August 18th Meeting

The August 18th meeting will be a time of learning, a time of sharing our experiences on the subjects of the month.

Drum roll here… The subjects are Cliff Hangers, Plot, and Theme. Kathy Pritchett will present a program to start the discussions off.

Come prepared to learn something new. Come prepared to share your experiences pertaining to these subjects as a writer.

And don’t forget to try one of the writing prompt challenges. Or come up with your own writing prompt.

Jan 20 Monthly Meeting – An attorney visits

If you saw the original post about a meeting on Cliffhangers and Plotting, disregard that. We will have that program later in the year. Instead we will be having an attorney visit our group. He will answer questions about what an attorney can and cannot do. This information should be helpful to anyone writing about attorneys, or just plain interesting.

It’s a new year and time to get motivated with your writing again. That’s what KWA is about: helping each other with motivation, education, and support in many ways.

To help with Motivation, maybe you need to do some practice writing. Here are the writing prompts provided by Louise for January, from Brian A. Klems and Zachary Petit – The Writing Prompt Book Camp.

1. You’re downtown, and see graffiti on an unlikely place – graffiti like you’ve never seen before, concerning someone you know.
2. They tour the house with the real estate agent. “We love it,” he said, “Is there anything we should know about the house’s past?” The agent looked down.
3. Write an obituary for your favorite fictional character (literary, television, etc.) including how the death occurred.

Share your writing at the January 20th meeting.

February: Outlining and Storyboarding

Do you identify as a pantser or a plotter?  I start off as a panster (someone who writes by the seat of her pants) and slowly become a plotter (someone who has things, or at least most things, figured out).  Outlining has come a long way since the rigid Roman numerals approach they teach in school.  Even if you are a pantser, chances are you’ll need to use an outline at some point: the story may be written, but you may need to go back and figure out if it’s consistent.

I’m excited to learn about storyboarding.  I currently have no plans to write a graphic novel, but I’ve always been curious about how the stories are created and designed.  I’m quite sure I’ll be thieving an idea of two to help me in my writing!  And, who knows, maybe I’ll be inspired to include writing a graphic novel on my bucket list.

Next Saturday’s meeting will feature VP Starla Criser speaking about outlining and Daniel Love talking about how to story board a graphic novel.  Starla is also going to lead the indie segment.

What’s this about an indie (independent) segment?

After January’s meeting, the Board met and reviewed the suggestions people gave us regarding meeting topics.  We want to present “how-to” programs that are helpful to both the beginning and advanced writer and an “indie” segment that is intended as a mutual sharing of information on subjects such as e-publishers and small presses, social media, websites, etc.  Not yet ready to publish, but  need some feedback?  Bring a few pages of your writing!

Although our meetings technically run from 1:30 to 4:00, we actually rent the room until 6:00.  After some discussion, it was decided that while that makes for a long day, we might as well use the time and try to present specific program blocks.  The third portion will be the “indie” portion:

  • 1:30: Introductions and Announcements
  • 1:45: First Program
  • 2:30: Break
  • 2:45: Second Program
  • 3:30: Break
  • 3:45: Indie Program (Discussion / Critique / Craft)

KWA is going to provide water.  Feel free to bring a beverage with you.  The room temperature can be difficult to moderate, so you may want to dress in layers to ensure that you are comfortable.

See you next Saturday!  Happy scribbling!  Lisette

The Dramatica Theory to Story Structure

Plot, climax, rising action, falling action, structure; all terms writers use when talking about stories, but often their exact definitions tend to elude us. One would think that with all the brilliant minds that have written stories over the course of history, we would have found one definitive method of writing that worked for everyone, but unfortunately, it seems we’re always finding something new, something better, something that works for us.

It was Aristotle who first defined the structure of a story.  Since then, we have seen an explosion of different methods and theories of story structure, each having its place and each being extremely useful.  We have seen the advent of the Index Card Method (http://www.screenwritingtricks.com/2008/10/story-structure-101-index-card-method.html), the Deep Structure Method (http://www.right-writing.com/published-novelstructure.html) and the Snowflake Method (http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/art/snowflake.php).  Personally, I have found that I prefer to use Dramatica Theory for structuring my novels.

To explain why I enjoy using Dramatica, it’s probably best to explain what it covers.  First, it is incredibly rich and detailed and breaks down story structure into the following aspects:

  1. The Grand Argument
  2. Character
  3. Plot and Plot Progression
    1. The differences between plot and storyweaving
    2. 3 and 4 Act Plots
    3. Storyforming and Dynamics
    4. Story Encoding
    5. Storyweaving

For a writer like me (e.g. not that sharp and needing gobs of help), Dramatica Theory provides a nearly step-by-step method for developing a story.  BUT!  The great thing about Dramatica Theory is that it gives the writer a tremendous amount of wiggle-room as well.

Writers can usually be grouped into one of two camps; pantsters and plotters.  Pantsters are those authors that write from the “seat of their pants”.  Plotters, on the other hand, love to plan every step of the story before getting started.

The best thing about Pantster writing is that the story can grow organically and take many amazing twists and turns that the writer never intended.  Their most formidable problem though is they tend to suffer horribly from writer’s block.

Plotters rarely suffer from writer’s block because often, they never get around to actually writing.  They spend years developing entire worlds, languages, family histories, but never writing their story.

Dramatica Theory, in my opinion, helps alleviate the problems in both camps.  I can have a novel plotted within a month but with enough room for me to let the story grow as I write, thereby allowing me to become a quasi-plotter.  I can write from the hip, but have plenty of structure available to keep me from hitting a wall.

If you are interested in trying Dramatica Theory, you can find the entire theory at the Dramatica website (http://www.dramatica.com/).  Glen Strathy has created a website that provides an excellent condensed version of Dramatica if you aren’t interested in the complete theory.  His website is available at http://www.how-to-write-a-book-now.com/index.html.  Give Dramatica a shot and maybe it will work for you!

 

Darin Elliott works as a Laboratory Technician for Leading Technology Composites.  Married for the past twelve years to his wife Misti, he is the father of three children and grandfather to one grandson (with another on the way).  Darin writes in the science fiction and horror genres with a style reflective of Clive Barker and Philip K. Dick.

His writing methods can be found at his literary blog Webgoji’s Ramblings: http://webgojiramblings.wordpress.com/