It was a packed house at the Best Western Seven Seas last Saturday, when our chapter hosted guest speaker Lisa Cron, author of Wired for Story. Lisa spent both the morning and afternoon sessions discussing some of the salient points from her book: namely, everything you’ve ever been taught about writing is wrong. According to Lisa, beautiful writing isn’t what sells books. What sells books is an effective story.
In a nutshell, she described an effective story as “how what happens affects someone in pursuit of a difficult quest – both internal and external – and how that person changes as a result.”
Every protagonist enters a story with two things:
- Something they really want, and
- A long-held misbelief that’s been holding them back from achieving that desire.
The plot is then constructed to force the protagonist to confront those internal and external issues. And in order to keep those pages turning, the plot must have a ticking clock and a massive consequence for the protagonist. At the end of the story, the character will have “new eyes” through which they see the world, now that they’ve confronted and resolved that which has been holding them back.
Lisa walked us through some steps we can take to ensure each scene contributes to the progression of the plot – by identifying the scene’s “alpha point,” determining why it exists and what it leads to, and ensuring it contains conflict. She also advised us to loosely plan each scene before it’s written – listing out what happens, how it affects the protagonist, and what the consequences are both internally and externally. Though this sounds like heresy to pantsers, she argues that it gives the writer some predefined context for each scene, and will therefore lead to more efficient, confident output.
As always, we handed out our monthly awards. Member of the Month went to President Janet Tait, for the tremendous amount of work she puts in to keep our chapter running smoothly.
Attagirl went to Marie Andreas, who’s endured some very difficult battles in her personal life recently, yet still keeps writing through them.
Here’s all the Good News our chapter members had to share this month:
- Lisa Kessler won the Award of Excellence for Best Paranormal for Blood Moon, and finaled in several contests for Night Angel, including the Prisms, the National Excellence in Romance Fiction for Best Novella, and the Book Buyers Best. She will also be releasing Harvest Moon on September 28th.
- Georgie Lee released The Captain’s Frozen Dream on August 1st.
- Eleanor Nystrom received a Revise and Resubmit from Entangled.
- Tessa McFionn got a release date for Spirit Bound.
- Kitty Bucholtz has a new and improved self-publishing class.
- Tameri Etherton released The Darathi Vorsi Prince on September 1st.
- Judy Duarte released The Boss, the Bride and the Baby on August 1st.
- Kristen Koster received a Revise and Resubmit on a full manuscript.
- Sydney Sterling published her third book on August 23rd, Meghan.
- Kimberly Field submitted to Essays for possible publication.
- Susan Burns released her fourth book in the Legends of the Goldens sci-fi series, Love Me, Bite Me, at the end of August.
- Sylvia Mendoza published an article about firefighters in the latest issue of Romance Writers Report, inspired by moderating the panel the California Dreamin’ Conference.
Please join us for our next meeting on October 17th, when we’ll be hosting bestselling author Carolyn Jewel, who’ll be talking all about the world of self-publishing.