Learn How To Self-Edit #AuthorToolboxBlogHop Emotional Impact of Setting

Nano Blog and Social Media Hop2Thank you, Raimey Gallant for organizing the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop. Today is the third post of this new series, and I’m very excited to be part of it.

This is a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.

To continue hopping through other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join, just hop on over to Ramey Gallant!

I’ll focus this entire series on self-editing. The first blog in my series covers Why Learn To Self-EditThe second blog covered Characters In The Context of Editing.

Today’s topic is setting.

THE EMOTIONAL IMPACT OF SETTING

I once read a book where I didn’t skim any of the setting descriptions. Afterward, I wondered why. Engaging settings generate emotion.

I admit I’m impatient with too much description. To learn what captured me, I re-read the book and highlighted every sentence that described the setting. I realized the author only described things or places that were relevant to the plot.

That was the moment I went on a mission to learn everything I could about setting and how to use it to make my novels more enjoyable.

Location

Location is the place where a scene happens. 

When describing the location, ask yourself: Is the location important to the plot, characters, or theme? If no, fewer details are required. If yes, be more generous with the details.

Once you’ve determined the location for each scene, ask yourself if the setting is the best place for emotional impact. This one little question helps you:

  • Increase or decrease conflict
  • Increase or decrease tension
  • Set the mood
  • Highlight emotion
  • Show characterization
  • Slow down or speed up pacing

Thinking about location in terms of emotional impact will wake up your creativity. Let me give you an example.

Suppose you have a character who is afraid of the dark. Imagine the character is about to have a confrontation with an employee. If the character feels confident being in his office and you want the character to be in a position of strength, then use the office as a setting.

If you want him to feel vulnerable during the confrontation, try locating him outside, at night, in an isolated parking lot. And make it very dark. The streetlight is broken. There is no moon. Maybe it’s windy, so a yell for help won’t be heard.

Do you see the difference? The location can help you bring out emotion in the scene by showing conflict, tension, mood, and characterization. Conflict is action that is happening. Tension is the suspicion/dread something will happen.

You decide what emotion you want the reader to feel, then decide how the location can help elicit that emotion.

If you think the location is not the best place for emotional impact, it’s time for a rewrite. Set the scene where you can elicit strong emotions, then rewrite the scene in that location.

 

More Self-Editing Advice

 

BIG-PICTURE Editing
If you’re looking for more help on self-editing download the free eBook, BIG-PICTURE Editing 15 Key Elements of Fiction To Make Your Story Work and learn how big-picture editing is all about evaluating the major components of your story. We call these components the Key Elements Of Fiction.  Our eBook shows you how to use the key elements of fiction to evaluate your story and become your own big-picture editor.

 

Interested In An Automated Approach To Big-Picture Self-Editing?

 

Feedback Innovations (which I happen to be the CEO of) is building the Feedback app .

COMING AUGUST 2017! We are now testing with authors and you are invited to a free two-week trial. Just let me know if you’re interested.

Feedback is the first web app to help fiction writers evaluate their own work with a focus on story, not words.

With Feedback, you can focus on plot, character, and setting. You can evaluate on a scene-by-scene basis or on overall novel structure. Feedback will show you the most important structural elements to work on first.

Feedback will guide you through the rewriting process by asking you questions specific to your manuscript, enabling you to evaluate your own story.

Feedback helps you visualize your manuscript. Forget about yellow stickies or white boards. Feedback will draw character arcs, provide reports on scene evaluation, and show your rewriting progress.

Happy editing and thanks for reading…

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10 Benefits of Feedback for Big-Picture Editing – Feedback For Fiction

One of our early testers asked: “How will Feedback help my manuscript?”

What a great question!  It made me think about a better way to explain the benefits of using Feedback and becoming your own big-picture editor.  Read on for my answer. I hope this helps you think about your manuscript in new ways!

 

Feedback can identify and help you fix problems within your manuscript by focusing on the structure of your story, not on the words. Some of the critical structural areas are:

  1. Pacing                 
  2. Character names and appearances
  3. Point of view characters and goals
  4. Story arc
  5. Plot holes (scenes without a clear purpose)
  6. Flow from scene to scene
  7. Absence of tension or conflict
  8. Empty stage syndrome
  9. Confusing timelines or missing objects

 

The 10th benefit of using Feedback comes from the built-in Rewrite Tips. These tips provide you with specific advice on the area of the manuscript you are working on just when you need it! No more endless searching for writing advice.

