictures to Instagram so my fans (they are legion, don’cha know) can follow my plot points or character development. To be honest, I don’t know how I’d make it work for me.

Maybe you are an author using Instagram very successfully. I’m happy for you. Post a link in the comments, and I’ll check you out. With Pinterest, benign neglect works. I periodically add to my boards or even create a new board as I did for “Intrepid Women.” People find me and follow me with little effort on my part.

You have to be more intentional with Instagram. It works best for authors who already have a large following. Those fans want to know see pictures of the next book signing. Use popular hashtags so you find a new audience to add to your fans. Also, follow others and interact. This is true of all social media.

Fans are eager for a cover reveal. They enjoy the pictures you snap for them to vote on who looks most like your protagonist. You can announce book releases. Show your human side with pictures of you reading someone else’s book, of you in your writing nook or researching. Run contests (like selfies with your book cover; one-sentence stories; dressing like a character, etc.) and give prizes (like your book; Amazon gift card, etc.). Post a character’s picture with a teaser quote. Ask questions to get fans interacting.

Instagram has to be for somebody. Sure, Pinterest does, too, but people (like me) go hunting for food porn and happen across new boards to follow. People with like interests sort of accidentally find you on Pinterest. Not so much on Instagram.

If you want to add Instagram to your platform stable, first build a base of potential followers by announcing on Facebook, Twitter, etc., and to your e-mail list that you are on Instagram and encourage them to follow you. Then post interesting content. Don’t post more than once a day (unless it’s a book release day, then you can post several times). Follow other authors (and other creative professionals) to see how they use Instagram. Get ideas everywhere to keep your content fresh.

Hmm. Did I just talk myself into jumping in to Instagram?

Intrigued? Curious? Want to read more about using Instagram as an author?

Bloggers need readers. Please share this post with others if you found it helpful. Here are some copy/paste messages all ready to go.

Facebook: Authors, should you be using Instagram as part of your platform. Sharon Arthur Moore’s post gives ideas and other resources if you’re thinking of trying it. http://bit.ly/2xB7cZo

Twitter: @good2tweat examines how and why #Writers use #Instagram as part of a social media platform. http://bit.ly/2xB7cZo

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Would You Take This Class?

Few writers make much (if any) money. Did you know that? You don’t do this to get rich because that reason and the lottery odds have a lot in common.

Over the years, I’ve thought about a variety of ways to supplement my royalties. I could sell some of my professional/writing craft books on Amazon’s used books section. I could write advertising copy for companies. I could write quick and dirty writing craft books and indie publish them. I even considered offering on-line classes. That’s a novel idea for a former educator, right?

I approached the co-founder of one of my favorite on-line writing class sites with a couple of ideas for teaching classes for them. Might they be interested? It turns out they might.

I’m not naming the site or the person (yet) I contacted since “interest” is a long way from “implementation.” I’m just trying out some ideas here. I’m looking for help. Tell me what you think.

One excellent suggestion I was given was to offer the class to a few beta participants so I could refine the class after the initial design. Great! I will do that!

In the meantime, I am working on the 20 class lessons I could offer. Here are the general areas I’ve come up with so far. In the comments section, please offer critiques, suggestions, options, and other ideas that might help me design this course.

First the title.

The course is sharing with others and having them try the elements that I use when I plan my novels. I am a mega-planner, most of the time. The system I’ve developed over the years is what helps me “win” National Novel Writing Month, “winning” being defined as producing at least 50,000 words in 30 days.Whether the participant wants to win NaNoWriMo or whether heesh just wants to try the jump-start apart from NaNoWriMo, this course is designed to ramp up the planning process.

So what would be a good title for a mega-planning class? Planning Your NaNoWriMo Novel? Write/Writing Your Novel in 30 Days?  Planning for NaNoWriMo? Or do you have another idea?

I would pitch this as being for novels not yet written, novel ideas not drafts.

Topics to be covered in 20 lessons (some take more than one day to present):
            Plotter or Pantser? A spurious distinction.
            Choosing a mentor text for assignments; what it is and
                   why it’s important
            Recommendations for several craft books for later
                  reading such as Larry Brooks' Story Engineering and 
                  James Scott Bell's Write Your Novel from the Middle 
                  and others
            What planning gets you and why you should do it
            Bell’s 14 signposts
  Bell’s five essential tent poles
            Premise vs concept
            Concepts and sub-concepts
            10 key events
            Character sketches
            Story treatment
            Scene grid Elements
            Using the scene grid for planning
            Writing the first scene

Lessons/Assignments (some take more than one day):
            Advantages of plotter. Advantages of pantser. Where are
                  you and why?
            Choosing your mentor text—the components: your 
                  genre; recent; well-written
            List craft books you’ve read and their influence on you
            What does “planning” mean?
            Find examples of Bell’s signposts in mentor text
            List your concept. List your premise.
            Identify your sub-concepts
            List your 10 key events
            Write five character sketches
            Write a three-page story treatment with main characters 
                   and plot twists including the ending
            Design your scene grid
            Fill in your scene grid from the middle out
            Write the first scene from your scene grid

So the question remains: would you take this course? Do you have suggestions for inclusion or change?

Bloggers appreciate you spreading the word. If this post helped you, tell others. Copy/paste the messages and post to your social media. Thanks so much!

Facebook: Sharon Arthur Moore wonders if you’d take this on-line writing class on how to plan your novel. What suggestions do you have for improvement? http://bit.ly/2xlWx4P

Twitter: Would You Take This Class? Give feedback for a proposed on-line writing class for novel planning. http://bit.ly/2xlWx4P