Tag Archives: Plotting tips

Special Event November 18, 2017: Michael Hauge

Story Mastery Workshop

During this special, all-day seminar (9 a.m. until 4 p.m.), Michael Hauge will present his unique approach to creating compelling stories for film and fiction.

Drawing on his decades as a Hollywood script consultant, author and lecturer, he will show the most powerful methods for eliciting emotion in your readers and audiences through story concept, plot structure, character development and theme.

Michael will then reveal his proven method for getting the people in power to read your manuscript.Michael Hauge

You will learn:

  • The primary goal of all story
  • Turning plot structure from a complicated concept into a simple, powerful tool you can easily apply to every story
  • The power of desire, need, longing and destiny
  • The essential conflict all characters must face
  • Novel structure vs. movie structure
  • The single key to creating character arc and theme
  • The secret to creating unique, believable and fulfilling love stories
  • The single biggest mistake writers while pitching their work
  • The key components of a powerful pitch

If you want to elevate your novels to the highest possible level, this event is a must.

This entrance fee for this event is tiered.
For Tucson RWA members: $100
For RWA members (not Tucson chapter): $125
All other guests: $150

Pay here

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April 23, 2016: Amylynn Bright, Kellie Hazell & Vicky Loebel

Do You Want to Write a Review?

So, you want to write a review? Or you feel like you should write a review. Or maybe you just want to support your fellow writers. Maybe you read something that was so enjoyable, life altering, paradigm shifting, that you simply must tell strangers about it. You’re saying you can write a book, but a book report scares the bejesus out of you. Amylynn will walk us through the basics. We’ll look at writing a few reviews of well known books and how to hit the highlights. We’ll have fun.

About Amylynn BrightAmylynn Bright

A vigorously voracious reader, and a former literary snob, Amylynn been known to write a few reviews in her time over at The Examiner.  Amylynn’s books take place in Regency England where the lovely ladies and rakish gentlemen of the haute ton weave stories of high passion and true love. And lately Amylynn’s woven romance stories in with contemporary American life.  Welcome to her world where, against all odds, everyone lives happily ever after – if they’re brave enough to see it through.

The Tarot-Designed Plot Bridge

In February, Vicky Loebel shared her plotting techniques to streamline the drafting process for the pantsers among us. In March, Kellie Hazell outlined how to use tarot decks and other cards and kits to brainstorm our way through writing. Now Vicky & Kellie will combine their toolkits to demonstrate how to build your plot bridge using tarot cards. Come prepared to participate with your big brainstorming and outlining questions!

About Vicky Loebel & Kellie Hazell

Vicky & Kellie have endured each others’ company for almost as long as the Saguaro Romance Writers have been around, including serving together on the SRW Board of Directors not once, not twice, but three times – and volunteering together in other ways more than either can recall. Over the years, they took breaks from chapter activities by brainstorming plot snarls, character foibles, and revision speed traps using any card deck they could find and all manner of plotting techniques. They have even been known to watch movies such as The Fifth Element together as an exercise to analyze story structure. Ply them with enough allergen-free chocolate and bourbon, and they may even share the story analysis experiment that was their viewing of Upstream Color.Vicky LoebelKellie Hazell

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March 19, 2016: Kellie Hazell and Chloe Gregan

The Writer’s Tarot (& Other Cards)

Pam McCutcheon demonstrated her Writer’s Brainstorming Kit for us last February. While those cards and the accompanying book are tailored for writers looking to flesh out characters and plots, Tarot decks, loteria cards, archetype cards, and medicine cards can also be a great source of inspiration for new stories, saggy middles, and even challenging revisions. Kellie will bring all of the cards, decks, and kits she’s collected over the years to demonstrate how each can be used to kickstart the creative process, at any step of the journey.

KellieAs a clinical research program manager, Saguaro Romance Writer’s Vice President of Programs, and mother of a fourth-grader, Kellie Hazell searches for inspiration in all kinds of places to keep the juggling act of life going while squeezing in time to write – or at least brainstorm her way out of a creative crunch.

 

Authentic Guns & Ammo in Fiction

What does firing a gun actually feel like? What are the most common ways writers get guns wrong on screen and in print? How does gun safety training change the way you look at guns (or how SHOULD it change the way you look at guns)? How have modern guns changed over time and how does that impact the gun wielder? Local firearms aficionado Chloe Gregan will answer these questions and offer tidbits about guns that most folks don’t think about. For those interested, Chloe will also offer an off-site show and tell from her personal (unloaded) collection.

