The world would not be complete without Jeeves and Wooster.
Most of you know Hugh Laurie as the irascible Gregory House, doctor extraordinaire, human being just barely. But years ago he and his best bud and comedy partner Stephen Fry played the leads in A&E’s televisation of some of P. G. Wodehouse‘s Jeeves and Wooster stories. Track them down if you like a good story and some 1930s English wit.
In one adventure, Bertie (that is, Bertram Wilberforce Wooster, whose last name was, in the mists of the distant past spelled “Worcester” like the shired sauce you put on your burger) and his greatest detractor, Sir Roderick Glossop, are both in black face (as in, we were going minstrelling down the pub with Al Jolson) hiding in the shrubbery outside Glossop’s own house, tearing and dirtying their formal dinnerwear (that would be tuxedos.)
How in blazes did they get there? … more … “Back Into Your Ending”
A subtle theme, more a motif, runs through my conversations with authors. When they talk about their writing, there’s one thing they don’t mention:
When it will be done.
There’s a reason this site is named Someday Box. A reason I chose Getting Your Book Out of the Someday Box as the title for that book.
“Someday” is not a goal. Someday is a dream, a vague notion. Sir Ken Robinson tells the story of chatting with a brilliant pianist whose name I can’t remember. Robinson said “I wish I could play like that.”
The pianist said something like, “No, you like the idea of playing like that. If you really wished you could, you’d be doing something about it.”
Do you want to be a writer or do you just like the idea?
… more … “What is Your Writing Goal for Today, for This Project, for Your Life?”
Last year I tested Chris Brogan’s 3 Words thinking and it was a stupendous success. Last year’s words were dissident, High Priest and performer. The goal is to choose 3 words which remind me who I want to be this year. Words which will inform and affect every action, every day.
These words aren’t in play because of what they mean literally, nor does it matter in my routine what they mean to you. The goal is to give myself a quick and easy touchstone for “Is what I’m doing right now moving me toward my goals?”
My 3 Words
My 3 words for 2014: artist, adventurer, actor.
… more … “3 Words for 2014”
Your entire novel in 12 sentences. When I first read the concept, it made perfect sense to me because I’d just finished Story Engineering and knew why it would work.
What about you? Has this made sense?
It’s not easy. I’m grinding through the 12 sentences for the sequel to Through the Fog and they’re not coming easily.
But I’d rather struggle now than after writing a 40,000-word draft.
More than once I’ve heard the claim that some folks can’t plan a story in advance.
I just don’t buy it. … more … “Your Novel in 12 Sentences: Summary”
#12 of only 12 sentences you need to define your entire novel.
The last big event in your novel is the Resolution, where your hero delivers the coup de grace, eliminating the antagonist as a threat.
While others might be involved, your hero needs to be the one who nails the bad guy. Your hero cannot be saved by someone else, by circumstances, by a god in the machine. Even if it’s indirect, a discerning reader should see that the events which took the antagonist down were set in motion, directed, driven by the hero.
This is the final change in our protagonist: … more … “Resolution (#12 of 12 Sentences)”
#11 of only 12 sentences you need to define your entire novel.
After the hero survives the “All is Lost” Moment and the last piece of the puzzle surfaces in the Second Plot Point, it’s a race to the finish. Nothing new added; the only surprises are the realities foreshadowed earlier.
… more … “Climax (#11 of 12 Sentences)”
#10 of only 12 sentences you need to define your entire novel.
Now that our hero is in Attack mode, we need one last bit of information to put them on the path to victory. That last piece of the puzzle is the Second Plot Point. It’s the last piece of new information you can add. After this, everything and everybody is in play. No deus ex machina salvation or surprises.
… more … “The Second Plot Point (#10 of 12 Sentences)”
#9 of only 12 sentences you need to define your entire novel.
To amp the moment when our hero finds the last piece of the puzzle and begins the chase, provide some contrast: just before the Second Plot Point, slam your readers with an All is Lost moment. Yank the rug out. If you’ve put your hero up a tree and thrown rocks at them, this is the point to have angry woodsmen chainsawing the trunk as they set it on fire. Preferably with flamethrowers. And one of the good guys up the tree with our here might turn out to be in cahoots with the enemy and shove them off the branch, where they hang by one hand above the flaming chainsaws.
Getting from here to your Second Plot Point is one of the toughest parts of writing. Get it right, and your readers will worship the water you walk on.
Write a sentence to explain what goes wrong to throw your hero into the pit of despair which is the All is Lost moment.
Tomorrow, #10: the Second Plot Point.
#8 of only 12 sentences you need to define your entire novel.
Midway through the Attack comes the Second Pinch Point, where we share another glimpse into the evil of our antagonist. Just like during Response as our hero was flailing and failing, reveal another vivid first-hand look at what our hero is up against. As before, simple and direct is best.
Write one sentence describing this clear look into the antagonist’s actions and how it raises the stakes for our hero.
Tomorrow, #9: the All is Lost Moment.
#7 of only 12 sentences you need to define your entire novel.
Based on the new information introduced at the Midpoint, the hero shifts from wanderer, reacting uselessly, to warrior, attacking the problem head on.
The magnitude of this shift reminds us how significant the Midpoint is. A weak Midpoint makes the Attack less believable.
… more … “Attack (#7 of 12 Sentences)”