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Saturday, April 28, 2018

How Do You Establish a Story? By Connie Vines

 How do you establish a story?  What is your most unusual story?

I, like most of the writers I know, are involved in workshops, plotting groups, and or online classes.  Many of these are workshops sponsored by my local Orange County Chapter of Romance Writers, (past and present) are excellent in content and easy of application.

Christopher Vogler’s workshop “The Writer’s Journey” was a 2-day event which was designed for screen writers.  While I have ghost-written a screenplay, which was adapted for the small screen oversees, this is not main focus.  I have, however, applied what I leaned in this workshop to plot/outline my novels, novellas and expanded the W-plotting guide for my short-stories and anthologies.

And, of course, no writer’s library would be complete without out a physical copy and video version of Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”.  His work goes into detail about the art of storytelling and why we, as humans are hardwired (same say it's in our DNA) to accept and expect the ‘myth’.

During my term on The International Chapter of Romances Writers, I taught online classes on character development and plotting.  I, as I’ve blogged about in the past, plot my stores in 3-chapter clusters due to story flow, pivotal-points, dark-moment, etc.  Revisions are simpler for me this way because I can to insure my story’s pacing remain even. 

After my basic story is plotted, my character sketched out and motivation defined, I need to add depth to my character and strength my conflict.  I fine the series of writer’s reference books by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, of Writers Helping Writers fame, a must-have reference.  However, I also rely on ‘unconventional’ conflict generation.  Astrological signs are great form of conflict.  (Remember I have always worked odd-jobs—some jobs more ‘odd’ than others, to support my writing habit.)  One of my ‘temp’ assignments was for a local (and semi-well known) astrologer.  I already had knowledge of astrology but he explained charting/predictions/ and conflict due to…well, you get the general idea.  I have found this immensely helpful when my characters come from a similar background which can make ‘conflict’ a stretch.

I applied astrology (though it is never an element in the novel itself) to “Lynx” Rodeo Romance, Book 1.  Rachel is an Aquarius and Lynx is a Leo.  Opposites in the Zodiac, but like all opposites there is attraction/conflict/ and a heart-felt story line.

If a reader is looking for the ‘astrological elements of my character development’ she/he will find them.

Question #2 What is my most unusual story? 

 Meaning: not habitually or commonly occurring or done.
synonyms:  uncommon, abnormal, atypical, unexpected, surprising, unfamiliar, different;
remarkable or interesting because different from or better than others.

All of my stories fall under this umbrella, though for different reasons--depending on the series/setting.

My novels are set in areas I am familiar with, either by residing or vacationing in the area.  In 'Here Today, Zombie Tomorrow," my novel is set in Forest Falls, CA.  Since it is about an hour from our home we dove up the mountain and ate at the restaurant, toured the small town and hiked to the falls.  We also spent the next day at Big Bear Lake.

I mentioned in earlier blog posts, my ties to Native American Culture and the west.

My current release “Tanayia—Whisper upon the Water” is a historical YA novel with a Native American heroine and a setting in a boarding school in the 1880s.  The story reads like a young girls’ diary but is written in the 1st person, narrative.  Once Upon a Romance Reviews calls my 1st person narrative filled with raw emotion-- the reader is standing on the hill top beside Tanayia and living in her world --from Prologue to Epilogue.  Book 2 is a must!

Thank you for stopping by to read my post here at BWL.
If there is a topic you'd like me to write about in the future, please let me know.


**Apache Bread

1 c. white cornmeal
1 c. yellow cornmeal
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. red pepper
1 c. boilng water
1/2 c. bacon drippings
green cornhusks

Mix dry ingredients, add boiling water and bacon drippings.  Form into small rolls and wrap in green corn husks.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  Makes 12 individual breads.

** A Taste of Native American Culture by Connie Vines

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