Plotting Your Novel by Writing from the Middle

As a writer, I am always learning. I think that’s what I love most about writing — the learning never stops. I am either learning something new about myself and writing as I write, or I stumble across new information as I am looking to learn more about writing. This time it was the latter. Recently on Twitter, I ran across a book recommendation for plotting that I loved so much I had to share it here.

Write Your Novel From The Middle: A New Approach for Plotters, Pantsers and Everyone in Between by James Scott Bell is must read for anyone serious about writing. This book goes into detail about why writers should start from the middle of a story instead of the beginning or end (who would of thought!). And how finding a character’s “mirror moment” is essential to true character development.

I definitely believe character development is a key element in a story. The more a reader can relate with a character and feel for a character’s journey, the better the book becomes. And this method certainly will help with that!

This book also helped me realize that I’m a Tweener (I always thought myself a straight up Pantser). I do love writing by the seat of my pants. That’s how I get some of my best ideas, but I also know where I’m writing too as well. I have a loose idea of events I need to reach and about where I need those events to happen. Also, I find already knowing my ending is a necessity to writing, even if I don’t know specifics. Just having a good idea of where I need to stop gives me a clear goal to reach for. But after reading Bell’s book I have an even better way to approach my writing. Start in the middle and Pants my way to the beginning and end. I’ll still have those events and goal posts to reach, but I think it will be far easier to get there knowing exactly what the character’s journey should entail.

And you know this book couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I’ve become somewhat stalled on writing the first draft of my second novel. I think this technique will get things churning quite nicely. Thanks Bell. 🙂

 

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Book Review: Machine by Jennifer Pelland

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5 out of 5 stars

Machine by Jennifer Pelland

Available on Kindle and on Paperback.

13418849Want to take a walk on the wild side? Then Jennifer Pelland’s novel Machine is for you, because that is exactly what Pelland’s main character Cecil does in this delightfully depicted science fiction world.

In this novel technology has advanced to the point of creating artificial replicant bodies for those who are unfortunate enough to find themselves with serious injuries, or illness that can’t be cured right away. Cecil just got her new body after being diagnosed with a low priority incurable disease. She decides to copy her consciousness to a “new” body and wait for the cure. But Cecil’s life takes a sudden and horrific blow when she wakes up in her machine body to find out wife Rivka has divorced her during the copying process.

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Book Review: Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips

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4 out of 5 stars

Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips

Available in Kindle, Hardcover, and Paperback

41g+rRWhjcL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Ever wondered how the gods of Olympus would act if they were thrown into modern society? Look no further, because Gods Behaving Badly answers this question in grand form. Be ready to laugh and appalled by the ungodly things these godly beings do.

Artemis is fed up with her twin brother Apollo’s holier-than-thou and over the top attitude, and his new job as a TV psychic doesn’t help matters any. Not to mention Aphrodite’s shameless sexual escapades and part time job as a telephone sex operator are especially hard to bear for the goddess of chastity.

As also the goddess of hunting, Artemis longs for the good old days when her and her godly relatives were respected and revered, and she was allowed to keep her beloved hunting dogs. But now space is at a premium as many of the gods now live crammed together in a much-too-small London town house. Artemis’s dreaming of better times only makes things more bitter as a battle of wills breaks out between Aphrodite and Apollo.

As battle wages, the new house cleaner Alice becomes swept up into the fray. Just an average human with an average friend named Neil who harbors a more than average crush for Alice. And these two ordinary people find themselves donning the cloaks of heroism in order to save the day.

While the description and writing style isn’t the greatest, this story more than makes up for it in clever wit and hilarious situations that would make Aphrodite blush — well maybe not. But the unfolding of the story is certainly enough to awake a feeling of greatness and awe as the story finally reaches its perfect conclusion.

I truly enjoyed tagging along on Alice’s and Neil’s epic journey and awaking, and I am positive you will too.

 

 

Book Review: The Deaths of Tao by Wesley Chu

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4 out of 5 stars

The Deaths of Tao by Wesley Chu

Available on Kindle and in Paperback

deaths-of-taoI sooooo wanted to give this book five stars, but the slow middle of the book just wouldn’t allow me to do it. Don’t get me wrong, this book is freaking awesome! The author had me from page one as we see Roen and Jill three years after The Lives of Tao and things are completely different. In fact, I’m quite shocked at how different things are and I just wanted to read to figure out how things got so messed up in the three years since we saw Roen, Tao, and Jill.

The incredible character arcs are heart tugging as a clearer picture unfolds of the missing three years as the story progresses. The Prophus may have won the battle, but the Gengix are determined to win the war and Earth to boot. Things get dark and deep fast as the Gengix’s plan unfolds. Roen and Tao make huge sacrifices in an attempt to stop the catastrophic plan.

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Book Review: The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu

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5 out of 5 stars

The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu

Available on Kindle and in Paperback

lives-of-taoI never even heard of this book or author before picking up the Lives of Tao, so I had no idea what to expect. But this book was on the list to read for my book club, so I purchased it and started to read. And I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by what I found.

The first chapter was a little confusing until I figured out what was going on (that there was actually a sentient being inside the character’s head that was talking to him and the guy wasn’t just plain bonkers), but by chapter two Wesley Chu had me anxiously awaiting to see what happened next.

Enter Roen Tan an over-weight, out-of-shape slob with no real prospects beyond his life of video games, frozen pizzas, and the occasional party night with his roommate. Just a boring, unexceptional life… that is until Roen starts hearing a voice talking inside his head and it’s definitely not his own. And things just get weirder from there (but in a really good way). And so a story of humor and razor edge danger unfolds as Roen learns to adjust to this new unexpected change in his life.

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Book Review: A Dirty Job By Christopher Moore

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4 out of 5 stars

A dirty Job by Christopher Moore

Available in paperback and Kindle

51q2efSNbSL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Yep, death has a new name and it goes by Death Merchant. Charlie unwittingly becomes one of the secret collectors after the devastating death of his wife. Only Charlie has no idea what a Death Merchant is or why he keeps seeing things glow red, why the shadows seem to be stalking him, or why it seems everyone he meets dies.

Left alone to raise his new-born daughter and manage his small business, things only get worse as an average “beta male” Charlie Asher gets deeper and deeper into the bizarreness of his new job of collecting souls. He must contend with vengeful sewer harpies that mock him at every turn and his own ignorance in a race to save the fate of the world and death itself.

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Book Review: Lamb by Christopher Moore

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5 out of 5 stars

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore

Available in Paperback and Kindle

81nH1wpBRvLWhat kind of boyhood did Jesus Christ have? The cleverly adept Christopher Moore decided to put his own spin on the Son of God’s time on Earth and fill in the blanks where the four gospels and history left us all hanging.

The story is told through Levi who is called Biff. Christ’s childhood friend you never knew existed. Raised from the dead by a snarky angel Raziel (who also loves soap operas and pizza), Biff tells the story of his best friend Joshua (the name Jesus is actually a Greek translation of his Hebrew name Yeshua).

This delightful “fifth gospel” tells a striking tale as the two boys grow up in the farming town of Nazareth where Joshua is in turmoil over his destiny to become the Messiah. How does one become the Messiah anyway? Why doesn’t God just tell Joshua what he was sent to Earth to do? So at the age of thirteen, Joshua sets out from his small town to find his destiny with Biff in tow.

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