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Plotting and The Premise

Plotting is what creates the action in your novel. The technique varies. Some people are what writers call Pantsters or SOTP (writing from the seat of their pants) while some writers create an outline or synopsis. Often the outline or synopsis is sketchy, leaving openings to take interesting detours on the character’s journey. This allows […]

Difference Between Plot and Subplot

On the Writing Fiction Right blog, I often receive questions within the comments from writers, and sometimes I receive emails from newer authors asking questions. This question—What is the difference between a plot and a subplot—came to me a short time ago, and though I responded to the questioner, I decided others might enjoy an […]

Your Plot Drags? Fix It.

Authors don’t always realize their plot drags until they step back and take a fresh look. It’s always good to give your story a rest for a week or two, if you have time to spare, and then read with new eyes. The brilliant words can dull with time and that means authors need to […]

Grabbing Readers And Hanging On

Authors use all kinds of phrase that means the same thing. Grab the reader, hook the reader, create a page-turner, or write a keeper. Obviously all of these phrase mean an author wants to engage readers to the point that they can’t put down the book and once it’s finished, they can’t let it go. […]

Can a One-Day Plot Be Effective?

A while ago Jesse Young who follows this blog sent me a link to an interesting article  from, and I thought it might be of interest to you.  When we plot, most of our novels cover a span of time. Family sagas cover decades while suspense spans only in a few days. Romance usually last a few […]

Plotting Online Course beginning in January

Since you are all writers, I wanted to tell you about an inexpensive online course I will be teaching for three weeks in January sponsored by Outreach International Romance Writers, a chapter of RWA. Even if you are not a romance writer, this course is focused on plotting. Plotting and pacing work hand in hand, […]

Part VI Suspense – Plotting a Suspense Novel

Plotting is plotting. All the techniques you’ve used in good plotting work for all types of suspense novels, but suspense adds some elements that are not always found in other genres. A suspense falls into a similar pattern of the three act play that I discussed under plotting. Beginning (Act I)The beginning of a suspense […]

Fiction – A First Meeting

While reading a speech on Diversity In Action delivered by Heather Burns on October 2, 2007, I realized that what she talked about summarized three distinct ways characters respond to one another on first meeting. This works well for any novel, when two important characters first meet and especially in romance, the most widely read […]

Outlining #3 – Setting that makes a difference

From the list of screenwriting techniques from the Gideon Media and Film Festival, the third technique you can work with to enhance your story is using setting to make a difference in your story. 3. Setting should be specific and used to deepen characterization and conflict, not just a place to plop characters. Setting influences […]

Outlining #2 – Creating Character Arcs

In the Outlining for Screenwriting blog provided early, the second point deals with the topic of creating characters arcs. 2. Create individual character arcs. What does the character want? What does the character need? The need factor is often the hidden desire of the character. The difference between the want and the need are sometimes […]