Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Conflict is indispensable for the plot. No conflict, no plot. Without plot, no story can stand.
The story shows what is happening, but the plot shows how it is happening. By just stating what happens, one will not create a story. Therefore, one needs conflicts, internal and/or external, to drive the plot and consequently the story.
Many people believe that conflicts are strictly related to fighting and battles. So, they don't consider conflict outside that type of action. However, conflicts do not exist only in the battlefield.
According to the dictionaries, conflict is also a state of disharmony between antithetical or incompatible persons, ideas, interests. Hence the notions: conflict of interests, conflict of ideas, etc. So, basically, in every day of our lives there is a conflict we deal with. I don't think that all of us are engaged in battles, though. :)
There are several types of conflict, four, five or seven, depending on the analysis one chooses.
I will mention general types: Person vs. Person, Person vs. Self, Person vs. Society, Person vs. Supreme Forces (Nature, Gods, Universe, Destiny, Fate, etc.)
Aristotle, the Greek philosopher, had analyzed and defined plot as having the following elements: Exposition, Conflict, Climax, Resolution / Denouement – a definition which later was adopted, analyzed and elaborated by many others.
Scenes are components of the story's general plot. They are the puzzle pieces, which all together will form the bigger picture - plot - story. At the scene level, the scene has its own plot with all the elements included. Therefore, conflict is an element of the scene's structure also.
Randy Ingermanson has an excellent article regarding scenes, "Writing the Perfect Scene" (click on the title for link), which I consider a must read for authors. He defines two levels of structure for the scene: the large-scale structure and the small-scale structure.
In the large-scale structure, he distinguishes between two types of scenes, which are interrelated: scenes and sequels (to scenes). There is a three-part pattern for the scene: Goal – Conflict – Disaster and a three-part pattern for the sequel: Reaction – Dilemma – Decision. A scene and a sequel form a cycle, starting with the Goal and ending with the Decision. After the decision, a new cycle starts with the next scene and sequel pair.
Taking into consideration that the sequel is actually a counter-scene, but a scene nonetheless, we can consider the dilemma as another conflict. Dilemma, by definition, puts us in the position to struggle with choices between two alternatives (or more). However, this position includes conflicts, before making our choice – conflicts with ourselves, conflicts with others, conflicts with our environment or other circumstances. If there were no conflicts, it wouldn't have been a dilemma.
The small-scale structure of the scene has two components: Motivation (external & objective – what the POV character sees) and Reaction (internal & subjective – what the POV character does), according to the article.
The Reaction component has three parts: Feeling, Reflex and Rational Action & Speech. It is not necessary to have all three parts in the Reaction. At least one is necessary, though. However, Randy Ingermanson states that there is a strict rule on how to present the parts: feeling must be first, reflex can not occur before feeling and rationale must always be last. Thus, if one chooses to leave reflex out, feeling must occur before rational action and/or speech.
Randy Ingermanson uses a great example to clearly show motivation and reaction with its three parts. His example is a fighting scene against a tiger.
I will use a non-fighting example and I will include conflict in the rational action part.
“Serena headed for the club’s back entrance and froze in her tracks. In the back alley’s shadows, Luis fed from another female. Unbearable pain stabbed her heart and seconds later, rage blinded her. She took few steps forward, baring her fangs and claws, to rip both of them apart. She caught herself, torn between her vampire instincts and her conviction to stay away from him, for his safety. His hatred and pain reached her soul, as he stared at her from across the alley. "I never wanted this to happen." she whispered and she vanished.”
Motivation => “In the back alley’s shadows, Luis fed from another female.”
Reaction => Feeling: “Unbearable pain stabbed her heart and seconds later, rage blinded her.”
Reflex: “She took few steps forward, baring her fangs and claws, to rip both of them
Rational Action & Speech: “She caught herself, torn between her vampire instincts
and her conviction to stay away from him, for his safety. His hatred and pain
reached her soul, as he stared at her from across the alley. "I never wanted this to
happen." she whispered and she vanished.”
