Friday, August 26, 2011

Story Structure: Ocean Waves or Stairsteps?

I've spent quite a while mulling over one of my writing projects lately, trying to decide what wasn't working. Now don't get me wrong, the characters are terrific (if I do say so myself), the set up is good, the chemistry between all of the players is working nicely, but I still felt like something wasn't working quite right.

Then it hit me--I have plenty of conflict but it looks like ocean waves instead of a set of stairs.

You see, for conflict to push the characters to the end of the book, you have to keep upping the ante. Ocean wakes may have some nice crests, but the conflict comes back down again to a former level (or close).


Stair steps on the other hand keep building upward. One conflict stacks on top of the next until you reach the crisis at the end--and it keeps the reader riveted in their seats. If things don't continue to get worse for the character then the story stagnates.


Yeah, that means I need to do a little more tweaking to the story, but hopefully it'll help me make it the best it can be.


And there are just a couple more fun things from the end of my blog tour (yes, I know it was over a few weeks back but postal strikes, insane schedules and general procrastination abounded this past few weeks.

First check out the interview I did with Jennifer Walker at the blog "A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book."

Then, pop by Stitch-Read-Cook to check out the full book review Aislyn did on Blank Slate. Here's an excerpt: " This was such an incredible read-so poignant! I couldn't put this book down-I stayed up almost all night to finish this. I needed to find out what happened!"

Is there any higher praise? (The answer to that, of course, is no!)

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