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Anatomy of a Best-Selling Story—Structure Part One

I don’t always think enough about the elements which make a story work as I write. Whether you write more organically or with more structure and intent going in, it is wise to think about the elements of novels which make them work and catch reader’s eyes. That is proper structure!

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Structure Matters Structure Matters

Writers must understand structure if they hope to be successful. Yes, it might take five years to finish the first novel, but if we land a three book deal, we don’t have 15 years to turn in our books. Also, in the new paradigm of publishing, writers who produce more content have greater odds of making money at this writing thing.

Understanding structure helps us become faster, cleaner, better writers. Structure is essential to all stories, from screenplays to novels to epic space operas.

Plotters tend to do better with structure, but even pantsers (those writers who write by the seat of their pants) NEED to understand structure or revisions will be HELL. Structure is one of those boring topics like finance or taxes. It isn’t nearly as glamorous as creating characters or reading about ways to unleash our creative energy.

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I’ve run my 20 page Death Star Critique…

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Sandler and The Avengers (The Big Deal About Sexist and Racist “Humor”)

This morning I woke to a couple stories trending. One was Chris Evans and Jeremy Renner apologizing for their comments about Black Widow being a slut in the new Avengers movie, because she had a thing for both their characters. The other was about several Native American extras who walked off the set of Adam… Continue reading Sandler and The Avengers (The Big Deal About Sexist and Racist “Humor”)

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Pen Names—Necessary Evil or Ticket to Crazyville?

this is some thought-provoking stuff no matter where you’re at in the writing game

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Image via Flickr Creative Commons courtesy of gaelx Image via Flickr Creative Commons courtesy of gaelx

Today we are going to talk about a somewhat touchy subject. The pen name. Before anyone gets in a fluff, understand two things. First, I’m on your side. Secondly, this is only a decision you can make. My goal here is to make sure you guys are making educated business decisions. Thus, I won’t stop anyone from having a pen name, but about 95% of the time? It’s unnecessary.

In my opinion? Pen names are more hassle than they are worth and they’re a fast way to land in Crazyville. Pen names used to offer benefits, but most of those benefits have evaporated because the world is digital and connected. In fact, pen names can actually hurt book sales and stall a platform and brand.

Let’s look at some of the advantages pen names used to offer that no longer exist.

I…

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The Myth of the “Professional” Writer

Something struck me recently while reading. I am a bit of a nerd, and I actually do read the author interviews at the ends of books. I also read the acknowledgements pages, as well as the author bios, and it is not uncommon for me to be found creeping online for info about whatever writer… Continue reading The Myth of the “Professional” Writer

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Want to Successfully Publish? First, Are You a “Real” Writer?

Am I a real writer? A question we all ask along the way.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

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For many writers (me included), we don’t start off with the confidence to yell to the world, “I’m going to be a professional author!” Heck, I wrote a 178,000 word “novel” and still didn’t believe I was a writer. Later, I had over a year and a half of consistent blogging under my belt, multiple short stories, and newbie novels that had been at least good enough to win prestigious contests and yet….

I was not a “real writer.”

Schrödinger Writer? If you put a writer in an office at a keyboard, is the writer alive or dead (real or fake) until the book is published?

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We’ve Come a LONG Way, Baby

The literary landscape has shifted dramatically. More avenues of publishing have opened and become appealing, thus this silly question of, “Are we a real writer?” holds far less power. Believe it or not, when I began blogging, I dedicated…

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How to Intensify Conflict & Deepen Characters—The Wound

Here is a fantastic post on the WHY behind your character’s actions!

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Screen Shot 2012-12-20 at 10.17.54 AM Hmmm, what’s the story behind THIS?

There are all kinds of arguments about which area of craft is the most important for creating great fiction. Plot? Character? Voice? Theme? My opinion. They’re all organs in one body. Our brains will still work if our lungs have bronchitis, but maybe not at an optimal level. Similarly, there are people with brain injuries who have a strong heart. A body can “live” without everything operating in concert, and so can any story.

It’s ideal to hone our skills in all areas, and our goal is to be skilled at all of them. Can we be equally skilled? That’s another debate for another post.

I will say that plot (skeleton/brain) is very important. Our characters (heart) are only as strong as the crucible. Ultimately, all stories are about people. We might not recall every detail of a plot, but we DO remember characters…

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