Her pain and rage are feelings she experiences in response to Luis' action. Her reflex is based on her territorial instincts as a vampire, to claim him from the other female and punish them both. She has a rational response to her reflex, by remembering the reason she is no longer with Luis; that is, his safety. It was her decision and she uses her logic to work out her reflex. She sustains her logic with her whispered words and her rational reaction is to leave.
However, there is a conflict here, Serena vs. herself. Her feelings and instincts urge her to have a different reaction. Her rationale prevails, providing a different resolution.
In conclusion, conflict is necessary in a scene, either stated directly as an element of the plot or as a part in the large-scale structure and included in the components of the small-scale structure.
Conflict drives and provides reasons for the plot of a scene, as well as inducing rational resolution. It is necessary in order to make a scene interesting, attractive, logical and understandable to the readers.
There will be no plot without the conflict and there will be no story without the plot.
Posted by Jacqvern at 6:16 PM
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
It crossed my mind to have a professional approach to the blog hiatus I had in the last week or so. Bad idea, isn’t it? Maybe I should have left it alone.
I’ve been busy, very busy actually. I’ve clicked on so many links from twitter and written so many comments on so many blogs (can you see the emphasis of the "so many"?) that I really think my forefinger is twitching uncontrollably and bending downwards.
Actually, all the comments I posted could make enough material for three or more blog posts; that is why I keep track of them. I copy paste them in a word document usually, but lately I lazily relied on the Google e-mail account to keep track of the subscriptions. That was until two days ago when the Google account was suspended for no reason whatsoever. Account lost, blog lost. Probably it was fried from so many comments’ subscriptions.
But I digress.
Of course, I retweet (new English word, have to add it to the dictionary, it's constantly underlined red) all the interesting, funny, worth reading posts I encounter, so others can enjoy them too. At least it’s my guess they will enjoy them. Another finger cramping action. Brain cramping too, since I have to open at least two windows with Twitter on plus all the tabs with the posts, in order to keep track and not mess up the RTs.
However, it’s not my fault. Really, it’s not. People should refrain from posting (and writing) so many interesting posts. It's very tempting and I can't resist. I'm weak, what can I say? But, it's definitely not my fault. :D
Still here? It's your fault :D.
To extend the torture, I'll post links to some posts I've read in the previous days, all related to writing. I apologize to other authors for not posting all the posts I’ve read in one blog article, but there are too many and I don't want to chase away the few people that read my blog, with information overflow. :D
An article that impressed me very much is here http://whatnottodoasawriter.com/2011/04/25/mistake-77-real-writers/ by Lisa Kilian. Quote: “Real writers manipulate words.” Excellent definition. In my opinion this is a must read.
Jami Gold posted an article about an interesting notion, whether authors have to lie (or lie) in a story, http://jamigold.com/2011/04/do-writers-have-to-be-able-to-lie/ . I disagreed on some points, so don't read my comment there, just read the article :)
Tahlia Newland has an article about a writer’s reality check. Quote:”My best buddy on the journey was that I knew that I didn’t know anything.” –That is a life learning lesson worth paying attention to. http://tahlianewland.com/2011/04/26/a-writer%e2%80%99s-reality-check-%e2%80%93-the-difference-between-wanting-and-being/
Some interesting points for hooking a reader’s interest and make him/her not to let the book aside till the end were posted by James Killick's http://jameskillick.blogspot.com/2011/04/how-to-make-your-story-unputdownable.html .
Jody Hedlund wrote interesting tips about choosing names for a story's character, http://jodyhedlund.blogspot.com/2011/04/eight-things-to-keep-in-mind-when.html . I like the process of choosing names for characters (though I hate the process of choosing a name for the story or book). :D
Cheryl Reifsnyder has an interesting article about POV http://cherylreifsnyder.blogspot.com/2011/04/writing-from-your-characters-point-of.html . It's a subject that I have in mind to post about in my blog too.
