Walk Through the Door

It’s there right in front of you. Staring at you. Driving you nuts! It’s the door. Your heart leaps at the excitement of what might be on the other side. But fear grips you.

That’s the life of a writer. But I have some news for you. Contrary to what you’ve seen in the movies, there is NO monster on the other side of the door. Walking through the door—even if it is the wrong door—is not fatal.

As a writer, there will always be uncertainty. You can’t see what’s on the other side. Here’s why you should walk through that door:

1) Good things come to those who wait, but the best things come to those who pursue it.

2) If you never do, you’ll never know.

3) The door is possibility. Walking through it forces it into your reality.

4) You’ll regret it if you don’t. At some point, you’ll look back and wish you had.

5) Walking through the door awakens your creativity. You’ll write better.

6) By walking through the door, you’re moving. And most of the time, it will be forward!

Doors were built to keep unwanted things (or people) out, but they were also built to provide a threshold from where you were to where you want to go. You can use it either way. Choose the latter.

Do yourself—and your current or future readers—a favor and walk through the door. Remember, it swings both ways and you will be able to do go back if it turns out to be a direction you’d rather not travel.

I know it can be frightening, intimidating and even agonizing. But it’s also exhilarating, adventuresome and rewarding.

As you go through this week, I encourage you to take a step. Walk through the door!

Featured Fiction Friday Presents: Beth Goddard

This year’s Frasier Contest has come to a close. The finalists and semi-finalists have been announced, and we are all eagerly awaiting the Pizza Party to find out who the winner is. In the mean time, lets meet one of the Judges that made it all possible: Beth Goddard, with her new book Riptide.

Q: Beth, give us a tag line and a little blurb about your story.

A: Two surprises await high-stakes repo man Jake Jacobson on his latest job. First, old flame Kelsey Chambers. Second, gunfire! Seizing the luxury yacht should have been easy, but he hadn’t planned on Kelsey’s appearance. Or that smugglers would hijack the vessel to find an antique map hidden on board. The map is Jake and Kelsey’s only leverage…but it carries a price. Without it, they’re as good as dead. With it, they’re the target of a relentless hunt. Their failed relationship has Kelsey afraid to rely on Jake again. Can she count on him with their lives on the line?

Q: Beth, what do you want readers to learn/take away from this story.

A: Jake is a man who has lost his way in his relationship with God and it affects every part of his life, the story itself a metaphor, reflecting his loss of direction. In addition, Jake and Kelsey are hardly prepared to face the challenges they meet in the wilderness. Two key scriptures are woven throughout the story. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. Isaiah 43:2 Life can be a riptide sometimes, sweeping us away. When it seems like there’s nothing we can do, we can lean on Him because if we trust in Him, He will lead us by still waters where surely goodness and loving kindness will follow us all the days of our lives.(from Psalm 23). I hope Riptide will be a powerful emotional experience for readers and when they finish the story, they have a sense of redemption and that all is right with the world in His hands.

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elizabethgoddard

Elizabeth Goddard is an award-winning author with well over a dozen romance and romantic suspense novels, including the romantic mystery, The Camera Never Lies—winner of the prestigious Carol Award in 2011. After acquiring her computer science degree, she worked at a software firm before eventually retiring to raise her four children and become a professional writer. A member of several writing organizations, she judges numerous contests and mentors new writers. In addition to writing, she home schools her children and serves with her husband as he pastors a church in Louisiana.

 

The Importance of A Scene

Lately I’ve been reading various pieces from new and up-n-coming authors and I’ve noticed something with scenes.

They tend to “wander.”

Scenes should have a focus. A point and a purpose.

Here at My Book Therapy we talk about SHARP and FOCUS when writing a scene but today I’m going to talk about the POINT of a scene.

I don’t have an acronym for POINT but you don’t need one.

The word itself is makes my… well… point.

As you write your scene, consider “what is the point of my scene?”

The purpose? Why are you writing this scene.

You have to deliver some emotional and physical element of the point-of-view character using SHARP and FOCUS techniques.

But you also have to stay within the point and purpose of the scene.

As characters speak and move, it’s easy to get lost and meander through the scene.