 

1. Pacing

Problem: The pacing is not working in your novel. The story is too slow or too fast.

Knowing your word count per scene helps you control the pacing in your novel. Sometimes you want to slow down the story, using the time to build tension and suspense. Sometimes you want quick action to drive the story forward. Use longer scenes to slow the pacing and shorter scenes to speed it up.

The word count per scene insight lets you quickly visualize the pacing.


2. Character Names and Appearances

Problem: Your readers are telling you they don’t feel a connection with your characters or they are confused by your characters’ names

Scenes Per Character and Cast of Characters help you visualize all your character names to ensure you don’t have too many characters per scene and that your main characters are getting enough time in your novel.

When you can see the cast of characters in one place, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to see if character names are too similar.

 

 


3. Point Of View (POV) Characters and Goals

Problem 1: You’re not sure if you’re giving the right number of scenes to your POV characters or if you’re using them in the best order for dramatic effect.

Problem 2: Your characters don’t have strong goals that drive the story forward.

See how many POV characters you have and what order they appear in. You control who is telling the story. Everything that happens in a scene should occur through the eyes of the POV character. The reader will connect with the POV characters if you don’t have too many. The reader will also get to know your POV characters by how they experience the scene. The longer a reader spends with each POV character, the more time they have to like or dislike them.

 

You can see the Point of View character goals per scene and ensure your characters have strong goals in every scene that drive the story forward. The novel shown is written from one point of view. Multiple points of view can be shown too.

 

 


4. Story Arc

Problem: Your readers don’t stay engaged for the entire story. Are your key scenes in the correct place? The story arc will show you where the inciting incident, plot points, and climax should be. You’ll be able to place these key scenes for the highest dramatic effect.

 

This story arc shows my work in progress on Evolution (my latest novel), along with several of the character entry and exit points overlaid.

 

 

 

5. Plot Holes (scenes without a clear purpose)

 

Problem: Some scenes cause plot holes by not being connected to the story.

 

This usually means the scene doesn’t have a purpose. If you don’t know the purpose of each scene in your novel neither will your reader, and you most likely have a plot hole.

 


 

6. Flow

Problem: Readers stop reading at the end of a scene or at the beginning of the next scene.

How do you open and close each scene? What are the entry and exit hooks? The flow of your novel depends on leading the reader into and out of your scenes. Feedback helps you work on how you’re entering and exiting scenes. You can quickly see if you’re using repetitive opening and closing types that might bore your reader. You can ensure you’ve used dramatic entry and exit hooks to get the reader into the next scene and keep them there.

You can also see just your scene opening or closing types. Check out how many times you use each type, the percentage of use, and the order the types appear in. You can see quickly if you have the balance right for your genre. Here’s a peek at my upcoming novel, Look The Other Way. You can see I’ve opened almost half of the scenes with action.


7. Tension and Conflict

Problem: Your readers are telling you they are bored or skimming in places.

Do you have enough tension and conflict in each scene? Too many scenes in a row without tension or conflict will bore your reader.



8. Empty Stage

Problem: Your readers can’t visualize your settings and are not moved emotionally by them.

Are you using senses and objects to fill the stage? You’ll know quickly if your stage is empty, and an empty stage means unengaged readers.

 


9. Confusing timelines or missing objects

Problem 1: Your readers are lost in time or complaining they can’t keep track of time.

Problem 2: You’re not sure where key objects appear in your novel.

You can keep track of the time in which a scene takes place. You can also see which scenes important objects appear in. If you want, you can even add a row that shows which characters are in the scene, too. Then it’s clear who knows about the objects and when they know about them.

 


10. Rewrite Tips

Problem: You don’t have time to search through how-to-write or self-edit books to find the knowledge you need to turn your first draft into a great story readers love.

If you’re struggling with finding advice on big-picture editing, Feedback provides this at your fingertips. The rewrite tips are focused on the area you’re working on, eliminating time-consuming searches through books or the internet.

Source: 10 Benefits of Feedback for Big-Picture Editing – Feedback For Fiction

The EDITING App You Need – Guest Blog Post by Kristina Stanley | Dan Alatorre – AUTHOR

Dan Alatorre

is author of numerous best sellers, host of the YouTube video show Writers Off Task With Friends, blogger… and father to a hilarious and precocious daughter, “Savvy” of the bestselling book series Savvy Stories. His novels, short stories, illustrated children’s books and cookbooks have been translated into 12 different languages and are enjoyed around the world.

