Monday, December 10, 2007

What Techniques Are Important To You?

With the holidays marching quickly into our lives and Christmas just around the corner, I am sure that my blog writing time will be limited during the coming weeks. What I really want to know from you is what information do you want to know?

I know as you work on your WIPs (for those who've never heard the term, it means "work in progress"), questions arise about your plot or about the art of crafting a novel or even promoting a novel. My website at has a list of Q & As found under the For Readers page of my site. I've always enjoyed responding to those questions, so here's your opportunity to let me know what's eating at you? What's confusing you or making you curious about writing? What would meet your needs?

During the holidays, I would like to answer blog reader questions, and while I'll continue to add to the blog on a regular basis, I think it might be interesting to blog on shorter topics that you're most interested in. I had mentioned earlier that my next topic would be birthing characters, and I will begin that topic in January, but until after the holidays, I would like to blog on topics that you really want to know.

For example, a while back a reader named Ruth asked this question.
I've heard about scenes opening and closing with positive or negative values. Can you explain what is meant by this.

When you talked about positive and negative values at the beginning and end of your scenes or chapters, you can replace the word values for the word stakes. Characters always has something at stake. If the story opens with something positive happening - that's a positive stake, so the thought is that you should end the scene then with the opposite stake.
Example:If the story opens up with loss of a job, the end of the scene should end with the hope of a job or a lead for a job -- or even a job. The idea is if the main concern in that scene isn't affected in some significant way, then the plot has not moved the story forward.

Your questions can be more complex than this one, but I would love you to either leave a comment on this blog or you can email me at and I will add your question to the list. It will be fun to see how many of you have the same questions or concerns. I hope you find this interesting.

1 comment:

Mary Chris Hines said...

Hello and thank you for your great blog. I have been lucky in that I made my mark as a freelancer (with web content) and bought myself some time to finish a novel I've been working on for two years. (Yes, two years. At least not as bad as Margaret Mitchell!) The entire novel (over 200,000 words so far) is in the first person. I find this pretty tricky since the person isn't someone super-noteworthy as far as language goes. I mean not a person that stands out like "Delores" by Stephen King. Her humor and accent were incredible. How in the world am I going to make this character completely believable without adding in some particular accent or humor. It's not like it doesn't have a little humor here and there, but nothing that would classify it as a comedy. It's not horror and not exactly sci-fi, but more alternative (??) It's in the form of a manuscript a man left for his son upon his death, telling of some incidents in his life. Any hints you can give on writing in the first person would sure be appreciated.
For fun I started a fiction writing contest on my web site. It's to complete a little paragraph I started. It's free. I wanted to inspire people to do some fun writing. Can you tell me if it sounds like something folks would be interested to enter. I did get one entry but if I don't get more in the next week, I don't know how to handle it! :O) It's at
Can't wait to hear back.
Best, Mary Chris