Sunday, March 20, 2011

Insurance Questions for Writers (updated)

I'm slowly feeding in articles that appeared on my other website, but as I do that, I'm editing and updating them. As always, feel free to ask questions. I'm more than willing to discuss writing.



by Myrna Mackenzie

1.   What is the conflict?

2.   Does the book start with a bang and a hook that makes it
       impossible for the reader to put the book down?

3.   Who is my hero and who is my heroine?
      What incidents in the past motivate them?
      Are they sympathetic? (If the answer is yes, prove it. 
      Give 3 or 4 concrete examples of why a reader will
       believe in this character).

4.   Does every scene in the book serve a purpose (move the
       plot along)? If so, be able to state the purpose in one or
       two sentences.

5.   Does every secondary character have a good reason for
        being there? Again, be able to state the purpose in a couple of

6.   Do you have compelling scene and chapter endings that make the
        reader want to continue reading?

7.   Why (concrete reasons) does the hero fall in love with
        the heroine?
      Why does the heroine fall in love with the hero?

Obviously this question is tailored for romance writers. If you're writing suspense, you'll want to ask yourself other things, such as: Have I left clues (logical but not too obvious) along the way? Have I inserted a few red herrings? Does the resolution of the mystery make sense and have I introduced the perpetrator early enough in the book? (No fair bringing the person in late in the story or having it be a character who doesn't actually appear in the story. I once read a contest entry where the criminal was a relative of one of the characters, someone the reader had never actually even heard of. Nothing will make your reader more angry than, essentially, tricking him or her. On the other hand, writing a villain who is in plain sight and keeping the reader guessing as to who the culprit might be is what makes writing and reading suspense so much fun).

8.   How does the hero change by the end of the book? Why?
      How does the heroine change by the end of the book? (Again, why)?
       (Or, if this is a different type of book, simply: How do my major
       characters change by the end of the book? And what makes them

9.   What is the black moment?  Is it strong?

10.  How is the conflict resolved?  Do the main characters
       solve their own problems? (They should).

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