Here’s a new writing how-to book from author Suz deMello, for the rest of you poor fools trapped in NaNo-land. (I am, too, I’m just not formally keeping a wordcount on the three manuscripts I’m trying to hammer out over the next 45 days.)
I have two reasons for giving blog space to this one.
1) I passionately agree with the author’s assertions about characters, conflicts, and plots. It took me too long to learn, but I got there. (I’m the idiot currently turning a 54K novel into an 85K novel. How? Characters building plots, that’s how.)
2) Suz is one of the many Ellora’s Cave authors left wondering if they’ll ever see rights reversions, proper treatment, or even royalty checks out of the ongoing death-spiral that appears to be Ellora’s Cave. A few weeks ago, I made the promise that, while I would not review EC titles while this court case was going on, I would be happy to give EC authors blog space to promote their non-EC books. That offer still stands, and will continue until EC either drops their case against Dear Author, goes bankrupt and the authors get their rights back, or the EC backlist is sold to a responsible third party with a clue about publishing.
Now onto today’s offering. Here’s Suz’s intro, in her own words:
Plotting and Planning–a #Writing Manual, Just in Time for #NaNoWriMo! (@suzdemello #MFRWAuthor #iamwriting)
Hey there, aspiring authors! Ever wondered how an author plots and writes a book?
Wonder no more! Suzie deMello is here to tell you the secrets, or at least a few of them.
Plotting and Planning is Suzie’s second writing treatise, following the best-selling Write This, Not That!
Here’s the blurb:
Another engaging, witty writing primer from Suz deMello, whose Write This, Not That! was an Amazon bestseller. Plotting, point of view, character creation, conflict and much more are examined in this brief but pithy writing manual. A must for the serious writer who wants the basics without boredom.
Says bestselling author Kylie Brant: “Sue has written a concise manual that is valuable for both beginning and seasoned writers. Going to write a book? Read this first!”
From Silver James: “Suz deMello’s PLOTTING AND PLANNING is a concise, informative, and entertaining look at writing a novel.”
Here’s an excerpt to pique your interest:
How does an author write a book?
Unfortunately for aspiring authors, this is not an easy question to answer. It’s tantamount to asking, Where do authors get their ideas? which, believe me, is our least favorite question. I often tell people I get them at Sears—they’re sold by the dozen in the basement between the barbecues and the bikes.
In reality, I get my ideas from almost anywhere. Maybe a magazine article about a place or event. Perhaps someone I meet or something a person says may trigger a train of thought that will eventually lead to a book. Maybe travel to someplace new ignites the creative spark that will inspire me.
Here’s a better question: What are the building blocks of plot and story?
CHARACTER AND CONFLICT
How important are these? Quite simply: No characters, no conflict. No conflict, no plot. No plot, no story. No story, no book.
It’s as simple and as difficult as that. Without characters with solid inner and outer conflicts, there’s no story, because your story is the journey that the characters travel to solve their conflicts. This journey may be physical, with characters actually going somewhere (Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz), or it may be emotional (Scout in To Kill A Mockingbird).
Diane Farr, a multi-published Regency and teen novelist says, “Conflict arises from character and plot arises from conflict. The most basic level is interesting people in an impossible situation.”
Plot and story should flow naturally from the characters and their conflicts. Otherwise, the story and the events in it will seem forced.
If you like what you read, here’s where you can buy the ebook:
About Suz deMello:
Best-selling, award-winning author Suz deMello, a.k.a Sue Swift, has written seventeen romance novels in several subgenres, including erotica, comedy, historical, paranormal, mystery and suspense, plus a number of short stories and non-fiction articles on writing. A freelance editor, she’s held the positions of managing editor and senior editor, working for several including Totally Bound and Ai Press. She also takes private clients.
Her books have been favorably reviewed in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus and Booklist, won a contest or two, attained the finals of the RITA and hit several bestseller lists.
A former trial attorney, her passion is world travel. She’s left the US over a dozen times, including lengthy stints working overseas. She’s now writing a vampire tale and planning her next trip.
And her blog: http://www.TheVelvetLair.com