My idea about today’s post came related to the posts of Xandra James’ http://www.xandrajames.com/2011/04/26/social-networking-what-not-to-tweet-please/ and Kirsten Lamb’s http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2011/04/27/one-of-the-best-ways-to-build-our-social-media-platform-be-a-blogger-booster/ .
The above are a small selection from everything I read in the last few days.
Finally, if you want to have a good laugh, Kiersten White made an artistic depiction of the writing process (I don't know if it qualifies as art, but it's too funny): http://kierstenwrites.blogspot.com/2011/04/keynoted-my-artistic-interpretation-of.html .
Additionally, if you want a good exercise for your face muscles and your abs, C.J.Redwine has a hilarious post (actually two, because it's worth reading the Beth Revis post too) here: http://cjredwine.blogspot.com/2011/04/wherein-i-lose-half-my-face.html?spref=tw .
Word of advice the last posts: Have a tissues box close by and don't drink anything when reading those. You might bury your keyboard afterwards, I almost did. :D
Still here? Thank you very much for being so brave to stay with me until the end of this post. :)
P.S. If you don’t comment on this, I might re-tweet all of the above again, to make sure you see my RTs ;D
Posted by Jacqvern at 10:37 PM
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Two days ago, Passive Guy had a post on his website regarding Lost Book Sales, which got me thinking (http://www.thepassivevoice.com/04/2011/lost-book-sales/). I went to the link he provided and shuffled through some of the posts there.
I saw that most complaints were about the prices of the e-book versions.
A question popped in my mind:
Why the publishers keep the e-book prices so high, almost or same with the printed book?
The auditor in me quickly provided two alternatives:
- Either the publishers are business stupid or
- It is a strategic move on their side.
As I find it difficult to believe that publishers are business stupid or at least that their business consultants would let them be business stupid, I went with the second option: Strategic Move.
What does that mean? Let’s analyze it.
The e-book versions of the books published by large publishing houses have a price very close to the printed book version. Most readers (including myself) will not pay the same or almost the same amount for the e-book version of a book, when they can have the printed version at the same amount or with a very little difference.
Why should they? After all, the printed version is a tangible thing, which you can hold, regard, touch, smell etc. In any case, readers can “bond” with their favorite books in printed format.
Moreover, buying an e-book reader costs a substantial amount of money and everyone wants a "Return On Investment", which in this case is translated into being able to buy e-books at a substantially less amount than the printed book version.
Why then the large publishing houses don’t lower the prices in order to boost e-books sales? Actually, it's a quite simple answer.
Large publishing houses exist for years and they have built large companies with substantial assets, buildings, equipment, employees, delivery systems, warehouses etc., to produce printed books. At this moment, the percentage of readers buying printed books from a particular publisher is at 80-90%.
If publishing houses lower the prices of e-book versions, then a shift will occur and the percentage will be decreased at least to 50-60%, because readers will buy the cheapest version, (cost-efficiency on the readers’ side) and have the ROI mentioned above.
One would say "yes, but that will boost the sales of the e-book versions and the publishing houses will make a higher profit over those sales, since the e-book versions cost substantially less to produce".
Yes and no. Yes, the profit will be higher as a percentage on the e-book versions, calculated per book, because the production cost of an e-book is substantially lower than the printed version.
However, in order to publish an e-book, one doesn't need so many buildings, so much equipment, so many employees, delivery systems, warehouses, etc. It would not be cost-efficient to maintain all those or so many, in order to produce 40-50% of the printed books they are publishing now. The cost for publishing a printed book will rise substantially and consequently the profit on a printed book will decrease substantially. Publishing houses would need to increase the price for the printed version to cover the costs and they won't do that, since an increase in prices will further decrease the number of buyers of the printed version.
Won't that be balanced by the profit of the e-books? Not in total amounts. Additional costs will occur since they will have idle buildings, equipment, employees, etc. And in any healthy company, idle buildings, equipment and employees are discarded to reduce idle costs. No one keeps something idle.
