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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Return to the fold

Yep, my eyes are with me this time. Two surgeries and several weeks without glasses later, here I am. I certainly plan for this to be a continuing visit.

During my absence, I did read a couple of books on writing -- very slowly. My eyes get tired fast, so it was read three or four pages, put the book down for a while, insert eye drops, then start again. Rather than put what follows in our book advisory column, here's my take on what I learned:

Mysteries, suspense, action/adventure genres rely heavily on plot--the idea--to move the story along. In his book, "The Plot Thickens," Noah Lukeman alerts the reader/writer to another facet of fiction writing, the character-driven plot. The author details how to craft a dynamite story with life-like characters with whom readers can identify, or at least recognize. He shows novice and experienced writers alike the way to build story using all the elements of writing. Through the use of examples, he leads the reader/writer through development of exquisite characterization, place, journey, and conflict. The book is an easy read and should be a fast one but I found myself stopping, bookmarking a page, and excitedly going back into all of my works-in-progress to incorporate his editorial insights. Lukeman also authored “The First 5 Pages.”

I am now persuaded that I should try to integrate character-driven plots into my plot-driven stories. Now for the hard part . . . doing it effectively. Well, I'm off now to give it a try.

Keep on keeping on and I'll try to do the same.

cj

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