Practical Prompt 4/27/16: Non-Linear Plots Part 3

WriteOwls

WriteOwls

For our April “Learn to Write by Reading” challenge, we invited you to examine books in which the author used a non-linear plot structure. Now, apply what you learned to your own manuscript.

 

Decide how to let the reader know when your story is transitioning from one time period to another. Techniques could include using datelines as chapter headings or using a trigger specific to your story world. That trigger could be anything from an object that causes a character to remember past events to a portal that physically carries a character into another timeline, depending on the nature of your story. Don’t settle for the first technique that comes to mind. Sift through at least half a dozen to discover a truly fresh concept that will set your story apart.

They’re more like guidelines, really . . .

Alicia Finney

Alicia Finney

I love that moment in the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Elizabeth Swan standing there, even as she is being taken hostage, citing the pirates’ code like an attorney standing on the firm ground of the law, only to be greeted with that knowing gleam in Barbosa’s eyes. He knows what she doesn’t. He’s the ship’s captain, and, while he may give a respectful nod to the code, when the hull meets the surf, even the code is just shifting sand beneath the weight of his authority. The code, along with the crew, bows to him. 

There is a hazard in learning to be a writer. It is the danger of taking good advice. Because, quite often, that great tip or daily ritual guaranteed to make you a better writer turns out to be no guarantee at all. All writers are different, and the habits that improve us as writers are as diverse our stories. No two are quite alike. The more experience we have, the less likely this is to trip us up, but none of us are ever fully immune to that siren call of being better or more productive. Continue reading

Backup for a Bad Day

Stacey Kite

Stacey Kite

You know how there are some writing sessions where everything just clicks? And you keep going, staying up late despite knowing you’ll regret it in the morning, because you are on fire. I had one of those kind of writing jags last Tuesday. It was great.

Then came Wednesday … Continue reading

Practical Prompt 4/20/16: Non-Linear Plots Part 2

WriteOwls

WriteOwls

For our April “Learn to Write by Reading” challenge, we invited you to examine books in which the author used a non-linear plot structure. Now, apply what you learned to your own manuscript.

In a non-linear plot, chronological causation doesn’t determine the sequence of the narrative. Look at the book you read and determine what the author used, instead of time, as the causational chain. Brainstorm other elements that could be used to link one scene or segment to the next in your story. A linking element might be a character, a given setting, an inanimate object or maybe an event. Have fun as you play with the possibilities.

Voracious Readers, Take Note

Naomi Hawkins-Rowe

Naomi Hawkins-Rowe

I’ve heard of writers taking a reading day–a designated day where they just read. An idea I’ve grown rather fond of. So much so that I think I’ve spent more time reading than I have writing. My weekly reading day, has transpired into reading days, and very little writing is getting done.

I am certain that it is good to read books that will aid us in various areas of our writing, so as I continue to make my way through my reading goals for 2016, I am choosing to revert to my grad school days to make my reading meaningful and intentional. Rather than just reading for fun, I am now using this time to populate my books with notes on post-its of things the author is doing that will aid me as a writer. Be it story structure, an unorthodox way of solving a problem, a way of developing a character, etc. Continue reading