But, the process to discard them is a long process, and it incurs other costs. I won't get into details on that, since that's accounting and it’s boring, trust me :). However, there will be other costs, for example compensations for dismissing employees, a simple notion.
In conclusion, large publishing houses will not proceed to such a great move in the near future.
They won't shift their main production to e-books and thus, they will not decrease the e-books prices.
That is why they keep the e-book version of a book at such a high price.
They provide e-book versions to cover also readers who (for any reason) prefer e-books and will not buy printed versions, but they will not encourage it by lowering the e-books prices. Such a decision will not be in the publishing houses' best financial interests.
At some point in the future, as the e-book market share will increase and consumers on that market will increase substantially, the publishing houses might adapt and make changes. But until then, they will not.
Thank you for reading this :)
Posted by Jacqvern at 12:33 AM
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
In the last few days I’ve been reading a lot of articles on the self-publishing issue, about the psychology involved and the effects, the delegation of work, etc. It looks that the Internet has become an arena for the traditional vs. indie publishing debates, with arguments, numbers, quarrels etc.
I’m not a very experienced writer, but I’m a very experienced business professional and reader. So I’ll provide an opinion from those points of view.
1. I know that many writers view their books as their "baby”. But you wouldn’t sell your baby, right? Right?
Right. That being established, the place for a book treated as a “baby” is a cradle or a bookshelf in this case, at home. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not degrading anyone’s work. On the contrary, I’m writing this because I value the hard work needed to write and publish a book.
But think of it this way: any product (or service) is a creation, whether it is a book or a lawn mower.
How dare I, compare a book to a lawn mower?
Well, even a lawn mower in order to be created, needs many, many hours of creative thinking, planning, designing, researching, etc.
Do you think that a lawn mower designer has worked less in terms of creativity? I don't think so.
Do you think this designer loves less his project? Again, I don't think so.
The difference is that the lawn mower designer views his creation as a product, not as a “baby”. A product to be developed, promoted and eventually sold. The same should apply to books.
Every service or product in this world is created to be eventually sold, not cradled at home. Why should a book be different?
2. Traditional vs. indie publishing, what is the difference?
I will not support one or the other method of publishing. There are many others out there who debate fervently, in the last days, pro or against one or the other method.
I will just state some plain facts. Authors can judge on their own which method is more appropriate for them.
Let’s see then.
a. The publishing house in most of the cases requires the author to have an agent.
b. Undertakes the editing, designing, formatting, promoting, marketing, public relations, delivery parts of the book’s project. However, the author prior to submitting a book or story must have it edited, before the editing part undertaken by the publishing house. And lately, publishing houses require from authors to promote and market their project on their own, for a large part.
c. Associates a brand name to the project.
d. The author receives the smallest percentage and the publishing house keeps the rights.
e. Prices of books and e-books are maintained at a high level, preventing the market share to be increased.
f. The publishing house has a standard audience because of the brand name, which however is reduced lately and it will be further reduced, due to the high prices maintained because readers have started reacting.
g. There is no guarantee the book or story will have high sales.
a. The author is not required to have an agent.
b. The author undertakes the editing, designing, formatting, promoting, marketing, public relations, delivery parts of the book’s project.
c. No brand name associated to the project.
d. The author keeps the rights and receives the largest percentage or the entire amount if he/she pays flat fees.
e. Prices of books and e-books can be maintained at a reasonable level, providing the possibility for the market share to be increased.
f. There is no standard audience at first, but the target audience can be much larger, due to the low prices.
g. There is no guarantee the book or story will have high sales.
