You can either enjoy the story or write the story everyone enjoys.

{Day 3} Author's Essential Writing Pilot

 

The Page-Turning Storybuilder Blueprint™
{Part II}


Perfecting Sensory Details

The setting is what “puts” the reader in the book. They should be able to read your story and feel like they are there, smelling the smells, feeling the wind, seeing the environment. There is a trick to this: you want to describe your settings in a way that also allows the reader to fill in details in their minds.

Here’s a tip: don’t provide the reader with every sensory detail. Keep it to two or three. The most common senses to describe are hearing, sight and smell since these senses do not have to be “right in” the scene to be available. You can see something far away before you get there, a smell can waft away from an area, and sounds will often reach a person before they see whatever caused it.

This is especially true with the common things that just about everyone does; walking to the store, driving, everyday rituals. You do not have to describe, in precise detail, exactly how the character goes about their lives. For instance, how a new car had a new-car smell, a newly vacuumed floor, clean windows, leather seats that enfold the body as they sit, etcetera. Just saying ‘the new car’ and adding a few details about the look and feel of the car will be enough. (NOTE: if there are details that foreshadow something to come in the future, they should be mentioned as many times as you feel necessary for the plot.)

Examples

My keys jingled as I hit the unlock button and we all piled into the car. I couldn’t help but breathe deeply as the new car smell flooded my nostrils. After getting in, I pressed the brake, hit the start button, and the dashboard lit up. The beeps tell me that my Bluetooth has connected as I put my phone into the dock hanging from my front window. Before releasing the brake, I roll down the window and plant my elbow on the sill.

The sound of a chirp grabs my attention, and I look up. A red bird I’ve never seen before is perched on a branch and looking right at me. I smile as I look at its beautiful feathers. A small breeze flows through the trees, sending stray strands of hair across my face along with the sweet smell of pine. God, I love the woods.

Conflict & Resolution

Conflict

Conflict is the most important element of the story. The characters can be real, the settings popping and the plot smooth, but if there is no conflict, the story will fail. The conflict is what drives your characters, what makes their lives worthwhile, which gives the story meaning. You must have conflict to have a story. Write down all the conflict that you see and the counter-efforts behind it. (Why is the conflict there? What is causing the problem for the protagonist?)

For this reason, the antagonist provides the most important character or problem to your story. The antagonist causes conflict for the protagonist. Now, the antagonist does not necessarily have to be a person. It could be a disease, it could be time and distance between the protagonist and his/her lover, it could be anything that would cause a problem for the protagonist.

The central conflict does not have to be exterior to the protagonist, either. It could be his/her doubt and distrust in themselves. It could be fear. In the case of fantasy, it could be a birthright curse. It should be something that seems overbearing or unsolvable. Throughout the story, there should be mini-conflicts that power the chapters forward. Characters should get into spats, people should get injured, destinations missed or disappearing, plans should fall through, things of that nature. Life is full of ups and downs, and your writing should be as well.

So, look at your chapter. It should have adequate conflict, even if it is minor. The best writers add conflict, build on it, and leave the resolution to be discovered in the next chapter. This is how you develop a “cliff-hanger”, and your readers will HAVE to keep reading to find out what happens next. This technique turns books into page-turners.

Resolution

The characters have overcome the conflict and now…they’re here. The resolution. Here, you want to tie up as many loose ends as you can. Give the reader as much as possible, leaving some clues for the next book, if there is (going to be) one. The resolution does not have to be perfect, but it has to be there. Even standalones (books that don’t have a sequel or follow-up publication) have resolutions that leave readers with questions in their heads.

It is this phase that gets sharpened through the drafting process. Many loose ends present themselves throughout the story, but they may not all resolve thoroughly by the end. Some are intentional – in the case of serials – and some are just left out there. To get your resolution tied up nicely, make sure you properly draft and read the ENTIRE book multiple times. If you need to, keep a notepad so you can keep track of the sub-plots and make sure they are wrapped up.

Hopefully this helps you in crafting your stories! Come back tomorrow for some more tools to help you improve and create a page-turner your readers will enjoy again and again!

 

What You Will Learn This Week:



Day 4 - How To Launch Your Book, Boost Your Sales &
Hit The Bestsellers Lists

 

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