So why am I talking about Dan? Dan graciously hosted my guest post yesterday on his blog, and I’d like to share that with you.

So over to Dan’s blog: The EDITING App You Need – Guest Blog Post by Kristina Stanley | Dan Alatorre – AUTHOR

***

Kristina Stanley has been a friend of the blog for quite a while. As a fellow author she noticed several things we writer types struggle with and set about finding a way to help. I’ll let her…

 

Romancing Your Novel With A Big-Picture Edit

In honor of the Get Social Blog Hop, I’d like to cover editing a romance novel. You can find other blogs on the hop are here.

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Some of you may know, my upcoming book is a mystery, but it’s different from the Stone Mountain Series in that it has more romance in it.

There are many areas to cover when you’re editing your first draft, and today I’ll cover four Key Elements of Fiction important to romance novels.

Screen Shot 2017-06-03 at 9.33.09 AM Point of View

Screen Shot 2017-06-03 at 9.33.09 AM Characters on Stage

Screen Shot 2017-06-03 at 9.33.09 AM Spice (Conflict and Tension)

Screen Shot 2017-06-03 at 9.33.09 AM Purpose of each Scene

Even in real life, romance takes effort. The same is true for creating a romance novel that sizzles.

Screen Shot 2017-06-03 at 9.33.09 AMPoint of View

 

Point of View (POV) is the perspective the story is told from. It is generally accepted that each scene is written from the point of view of one character.

In a romance novel, you have to make choices on who the POV character will be. It can be mostly the hero, mostly the heroine, or an equal balance between the two. By using both points of view, you’ll be showing the feelings and thoughts from both characters.

The Feedback tool for writers illustrates how many scenes each POV character has and what order they appear in. In Look The Other Way, Shannon (heroine) has the POV for 47 scenes, and Jake (hero) has the POV for 37 scenes. The graph along the bottom shows the order of the point of view, allowing me to make sure I’m switching between the hero and heroine regularly.

POV Characters

Screen Shot 2017-06-03 at 9.33.09 AMCharacters on Stage

 

There can only be romance if both the hero and heroine are in a scene together. Keep track of how many scenes you have where only one is in the scene versus scenes where both characters are onstage. The Feedback app does this for you.

Below, Jake and Shannon are both in the scene along with another character Debi Hall. Kendra is Jake’s cousin and is only mentioned in the scene. The scene is from Jake’s point of view, so the reader will see and hear things from his view point only. The reader won’t know what Shannon thinks or feels unless Jake comments on it or thinks about it or Shannon says something.

Character in Scene LTOW

Screen Shot 2017-06-03 at 9.33.09 AMSpice

 

To keep the story exciting there must be conflict and tension between the hero and heroine. If you’re writing a happy-ending romance, the hero and heroine will resolve the conflict and tension by the end of the story and live happily ever after.

The two can be working toward the same goal, but maybe they go about it differently and that causes the tension.  This resolution must not happen until the end. Each scene until the end must have conflict or tension or both.

Feedback enables you to see what conflict and tension are in each scene. You can see if the tension and conflict are in line with the purpose of scene. Just make sure you have either conflict or tension in every scene. You don’t have to have both.

Here you’re getting a sneak peek at my work in progress, Evolution.

Conflict Tension

Screen Shot 2017-06-03 at 9.33.09 AMPurpose of Each Scene

 

The romance genre requires a special look at the purpose of each scene. In a mystery, the sole purpose of a scene may be to drop a clue or a red herring into a scene. But in a romance novel, the purpose of a scene may revolve around character development, driving the romance forward, or driving the romance backward.

Here are some of the key scenes you’ll need.

  • Introduce heroine and set up her world
  • Introduce hero and set up his world
  • Inciting incident – something happens in their world that will cause them to meet.
  • First kiss
  • Plot point one – the hero and heroine face something difficult
  • Middle – the characters can’t turn back to the story. They may also decide they are not right for each other.
  • First quarrel
  • Plot point two – their relationship is at its worst
  • Finally get together
  • Resolution

In the following, which is the Feedback insight into Purpose of Scene for my work in progress Evolution, you can see in the first 9 scenes, the hero and heroine meet, there is tension between them and they have their “first kiss.” You can also see 44% of the scenes in this novel are moving the story forward.  This means there is more than romance in the story and the hero and heroine have a goal they are desperate to achieve.

Feedback will help you keep track of the romance and its progression as you self-edit your novel.