Table based on the above facts:
b. Editing, design, format, promotion, marketing, public relations, delivery
Author + Publ.House
c. Brand name
Author’s name + Publ.House name
d. Rights & largest percentage
e. Prices / Market share
Higher / Limited, decreasing
Lower / Not limited, can be increased
Standard, but decreasing due to high prices
Not standard, but can be larger due to low prices
e. Guarantee of sales
Actually, there is not much of a difference, regarding the processes and the work needed to get a book published and sold. Whether you assign the above processes to the publishing house or you assign them to individual persons and yourself, it is exactly the same thing. You pay the publishing house or other persons and yourself, to do those things. Thus, there is no argument there pro or against either method.
The difference is related to the control that an author has on these processes, the method of payment and the profit from sales.
I know that for some authors the idea of handling the entire project, seems like a huge task or impossible.
But the thing is that authors already handle a large part of the project, aside of writing.
Think about it, they still have to make and maintain a web site and a blog, go to book signings, maintain Twitter and Facebook accounts, go to conferences and meetings. The publishing house will not do any of that for them. There is no process in a book's project, in which the author is not required to handle at least a part of it. There was no choice until now; everything depended on the publishing houses. But in our era, with the tools and the Internet at everyone’s disposal, authors have the opportunity to choose their way.
Alright, one might not make always the right decisions. But, do authors always agree with the publishing house’s decisions regarding their book? Are the publishing house's decisions (regarding editing, book covers, promotions, marketing etc.) always the appropriate ones?
If the answer to those two questions is yes then, by all means, these authors should stay with traditional publishing. But such an answer to perfection is quite far-fetched, based on statistics. No statistical data would provide a perfect output.
I agree that one person can not do everything by him/herself. It is more than certain. But there are people out there who can be hired to do anything that the author can not do, has not the time to do it or the desire to do it.
The difference is that you can dismiss any of the persons, (editors, designers, marketers) in case you don't like the outcome or the collaboration. But can you dismiss any of those persons, when they are employed by the publishing house? I don’t think so.
3. Most people in all history were always afraid of change in general and of the unknown. History provides many proofs in all areas, not only in writing and publishing.
In the 20th & 21st centuries, technology is advancing exponentially and that creates an additional fear: people are not only afraid of the change itself, but also of the speed of the change.
Progress is outrunning humans and the struggle of humans to catch up and adapt to changes creates frustration, helplessness, depression etc. Basic psychology. (There is a great relevant book: the “Future Shock” by Alvin Toffler, written in 1970. It is still valid today and definitely worth reading).
But why should anyone be afraid of change in this case? As demonstrated above, there is not much change to face, in either method. It's an adjustment. The process is the same, the means and persons involved are different.
I am not going to argue whether I would choose traditional publishing, indie publishing or a combination of both.
But I will say that authors should choose what fits them and what is best for their books. Take the facts, examine them and decide. There is no right or wrong way in choosing one, the other or both methods of publishing.
The only right way is the way which will get the book well written, published and sold.
This is business, the business of writing, and the earlier an author realizes that, the better it will be both for the author and the book.
Thank you for reading this. :)
Posted by Jacqvern at 10:02 PM
Monday, April 4, 2011
I wrote the following short story five years ago, for a topic in the writing forum I was participating. I post it now as a funny correlation to the indie publishing debates all over the Internet. It's a completely fictional narrative, no connections and no offense intended. Thank you for reading it.
The editor who wrote a book
The editor who wrote a book
Frank “Redex” Maguire sat in the comfortable rocking chair in his living-room, with a big envelope in his hands. His face glowed in expectation, even if he felt a little nervous. The envelope contained a reply from an assistant editor.
Frank Maguire was the chief editor for the last fifteen years in one of the largest publishing companies of London. Every time he didn't like a manuscript, he drew a big red X on each page without making any comments. Then he handed it to his assistants to be returned to the author or recycled. His colleagues called him Redex behind his back; no one would dare joking with him on that. Few called him Frank, but most of them Mr. Maguire.
He was kind of a legend in the publishing world. In his entire career, all but four of the manuscripts chosen by him, reached the top of the best sellers' lists in many countries. Frank held many seminars about editing standards, rules and how to recognize a best seller manuscript. With a strong instinct on selecting authors, he was widely acknowledged as one of the best in his field, but he was also known as very severe and strict when editing.