For example: If you begin a scene in the heroine’s point of view to show how she wants to get a job at a publishing house as an editor, you have to end the scene with her either achieving an interview or finding out there are no jobs available.

You can’t end the scene with her deciding she wants to visit a friend and wondering if the friend’s boyfriend will ever propose.

I’ve seen this a lot lately.

The scene must also end with the thoughts or actions of the point-of-view character.

Be careful not to exit the scene with the thoughts and actions of another character.

Let’s go back to the character go for a job at a publishing house. Here’s how you structure it…

Open the scene with the heroine in dialog or checking her email to see if she has a job interview.

Use dialog to deliver her emotion and her “wants.”

In the midst of this you can show her home world, her competency, friends or family, whatever but again, use dialog and action to show the reader the characters.

Layer in emotion. How does she feel about getting a job with a publisher. Why does she want this job?

What’s the stake of the scene? Should she get a job interview or do you need to distance the heroine from her goal?

If this is an early on scene, your heroine should probably not get the job interview, but this is why story structure is important. You have to know where you’re going. Develop some kind of road map.

When the heroine learns, let’s say, she didn’t get the interview, she has to have some emotional reaction. And she must have some kind of action or resolve to carry the story forward.

Again, this is why back story development is so important. Not getting the job should go to her dark wound of her past.

She thinks she never gets what she wants. All of her dreams are thwarted in some way… Ever since her dad lost his job and could never find another one.

She believes life and God are against her and that nothing will ever change or go her way.

Not getting a job interview is just another brick in her wall.

So, you end the scene with our heroine going to her old job and deciding life is never going her way. She should just decide waiting tables is all she’s ever going to do.

Don’t end the scene with her calling her friends and meeting for coffee. Or going shopping.

Why? Because there’s no emotional hook to it. We need to see her world, get a feel for why she wants out of the diner job and to achieve her dream.

Remember this: End the scene the way it began.

In other words, if you began dealing with her job, end dealing with her job or her emotions about the job. Or her emotions about life but relate it to why she wants that job!

Make sense?

Recap

1. What’s the POINT of your scene?

2. What’s the GOAL? What are you trying to communicate about the character and her journey?

3. What’s the emotional STAKES? In other words, how will you SHOW the reader what she wants by going for this job interview? How will you hint at her dark would/lie/fear in this scene? Or hint at what she really wants out of life.

4. End the way you began. Stay on task. If you’re introducing a want like a certain job and hinting at her fears that she’ll never get anything she wants in life, end with some kind of physical or emotional resolve about the same thing. It can be negative: “I’ll never amount to anything.” Or positive: “I’m going to go get that job no matter what!”

5. Leave the scene with some kind of hook to give the reader hope that the character is only just beginning this journey, or finally wising up.

This stuff takes time. You need to develop the characters and story world, their journey and what the story is about to create impactful, meaningful scenes.

There are other elements to a scene such as emotional layering and story layering, but work in getting these basics and then you can smoothly add more.

Happy Writing!

***

OUPBest-selling, award-winning author Rachel Hauck loves a great story. She excels in seeing the deeper layers of a story.

With a love for teaching and mentoring, Rachel comes alongside writers to help them craft their novel.

A worship leader, board member of ACFW and popular writing teacher, Rachel is the author of over 16 novels.

She lives in Florida with her husband and her dog, Lola. Contact her at: Rachel@mybooktherapy.com. Her next book, Once Upon A Prince, releases May 7!

Go forth and write!

Do you need help with your story idea, synopsis or proposal?

How about some one-on-one craft coaching. Check out our menu of services designed to help you advance your writing dreams.

Pitching Tip #3! Understand your STAKES!

Hey friends! I hope you had a great weekend.  This week, we’re coming at you with Pitching Tip #3 – I hope you find it helpful!

 

 

If you’re attending the ACFW Conference (or any other writing conference) and want some help in learning how to pitch a novel, then check out the Pitch and Promotion Seminar!  With coaches that help you hone and practice you pitch, as well as teach you how to promote yourself at conference, and afterwards, this seminar will teach you how to wake an editor or agent up to your brilliant story!

Check it out here: http://www.mybooktherapy.com/product/learn-how-to-pitch-your-novel/

Have a great week and go write something brilliant!

Susie May