Guest Post

HAVE A BOOK TO PROMOTE? Lyrical Pens welcomes guest posts. Answer a questionnaire or create your own post. FYI, up front: This site is a definite PG-13. For details, contact cj

Sunday, September 23, 2018

At last . . . fall

Welcome to the first day of fall.
Since this post is going live on Sunday, Sept 23, I said “first day” because, officially, my local autumnal equinox occurred at 8:54 p.m. C.T. Saturday evening, Sept. 22.

copyright Jeff D. Johnston
What is the autumnal equinox, you ask? According to my eNews source, it's actually a dual-purpose event. It marks the beginning of fall in the Northern hemisphere and the beginning of spring in the Southern hemisphere. If you are geographically challenged, it means at 8:54 p.m. C.T. on Saturday, Sept. 22, autumn began officially in my space in the world, but a different season began on the other side of the equator:  Spring began on Sunday, Sept 23, at 3:54 p.m. S.T. in South Africa and at 11:54 a.m. E.T. in Australia. These time zones can be so confusing. The equinox does have astronomic logic to it, albeit some of it based on scientific imagination.

The word “equinox” means “equal nights.” Equal nights happen when the sun’s rays are exactly over the earth’s celestial equator, which is really an imaginary line: an abstract projection of the terrestrial equator into outer space. The terrestrial (or geographic) equator divides the Earth into the Northern and Southern hemispheres…0° latitude.

The other thing to remember is that after the equinox, the length of the days changes. They get shorter and cooler in the Northern hemisphere and longer and warmer in the Southern hemisphere.

Just thought you’d like to know, because
Copyright Jeff D. Johnston
maybe you can find a use for some of it in one of your novels. Setting is one of the more important pieces of a good scene, and weather will inevitably play a part in that. Personally, I’m looking forward to days when the heat and humidity along the Gulf Coast aren’t combining to reach triple digits. My protagonist is doing the same thing.

I just re-read a Jane Friedman** post that said that the main character might not really change at all, that the change readers see may be an illusion; that is, forces and circumstances in the story have created outcomes that cause the character to reveal his or her true self.  What do you think?

Upcoming book signing in Mobile . . .

Local authors are being featured. If you’re in the area, please stop by and say hi. I might be handing out candy…if it doesn’t melt first.

Books are acts of composition: you compose them. You make music: the music is called fiction.
                                                 .... E. L. Doctorow

Writers, if you have a book launch coming up and want to schedule a post on Lyrical Pens for your blog tour, drop me a note.

That’s it for today, folks. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.

5 Star Reviews
Stop by Amazon and pick up copies of DEADLY STAR and CHOOSING CARTER, (to keep me in good standing with Simon&Schuster), and if you take a moment to leave a review (good, bad, or just “I read this one”), I shall be forever grateful.
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Sunday, September 16, 2018

Writing the bones

cj Sez: To quote a friend of mine, hurricanes have the predicable trajectories of a Frisbee.
Hurricane Florence spaghetti model
   Please join me in praying for the victims of Hurricane Florence and helping when you can.
   “As I have mentioned before—” That’s my sneaky way to introduce a subject I’ve written about before, story structure.

   Back when I was still working full time, I spent three days in San Francisco at a screenwriting seminar led by author, lecturer, and story consultant Robert McKee. The experience was invaluable in showing me how to create the scenes that create a story. Then years later (in 2014), I happened across a post titled “Adapting screenplay to novels,” by author James Preston. Mr. Preston’s post explained how he reverse engineered a screenplay into a story.

   Side Note: The Oxford Dictionary defines “story” as:  An account of imaginary or real people and events told for entertainment.

The following is an excerpt from Mr. Preston’s post.

“Remember, a story is about somebody who wants something.  Something stops them from getting it.  They try to get it and either succeed or fail.

A Plot Point is something that changes the story, turns it into something unexpected, usually by changing the heroine’s goals.

Since I am talking about adapting this structure to novel writing, I will use page numbers to show locations in the manuscript.  Assume a 200-page manuscript.  We’ll see how it works as minutes.

Let’s talk about the bones, the skeleton that is one way of building your story.

1. Hook.  Something interesting happens that grabs the reader’s attention.  This is the very beginning of the story and it is important!

2. Twist. The story goes off in a different direction.  It’s not what you thought it would be.  This can come anytime before . . .

3. Plot Point One.  About 20% in.  For our mythical 200-page books, this is around page 40.

4. Midpoint. A watershed moment.  You guessed it.  Page 100 .

5. Plot Point Two. Everything the heroine did is wrong.  Page 160.

6. Climax. The heroine solves the problem, or doesn’t.  This is less precise.  Say around page 180.

7. Denouement.  Loose ends are tied up.  Everybody who wasn’t killed and eaten goes home.”

  So my question is, how would your novel stack up against Mr. Preston’s skeleton? Mine will need work.
BSP (blatant self promotion)
   A book signing is in my future and yours too should you choose to stop by. Sept 29 at Mobile Bookseller from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Local authors are being featured, so if you’re in the Mobile, AL, area, you are cordially invited to stop by and say “hey!”

That’s it for today, folks. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.

Stop by Amazon and pick up copies of DEADLY STAR and CHOOSING CARTER, (to keep me in good standing with Simon&Schuster), and if you take a moment to leave a review (good, bad, or indifferent), I shall be forever grateful.
Qrtly newsletter sign-up: