I've been studying writing in-depth for the past few months. Like, the technical details of how a novel fits together and what publishers look for.
I've discovered what appears to be The Secret. I keep running across published authors with lots of books published who swear by this particular secret formula. The trouble is, it's a bit hard to explain because it's kind of technical.
It's scenes and sequels.
A scene is, well, a scene in which something happens. It goes like this:
You have a character. They are trying to accomplish something. But the bad guy interferes, or there's conflict from other main characters. The point of view character fails in accomplishing his goal. In fact, things get worse.
POV character: One night, Sonic is out on the town when he hears sirens.
Goal: Sonic wants to help.
Conflict: He follows the noise and discovers the police surrounding the water monster Chaos.
Disaster: Sonic attacks Chaos and thinks he's beat him down, but Chaos escapes down a drain. Then Robotnik shows up and laughs at Sonic for his futility.
That's a scene. It's immediately followed by a sequel, which is the term for "what comes next", not a second story.
It's laid out thus:
Review, logic and reason
Emotional reaction: Sonic feels anger at Robotnik, confusion about the taunt, and fear of that strange water monster.
Review, logic and reason: He thinks about the fight and where the monster went. Down the drain. Hmm. Where does that drain lead?
Anticipation: The drain goes under Station Square and eventually to the ocean. So the monster is down there somewhere, and eventually, if Robotnik is feeding it, it'll show up again.
Choice: Better find Robotnik and stop him from feeding the monster!
Bam. The hero has another goal, and you're busy plotting the next scene. If you use that formula, scene-sequel-scene-sequel and write a whole book that way, you're on the way to getting published.
There's a bunch more on this in various places, like Jim Butcher's livejournal: jimbutcher.livejournal.com/
Or Advanced Fiction Writing: www.advancedfictionwriting.com…
Or many writing books, one of which is Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight Swain. I snagged mine at the library.
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