Writing 101

“Words are like paint: each one is distinct, yet are fully “blendable” in their creation of a masterpiece” 

Keep it believable, even if your romance takes place on Enceladus, one of Saturn’s moons

No matter what the world in which your characters live, it needs to be believable and consistent throughout the entire story. Keep track of all the details, whether they are large or small, and be sure to carry these “threads” from start to finish. Readers will immediately notice if, for example, the seaside town in which your heroine lives in Chapter 1, has moved to an inland location in Chapter 22. There are rules to everything. Ensure yours make sense, and address common elements that apply to all. A good rule of thumb is to consider “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs,” where physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs are outlined. 

Stories need to feel familiar, yet fresh, as well as resonate with readers

Stories need to have a sense of familiarity about them so their themes resonate with readers. Romance stories in particular have to focus on the hero and heroine where both characters end up together and start the next phase of their lives. Common themes such as love, loss, faith, family, home, children and finances can apply to contemporary, paranormal, historic – all romantic genres. It’s the author’s unique spin on the familiar, which makes a story fresh and alive. Athough a good romance should not have “falling in love” at the center of its plotline, “love” needs to weave throughout the entire story so that readers travel alongside the characters on their romantic journey.

 GMC: No, not “Good Morning Canada,” but “Goals, Motivation & Conflict”

Goals relate to the characters’ internal and external objectives. Motivation relates to the “why” they strive toward these goals. Conflict arises out of internal and external circumstances and beliefs, as well as characters’ actions and inactions. Tension arises when to achieve (A), (B) must be let go of. And when that happens, the result is (C) which means that (D) now needs consideration. Think of a story as the web of a spider: synchronous strands woven together in a cohesive and seamless form. A highly referenced book is “Goal, Motivation and Conflict” by Debra Dixon.

Save the Whales! Save the Cat!

Another excellent resource is Blake Snyder’s book, “Save the Cat.” Initially written for screenwriters, Snyder breaks down a story into “beats” where plot pacing, character development and emotional/spiritual growth are addressed. His structure is widely respected amongst writers of all walks and genres and solidifies a story into an emotionally driven one where the desired outcome is reached in the most satisfying of ways.

 All stories need to answer this one question: “Why should readers care?”

 The single, most important question one must consider when creating a story is: “Why should my readers care?” If readers aren’t emotionally invested in a story, the story won’t make a deep and meaningful impression, and the author won’t have gained a follower. Ask yourself this: What resonates with you? What moves you into cracking a smile? Taking a particular action? Shedding a tear? Unlike some characters, readers are human and respond to human emotions, challenges and truimphs. Be sure to take that paintbrush, a.k.a., writer’s pen, whether virtual or solid, and let the letters flow into words; words into sentences and sentences into paragraphs – all “flavored” with emotion and feeling.

Copyright © 2020 Cara Sands. All rights reserved.

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