Monday, September 16, 2019

Deliberately Thinking Structure

I've been working on a Jolie Gentil novella, tentatively called "The Twain Does Meet." I'm shamelessly borrowing Janet Evanovich's phrase and referring to it as a between-the-numbers book. It takes place between books ten and eleven.

Why? By book eleven, Jolie and Scoobie have a set of three-year old twins. I've had a blast adding them to the mix. But I didn't want to include their birth as part of one of one of the mysteries. It siimply seemed that murder and newborns didn't mix.

"The Twain Does Meet" certainly has a lot going on, and some problems to solve. But, no corpse to find on a porch or under a pirate ship.

Since I was doing something a bit different, I spent more time on structuring the story than I usually do. My friend Leigh Michaels had recently sent me a reference to K.M. Weilland's wonderful website, which has many articles on writing. One series deals with structure, and I found it so useful I printed the posts (yes, printed, not just skimmed online).
Books as building blocks.
I found the article on the difference between the inciting event and the key event to be the most useful. I don't always see the distinction in my own writing. I have two distinct story lines in "The Twain Does Meet," and I realized I needed to have separate events for each.

What's the difference between an inciting event and a key event? Think about the first Star Wars film (technically episode IV). The inciting event is Luke's uncle buying the droids. The key event (which changes everything for Luke and propels his future) is the death of his aunt and uncle.

Enough said. You'll have to check out Weilland's site. Do.

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Learn more about Elaine and her writing at www.elaineorr.com

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