Conversations with a Self-Publishing Writer: 05/08/15

TREES…trees

…AND THEIR SEASONS OF GROWTH are another excellent example of storyline/plot development. Most novel writers have experimented with the Peaks-and-Valleys plot progression plan. However, creating an illustration of a tree-trunk slice (shown here) allows me a much clearer picture of the actions and events I want to incorporate into my story—and the bumps they create along the way.

NOTICE: the “first year of growth” is solid. It is the burst of life that brings this tree (novel) into existence. For the novel writer, this living element is that short statement that informs editors (and the writer) exactly what this novel IS ABOUT.

An example of this—taken from Ted Dekker’s new novel, Hacker—reads: “My name is Nyah and I’m a hacker. I know things most people would never believe. Things that shouldn’t exist, but do.” This type of introductory statement evokes strong emotions and immediate intellectual interest. This is an excellent core idea that will develop an amazing novel.

NOTICE: the rings closest to the center/core are darker. They are filled with lots of nutrients that the tree absorbs as quickly as possible.  For the author, these rings must be filled with the details that will stir the reader’s passions and provoke them to solve the issues you’ve created for your characters.

An excellent example is given on the back cover of the novel Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn. It prepares reader’s to see the layers of evidence and intrigue that will be laid out before them. Here are the core statements: 1.) “Hidden in an ancient biblical prophecy from Isaiah…” 2.) “the mysteries revealed…foretell recent American events down to the exact days…” 3.) “the 3,000-year-old mystery that revealed the exact date of the stock market collapse of 2008…” 4) “the ancient prophecy that was proclaimed from the floor of the US Senate and then came true…and more.”

NOTICE: the seasons. The “rainy season” shows many layers of growth. The “dry season” is quite narrow. These correlate to rainy season chapters that hold more characters in them (usually additional supporting characters needed to progress the story). Then there will be the dry/parched, intense/shorter chapters that are needed to provoke or inspire readers with excitement.  Both of the novels mentioned above accomplish this with excellence.

NOTICE: the scar on the illustration.  This is a major element in novel writing that must not be left out. Actions and events in the lives of human beings cause scars. Each and every one of your readers will have their own scars—some fresher than others—and many deeper scars that are hidden even from themselves.  The excellent novelist will create an event—or several events depending on the length of the novel—that will touch memories held by their readers.

The first example of this that comes to my mind is the novel The Shack by William Paul Young. His back cover statement explains the scar concept in one sentence. “Mackenzie Allen Phillips’s youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation, and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness.”

IF YOUR NOVEL feels stuck, try wrapping your story elements around the seed/core of it, and let it grow until it is FINISHED! Then publish it right away and start writing the next one!

RoyaleneABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene Doyle is a Ghostwriter with Outskirts Press, bringing more than 35 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their writing projects. She has worked with both experienced and fledgling writers helping complete projects in multiple genres. When a writer brings the passion they have for their work and combines it with Royalene’s passion to see the finished project in print, books are published and the writer’s legacy is passed forward.

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