ON WRITING

Remember writing doesn't love you. It doesn't care. Nevertheless, it can behave with remarkable generosity. Speak well of it, encourage others, pass it on. A. L. Kennedy

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

#IWSG April post -- Story Genius

Here we are gathered around the IWSG campfire again, swapping war stories! And it's April! Time for the A -Z Challenge for those of you who participate. For the WEP/IWSG, it's time for the April Challenge. (See end of post for details).

Alex's awesome co-hosts for the April 3 posting of the IWSG are J.H. Moncrieff, Natalie Aguirre, Patsy Collins, and Chemist Ken!
Visit these awesome peeps when you can!

April 3 question: If you could use a wish to help you write just ONE scene/chapter of your book, which one would it be? (examples: fight scene / first kiss scene / death scene / chase scene / first chapter / middle chapter / end chapter, etc.)


That's easy. The opening scene of my Paris novel where so much has to happen to set up the story. I've been going through the Story Genius with a friend. This how-to book isn't for the faint hearted. It takes two, baby... 

Most of you are way ahead of me in the published author game, but that doesn't mean I haven't created an arsenal of stories and novels in various stages of dress or undress that will be published soon. I know what stories I like to read. It can be hard to write those stories. Just read a quote by Lisa Cron in her earlier book, Wired for Story - '...most people know what a story is until they sit down to write one.'

Image result for story geniusStory Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel (Before You Waste Three Years Writing 327 Pages That Go Nowhere) 



Image result for clip art image of praying handsAfter writing another 12 pages of notes fleshing out my MC's life before page one, I feel like I'm getting somewhere. After plotting and writing this story for about three years, LOL. Perhaps I'll be much quicker when I apply the principles to my other novels setting myself up for a quick launch. Right now I'm back to a Chapter One rewrite. The rest of the novel should fall into place now...

Here's the blurb for Story Genius in case you're interested:

It’s every novelist’s greatest fear: pouring their blood, sweat, and tears into writing hundreds of pages only to realize that their story has no sense of urgency, no internal logic, and so is a page one rewrite. 

The prevailing wisdom in the writing community is that there are just two ways around this problem: pantsing (winging it) and plotting (focusing on the external plot). Story coach Lisa Cron has spent her career discovering why these methods don’t work and coming up with a powerful alternative, based on the science behind what our brains are wired to crave in every story we read (and it’s not what you think). 

In Story Genius Cron takes you, step-by-step, through the creation of a novel from the first glimmer of an idea, to a complete multilayered blueprint—including fully realized scenes—that evolves into a first draft with the authority, richness, and command of a riveting sixth or seventh draft.

Here's to writing with authority, richness and command.

Speaking of which, sign ups started for the WEP/IWSG April challenge, Jewel Box, on April 1. Rub your Aladdin's lamp, and come up with a flash fiction, non fiction or poem that fits the challenge -- or fits your letter of the day if you're in the A - Z Challenge.



Have a great month! Hope to see you signed up at the WEP website! Even if your writing is not yet at genius level, we'd love to read it!







43 comments:

  1. Hi,
    I love the quote. Most people know what a story is until they sit down to write one. So true. I guess for me, a lot hangs on the willingness to read and to learn how other authors write their stories and then to take those bits of wisdom, I glean and develop the best way to write for me. I too have a bunch of unpublished works on my plate as I work on finishing my first baby. It is difficult to stay the course as the months increase into years, but keep going at it. Regardless of whether it is three years or ten, you'll get there and you'll be glad you didn't quit when you arrive at your goal.
    All the best my friend.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd rather take my time and publish a rip snorter of a story. I read too many shallow attempts on Kindle where the writers just skim and don't create deep characters. But that's just me.

      All the best to you too my dear friend

      Denise

      Delete
  2. I'm already a detailed outliner, so that might help me even more.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Last year, I bought a paperback copy of Wired For Story. I had to place an order and have it shipped from abroad.
    It's an amazing resource and great investment. Not a book that you can rush through. Actually, I've been lingering on the first part of the book. Then I put it aside for a while, then returned to it, back and forth, back and forth - since it's also advisable to work through the book in conjunction with one of those 'stories and novels in various stages of dress or undress' that you mentioned.
    It's an ongoing learning process where you get to savour what the book has to offer... and apply to your WIP.
    However, the Story Genius blurb sounds like it's an "easier" book to work with, in terms of working on a story from concept to finish.
    I'll have to get that book too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. " I had to place an order and have it shipped from abroad.' Aussies have to do that all the time. I prefer hard copies for how-tos. Kindle is too annoying to navigate. Story Genius is better than Wired...IMHO. I'm lucky I've got someone to help me with it. All the best!