ChloeChloe Gregan has been shooting since the tender age of 7 and has built a steady knowledge base about guns in the process, developing it through her tenure in the military and now as an employee of a firearms manufacturer. In her spare time, she also offers firearms coaching, teaching others to improve their shooting, cleaning, safety, and marksmanship. She hesitates to call herself a gun “expert” but considers herself a lover of the art that is shooting guns and troubleshooting them, er…fixing them.

 

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WHY MOTIVATION MATTERS

WHY MOTIVATION MATTERS
by Laurie Schnebly Campbell
You already know that, no matter what kind of plot you’re building, it’s gotta be motivated by your characters in order to feel plausible. It doesn’t matter whether you’re doing an emotional plot or an action plot or both — what makes it work is the characters.

So what IS it that makes your characters do what they do? Or another way of asking that is, what makes anybody do what they do?

There are all kinds of theories of motivation, and they all boil down to the same thing.

We want to be Okay.

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Whatever it takes to be okay, that’s what motivates us.

Maslow talked about that, saying that to be Okay we first need Food and Water…yep, okay…Shelter…got it…then Safety…and in most books, those issues are pretty well taken care of. Sometimes you’ll get characters fleeing the murderer in the North Woods or laid off from the factory job, but food isn’t usually a driving motivation.

So we get into the next level of what people need to be Okay, which is Belonging / Acceptance / Love. Then there’s Respect of Others and Self-Respect, and finally there’s the drive to Be All You Can Be. Everywhere along that continuum, you’ve got some great motivators.

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And that matters, because it’s the motivation that makes a character interesting.

Some writers start with the motivation: “let’s see, a woman who’s motivated by the desire for adventure would be THIS type of person.” Other writers start with the character: “my heroine wants to sail to Jamaica, so that must mean she’s motivated by adventure.”

Either way works fine. And either way leaves you totally free to write any kind of story you want.

 

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Say, given this heroine who wants to sail to Jamaica in search of adventure, could your story be full of soul-deep emotion? Absolutely. Dizzying suspense? Yep. Heartwarming faith? Yep. Quirky humor? Yep. Spine-tingling terror? Yep.

It all depends on how you write it.

So in that case, why does the heroine’s motivation even matter?

Because it’s what makes her credible. Same as we can’t have pink-elephant aliens showing up in some 14th-century castle without sacrificing a bit of credibility, neither can we have this woman sailing off to Jamaica without SOME plausible motivation.

And that’s where it’s easy for us authors to fall down on the job. We love this heroine who’s rigging out her sailboat, we love that she’s going to Jamaica, and we know that on the way she’ll meet this incredibly witty sailor, there’ll be a pirate attack — oh, and the pirate ship will have a yellow parrot named Sidney! — it’s all taking shape. We KNOW it’ll work, because we can SEE this story.

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But it’s that dazzling clarity which can get us into trouble. Because our readers weren’t IN on this first glorious flash of inspiration. They can’t see that wonderful vision. All they see is a heroine rigging out her sailboat for a trip to Jamaica, and they have no idea why she’s doing it.

Unless the readers GET her desire for adventure, they’re gonna feel out of the loop. They might not know why the story isn’t working for them, but they’re missing her motivation.

And motivation is what makes a book memorable.

 

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For some writers, it comes so naturally that they never even question how their characters’ motivation will feed into the plot. (Which sometimes leaves them at loose ends, wondering what on earth can HAPPEN during their plot.)

For others, it’s more of a tack-on because their strength is in plotting. (Which sometimes leaves them wondering how to explain WHY this character did something that seems senseless but is actually integral to the plot.)

Either way, motivation is vital. And yet we’ve all found ourselves in trouble with motivation every now and then. So that’s my question for yoL6u:
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When was the last time you found yourself dealing with a problem character? Who was this person? What did he or she do? How did you resolve the situation?

Everybody here will be able to sympathize with such a situation, because pesky characters strike EVERY writer! And if 25 people post today, one of ’em will win help for all their future characters,with free registration to my “Plotting Via Motivation” class (at WriterUniv.com) next month.

Meanwhile, I can’t wait to see those pesky characters on parade — because it’s always a lot more fun to read about other people’s problems than to focus on our own. :)

Laurie, hoping today will be slow at work so I can check email sooner than lunchtime…but don’t worry if it takes a while to hear back; I’m definitely checking in!

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