Businesses do it for survival, but I figured as a writer, I could glean my own form of a quarterly review.
I’ve just finished month four of my yearlong blog of 52: A Year of Writing Basics, Beliefs and Beauty.
A little late, my review is three months, plus one.
Each week, I am tackling a writing topic, starting with the basics of Plot, Setting, Character, Dialogue and Pacing to fire up the big guns in my writer’s toolbox.
The BIG guns, you ask.
Before opening the toolbox, I want to key in on the essentials of writing a story or novel.
There has to be a hook in the beginning that contains a strong inciting incident. This incident triggers the main character’s problem or submerges him or her into trouble. She wants something but has to face obstacles that block the path to obtaining her goals and desires.
The telling of her story begins in the middle of the action to achieve a level of pacing that draws in the reader. The exciting moment is what gets readers turning the page, which likely won’t happen if the telling is bogged down with back story or has to start at the beginning without anything interesting happening.
Wherever they appear in a story, flashbacks should retell what happened before the story’s action begins and are triggered by something specific, such as a character seeing an object and remembering something because of it.
The story unfolds as a series of scenes strung together with a beginning, middle and end, or the arc of the entire telling. The outcome of each scene is what moves the plot forward.
What the story is about and why it matters is the theme, which offers insights or comments about the human experience.
The setting grounds the character in his or her reality without drawing too much attention to the words.
Voice comes through word choice and how words are put together to describe things.
Unlike that of the author, a character’s voice is revealed in her behaviors and attitudes to those around her. Her dialogue is reduced to the essentials, leaving out the normal repetitions, tangents and diversions that occur in regular conversation.
The elements of fiction are just one aspect of my toolbox, as are my hammer, nails, screwdriver and pliers that represent my paper, pen, laptop, journals and the other things I need to do the writing.
The specifics of what is in a writer’s toolbox will be continued to next week, because my quarterly review has two parts. Like some CEOs, I need lots of paper to make a point.