Write on, Wednesday: Fiction Primer

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By Leslie Lindsay

I never really thought I would have much interest in writing fiction.  I had always seen myself as the self-help, parenting, fact-based sort of writer with a slight bent towards memoir/life lessons.  But then I subscribed to Writer’s Digest and began wandering over to the columns geared toward fiction writing.  Character development, story escalation, discovery…well, it all seemed rooted in psychology.  Since I am a former child/adolescent psych R.N., my metamorphsis to “writer” seemed quite natural.

After slaving away for weeks, months even on the revisions of my 16 chapter non-fiction book in Childhood Apraxia, I am ready to take a break from all of that, uh…monotony.  Back to fiction!  But I am a little rusty and I need a bit of a refresher, and perhaps you do, too.

According to a semi-recent edition of Writer’s Digest (sorry, clipped this piece out, no date to go by), here are the 5 key points for shaping your story:

1–Orientation.  Meet the protagonist.  What’s his life like?  What does he have?  Is he about to lose it?  Or, what does he need to pursue?

2–Crisis.  Something bad or unexpected turns the protagonist’s world around…what is it?  What is he trying to avoid or obtain?

3–Escalation.  The protagonist tries to solve the problem or answer the life-changing/defining question.  What does he do?  Show us.

4–Discovery.  The protagonist reaches a moment of realization.  What does he learn?

5–Change.  The protagonist’s life has transformed..  Hint at the lesson, change or new direction here…

Done!  That was easy, right?!  Uh…not so much.  I know that seems pretty formulaic, but you have options; it’s called creativity and imagination.  Apply liberally and you will be cranking out novels in no time.  As for me…well, I better get on with it!

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