Frank’s divorce had been issued four years ago, after twenty years of marriage and three children. Two years later, he decided to write a book about the feelings and struggle of a cheated husband and a weekend father. A lot of books about divorces by various authors had landed on his desk and he wanted to show his perspective and experience to the world.
He spent six months writing the book and another six months reviewing and rewriting. Finally, he decided to give the book to his best friend. Matthew had kept the book since then and never talked about it. Few months ago, as a surprise for his friend, Matthew mailed the manuscript to Frank’s publishing house. He used a nickname and his PO Box address to keep the manuscript from being connected to Frank. Two days ago, Matthew had called Frank to tell him about the manuscript and that he had received a reply.
Frank was turning the envelope in his hands now, hesitating to open it.
Hell, I shouldn’t feel like that, I know that my book was perfectly written. I edited it. What am I afraid of?
With a deep breath, Frank opened the envelope. He took out the reply, leaving the manuscript aside.
We have received your manuscript and after careful reading and consideration, we concluded that your manuscript does not fit the requirements and standards of our publishing house.”
- Dear Sir? I have a name damn it! Does not fit the requirements and standards of our publishing house? What the fuck, I invented the standards of our publishing house, who the hell they think they’re talking to?
“We regretfully inform you that your style is not adequate for our publishing house.”
Frank shot up from the chair and started pacing around.
- Not adequate? After so many years of reading and editing? Like hell! I am the one who decides what will be published or not!
“There are many redundancies and repetitions throughout your book and a reader can not be engaged or be sympathetic towards your main character. Places and characters are described in a juvenile way, which will not fit our demanding readers. The style of your writing might be more adequate for other genres like fantasy fiction.”
- Redundancies and repetitions? Juvenile way? Where the fuck they saw all these? I’m the chief editor for fifteen years, teaching them how to read and edit! They can’t teach me how a book should be written!
“The descriptions and wording are not suited for contemporary and day-to-day matters. With such a subject, we would expect to see more intimate descriptions of scenes between the husband and wife, as well as between the wife and her lover. In a friendly manner, we would suggest you try other genres and other time settings, more suitable for your style.”
- Yeah, like I would tell the entire world how I fought or had sex with my wife. Like I would know how she was intimating with that bastard. Friendly manner, right! Very friendly tossing of my hard work and emotions!
Collapsing on the rocking chair, he tried to gather his thoughts.
Which moron did the editing on this? I’m sure it was one of the new assistants and he never showed it to his supervising editor. At the last seminar, it seems that my instructions were thrown out the window or they were thinking of their girlfriends and boyfriends when I was talking!
I told them so many times! When we read we must try to adjust ourselves to the manuscript in order to understand the messages of the author. Not the other way around. Not to try to adjust the manuscripts to ourselves, for the sake of editing! That inexperienced stupid assistant will see tomorrow! Maybe I’ll recognize the comments on the manuscript.
He crushed the letter in his fist and grabbed the heavy envelope. Almost tearing it in his rush to look at the manuscript, he felt his blood pumping in his head.
A big red X decorated the first page, the second page and all the pages to the last one...
Posted by Jacqvern at 10:10 PM
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
The setting/world building problem. Writer’s blocks. Riiiiight.
Earlier on Twitter I saw a tweet by Jeff Ambrose about setting/world building, which got me thinking.
I am not a fan of "pantser or pantster" writing. I'm not saying it is not good; it's just that I am a huge fan of organizing and planning (old habits die hard :)). I've read many articles and suggestions by my favorite authors and many others, on planning and organizing a book (or a story).
Planning and organizing work are very important in the business world and as I am a financial professional, I can’t function without them.