      Delete
  4. I struggle with my opening scene too and am currently thinking about how I can improve it. Glad you feel like you're getting somewhere.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It can be hard and I hate to think how many eyes have gone over it, each with differing advice. We'll get there...

      Delete
  5. Those kinds of books absolutely terrify me, but then again, I'm a pantser. If I plan, it's already over.

    I hope you're able to find your way through it--I'm sure the solution will come.

    ReplyDelete
  6. If there is a third alternative, I am all for it.

    ReplyDelete
  7. That sounds like a great writing book/tool. I hope it works for you.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hmmm. I may have to check Story Genius. I'm somewhere between a pantser and detailed outliner.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love that quote! I feel that way all the time. Best of luck with your writing! I hope everything falls into place.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm in the pantser camp. I can't plot for beans or I lose all incentive to write the book. All I need is the hear the characters and I'm off. Now, having written that, that's the sticky issue. Sometimes these "people" will have nothing to do with me; then I'm sunk.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My default is pantser but then I write myself into a brick wall. I go cross-eyed when I try to outline. I'm not that sorta person. But digging into a MC's psyche -- I so can.

      Delete
  11. I love that it worked for you. You never know what is exactly right for a personal writing style. Congrats!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jacqui. If I'd read this 3 years ago it wouldn't have made much sense. It's where we're at that makes how-to books useful to some, useless to others.

      Delete
    2. I've found that, too, in my writing. My latest book took 20 years to write. I am amazed by how much fundamental stuff I changed mostly because I changed as a writer.

      Delete
  12. I think I want to read this book. Maybe it will help with my consistent trouble with the endings of my stories. Thanks for mentioning it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you'd enjoy it Olga. We all have our weaknesses in writing. Mine's the opening scenes.

      Delete
  13. I think most of us fall somewhere between plotter and pantser in practice. I find my outline evolves as I write the story, and I never write an a linear start-to-end fashion anyway. The only real test in the end is - do you end up with a good story or not?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's the kicker, Ian. I need more help to get there.

      Delete
  14. I am a bit of both, depending upon where I'm at in the process. I've gotten great advice from James Bell's Write From the Middle, because I am not a linear writer.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Sounds like a very interesting resource, Denise. A heap of great recos here in the comments too. Just loved the line - stories and novels in various stages of dress or undress. Resonates. More of them undressed and having bad hair days than dressed in my case, I'm afraid :)

    All the best with the writing! You are a wonderful writer and you'll get there, I know. See you at the WEP/IWSG campfire soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Nila. One day we'll get dresses on all our stories waiting in the wings, LOL>

      Delete
  16. Hi Denise ... I never realised how difficult it obviously is to write a novel or book ... I'd never had the desire to do so - but now I roam amongst authors, writers and bloggers I learn and realise that I will probably never write a book in the conventional state ... I'm way too irreverent to do what people expect - but 'tis me.

    I will be here for WEP ... love the idea of books being undressed, dressed or just having bad hair days as Nila mentions above - take care, good luck with the writing and all your projects ... cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Hilary. It's not too hard to write a mediocre novel, but now that I've waited this long, i want mine to be very special. And that's a lot of work. But I'm willing to do it.

      Delete
  17. I absolutely adore Story Genius-- I only wish I'd found it earlier in life. This book is a blessing for anyone writing a genre novel, as is the other one, Wired for story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too. As I was just saying to Diane below...SG is the book you need to work through before you apply your other plotting go-tos...

      Delete
  18. My fav writer's book is Goal, Motivation, and Conflict by Debra Dixon. That, along with Chris Vogler's The Writer's Journey, are my go-to books when I need help. I'll have to check out Story Genius.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, got the GMC by Dixon. Story Genius is where you start before you apply what you learn in GMC. Hope the launch is going well...

      Delete
  19. I struggle with the opening after the draft, rewrite, and revisions. Then that opening becomes the sticky part.

    ReplyDelete
  20. That book sounds a little like the wish we're asking about this month. Still be a lot of work though. Hope it does good for you!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I'm looking forward to when you press that publish button. :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. Really liked this upbeat, focused discussion of your writing and reading. Yes, I'm in the very same spot, more than ready to start the second round of revision by re-analyzing my characters! It does take me about 3 years to write one story, and this time around is a special challenge -- new genre! Now I'm going to look for STORY GENIUS. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete

I love hearing from you! Hit me with your wisdom!