Thursday, April 22, 2010


Due to the fact we're all at our local conference and can't moderate the list today, we're bringing you a special feature by two of our dear friends.

By Connie Flynn & Linda Style

GMC - Goal, motivation and conflict.
Your protagonist must have a worthy goal (what he plans to accomplish during the
book).He must have believable motivation to want to carry out his goal and there
must be stress-inducing conflict. Without conflict, there is no story. These things
belong in the first three pages, not necessarily fully developed, and all belong
in the first three chapters. How soon you get to some of them depends on the type
of story you're writing.

Once you have these three elements identified, you can move on. I should add that
sometimes I start with only a vague idea of what one or all of the GMC might be,
and if I just start writing, it helps me uncover what they are.

Points for the first three pages include:

1. Start with important action - an unpublished writer doesn't have the luxury of
building up to your conflict. Something should happen immediately to hook the reader.
Every story should have a hook.
2. Develop your conflict as soon as possible- things need to be stressful. If life
is too easy for your characters, you will not hold the readers' attention.
3. Make promises-and keep them. Romance readers want romance; mystery readers expect
a good puzzle. Hint at things to come and then deliver.
4. Develop a main character your reader can identify with, worry about, and root
6. Let the reader know up front what's at stake. What's the conflict? what stands
to be lost?
7. Establish the setting - Let the reader know where we are and when, and use it
to enhance the emotion.
8. The beginning must foreshadow the conclusion. Your story is not a random series
of events. All activities are carefully linked together. All plot elements must
intertwine with one another. It really helps to have an idea of the ending before
you begin...even if it changes.
9. Set the pace - to some degree, the genre will set it for you. Generally, historical romances are more leisurely, suspense moves faster.
10. Don't digress. Everything mentioned in your book must have a reason for being
there. If it doesn't advance the story line, it shouldn't be in the book. this includes gratuitous love scenes, red herrings and plot twists that don't ultimately tie in.

1 comment:

Amber Scott said...

Thanks for these first three pages tips! They are perfectly timed for my revision crunch.