So P.T. Hylton’s reviews are starting to come in. I’m watching them like a sports fan. He’s gotten 3 “5 star” reviews since his book went free on Saturday. The last one is pretty dang good, and telling — the reviewer admitted to frequently putting down books without finishing them. I told you people Hylton was great 🙂
I’m sure most of the folks who come to my blog are self-published authors like me. So you know you have to read to get good. You need to see what other folks are doing, how they deal with certain turns in a story, how they transition from place to place. Regulation 19 — as well as any book over in my “Awesome Indies List” — are great sources for all that.
I love my Robert B. Parker and Jim Butcher, but I get a real thrill learning from folks who’ve bucked the system and went indie.
Something to watch later:
** Quick Update **
Here’s a breakdown of the basics of Jim Butcher’s theory on scene-design:
1. POV: unless you are using first person, the way to choose POV is to decide which character has the most to lose in a scene
2. Goal: The POV character must be actively pursuing this in the scene. They must be pursuing this goal for a reason which must be communicated to the reader.
3. Conflict: Somebody or something must be getting in the way of the POV character reaching the goal. The best choice here is the antagonist, but it doesn’t have to be. Often it can be the POV’s allies, and conflict doesn’t have to represent a great argument or a fight, just something that will block or slow the POV character down and distract from the goal.
4. Setback (the end of the scene): Does the POV character achieve the goal? There are 4 possible options:
A) YES… (Butcher says you should only ever use this at the end of the novel, and even then rarely, because it’s boring)
B) YES, BUT… (The character achieves the goal, but in doing so creates a new, unforeseen problem)
C) NO (Butcher says this is great for drama, but should be used sparingly as a character coming to a complete stop can halt the momentum of the story)
D) NO, AND FURTHERMORE… (This is Butcher’s favourite (and mine!). Not only does the POV character fail to achieve the goal set out by the scene, but in their failure they make things a whole lot worse)
I just read a wonderful interview with Jim Butcher (my favorite fantasy writer). A good takeaway is when he starts talking about the importance of outlining in his novels. I outline, a little, and reading this makes me want to take it more seriously.
Jim Butcher Interview