So I plan, then I re-plan and then I plan again. :)
I prepare spreadsheets and outlines, general and specific. I put everything and anything related to the story on a spreadsheet and a word document, depending on the aspect. I even make genealogy trees for the characters, if ancestors play a role in the story or there are distant relatives who will get involved in the plot. I even have a software program called Snowflake, http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/art/snowflake.php, for “building” a story, generating a synopsis etc.
I research articles about a time period and locations. I acquire maps from the relevant time period and locations. I do everything necessary to be sure I don't make historical and geographical mistakes and not to mess up social customs and events. At least I try to.
The thing is that I get confused. At some point I find myself with a large amount of files, documents and spreadsheets, all of them exerting a great pressure on my head; each of them demanding my attention and complete focus. When I reach that point, I am completely lost. I might catch myself not knowing exactly what the plot is about, how the characters counteract and what the timeline of the events is. Hell, I might even forget the last names of the characters or mix them up.
Well, I discovered there was something which was completely opposite to my planning and organizing way of working. I apply the “pantsers or pantsters” method to one thing only. Characters’ biographies.
I follow one rule though. I write following a timeline, from the beginning to the end; the beginning usually being the birth or child period of the character and the end being the current time period of the story.
Each character’s biography develops into a story. I don't bother with following proper syntax, grammar or structure. It's simply a flow of events, attributes, skills, strengths, weaknesses, interactions, etc. of the character, written in a free style.
The biography answers all the questions about the character, for example why the character is a cynical or sweet person, why the character hates or loves something, why the character is open or narrow-minded, what enrages or indulges the character and so on. But it also reveals the story and setting. Through getting acquainted so well with the characters and all the events that made them what they are, you will instantly know how they can interact or why they can’t, and what the obstacles are.
The story-like biography will generate on its own the answers to the characters' ambitions, story goals, conflicts and epiphanies > the basic questions in the definition of a character.
Moreover, it will provide the basic aspects of the setting and the world building.
For example, let’s say my hero is a werewolf (I know many people don't like this kind of stories, but please humor me on this, so that I can show what I mean :) ). In the story-like biography, one thing I wrote was that his fiancée had died and that werewolves usually mate once in their lifetime. So here I have a werewolf who has not been actually mated, but who considered his fiancée his lifetime mate. That raises a conflict and an obstacle in his interaction with the heroine.
On the other hand, the heroine is dual natured, being born by a vampire mother and a werewolf father. In her biography, I wrote the stories of her parents and why their relationship was forbidden by the rules, what happened when they decided to be together, what could happen if a child would be born from such a relationship and why they decided to keep the baby.
The world and settings are built on their own.
From all that, by definition, the heroine feels she is an outcast and not belonging, either with the werewolves or with the vampires. Consequently, she has issues. Also, her biography states the rules by which she has to live; she tolerates sunlight because of her werewolf half nature, unlike full vampires, but she can not turn into a wolf to heal.
Already, the world rules are clarified: vampires can't tolerate sunlight but she can; on the other hand, she is more vulnerable to injuries due to her vampire nature, which does not let her turn into a wolf.
Moreover, the events in both their lives reveal that they have something in common, a common enemy, who have hurt both of them in the same or a similar way (villain’s biography describes his/her events). Will they come close because of their common enemy or will they compete on having their revenge?
And so on.
The story gets a shape, rules are set and the plot flows. Of course, I review the biographies to settle inconsistencies, to adjust time periods or events, to establish interactions and roles, and to choose what goes into the book/story and what remains as an auxiliary text.
From general to specific > from biographies to the plot. It’s like a puzzle, pieces that come together to form the picture.
In this form, biographies are the background of the story and the events which lead to the story's start.
I discovered that writing biographies like a story with a free style, just with the timeline rule, helped me put all the pieces together and answer the questions which I couldn't answer cold case, from scratch.
I don’t pretend to be an expert or to give a lecture on writing. I just wanted to share my experiment.
I hope that this post gave you some ideas for your writing techniques. Thank you for reading this.
Posted by Jacqvern at 12:17 AM