Purpose of Scene Romance

More Self-Editing Advice

BIG-PICTURE EditingIf you’re looking for more help on self-editing download the free eBook, BIG-PICTURE Editing And The Key Elements Of Fiction and learn how big-picture editing is all about evaluating the major components of your story. We call these components the Key Elements Of Fiction.  Our eBook shows you how to use the key elements of fiction to evaluate your story and become your own big-picture editor.

Interested In An Automated Approach To Big-Picture Self-Editing?

Feedback Innovations (which I happen to be the CEO of) is building the Feedback app.

Feedback is the first web app to help fiction writers evaluate their own work with a focus on story, not words.

With Feedback, you can focus on plot, character, and setting. You can evaluate on a scene-by-scene basis or on overall novel structure. Feedback will show you the most important structural elements to work on first.

Feedback will guide you through the rewriting process by asking you questions specific to your manuscript, enabling you to evaluate your own story.

Feedback helps you visualize your manuscript. Forget about yellow stickies or white boards. Feedback will draw character arcs, provide reports on scene evaluation, and show your rewriting progress.

Happy editing and thanks for reading…

Learn How To Self-Edit #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

Nano Blog and Social Media Hop2Thank you, Raimey Gallant for organizing the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop. Today is the second post of this new series, and I’m very excited to be part of it.

This is a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.

To continue hopping through other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join, just hop on over to Ramey Gallant!

I’ll focus this entire series on self-editing. The first blog in my series covers Why Learn To Self-Edit.

 

 

Today, let’s talk about characters in the context of editing. 

Why do people read novels?

I think it’s to find out what happens next. But what happens next is only interesting if it the “what happens next” involves characters or something that is important to a character.

Characters ARE your story. They act and react. They create emotion. They show motivation. Without any of this, you don’t have a story. That’s a tall order for your characters. So how do you make sure you’re getting the most out of them?

You rewrite and revise until your characters are performing at their best.

Taking on the task of rewriting your first draft doesn’t have to be overwhelming. A little bit of organization will help you complete your rewrite without it taking forever.

Characters and Novel Structure

You’ve finished your first draft, so most likely you know who your characters are, what they look like, where they work and so on. But what about how they fit into your story structure? To understand this and make the most of it, you must evaluate your characters in the context of the structure of your novel.

By this point, you’ll also know if you’re writing from first person point of view (POV) or third person. You’ve also decided if you are writing from multiple points of view. In essence, you know who is telling your story. Feedback will help you keep track of POV and how you balance your POV scenes throughout the novel.

When thinking about the POV character for each scene, ask yourself:

  • What is the POV goal for the scene?
  • How does the goal relate to the plot?
  • What or who is working against the POV goal?
  • What happens if your POV doesn’t achieve the goal?
  • How does scene affect your POV character?

Once you’ve answered the questions, check each scene to ensure the reader will understand the answers. You can show, tell, or imply the answers. It’s up to you to find the right balance. The more important the event, the more you should show the reader what’s happening. The less important could be told quickly, so the reader can move on to the good stuff.

 

More Self-Editing Advice

BIG-PICTURE EditingIf you’re looking for more help on self-editing download the free eBook, BIG-PICTURE Editing And The Key Elements Of Fiction and learn how big-picture editing is all about evaluating the major components of your story. We call these components the Key Elements Of Fiction.  Our eBook shows you how to use the key elements of fiction to evaluate your story and become your own big-picture editor.

Interested In An Automated Approach To Big-Picture Self-Editing?

Feedback Innovations (which I happen to be the CEO of) is building the Feedback app .

Feedback is the first web app to help fiction writers evaluate their own work with a focus on story, not words.

With Feedback, you can focus on plot, character, and setting. You can evaluate on a scene-by-scene basis or on overall novel structure. Feedback will show you the most important structural elements to work on first.

Feedback will guide you through the rewriting process by asking you questions specific to your manuscript, enabling you to evaluate your own story.

Feedback helps you visualize your manuscript. Forget about yellow stickies or white boards. Feedback will draw character arcs, provide reports on scene evaluation, and show your rewriting progress.

Happy editing and thanks for reading…

The Story Arc Automated by Feedback! – Feedback For Fiction

As a writer, it’s important to be two people. One of you is the creative writer. The other is the analytical, big-picture editor. Visualizing your story as a whole will help you edit like a professional.

This is why the Story Arc is so important. It provides an immediate visual of your manuscript. But Story Arcs were always tricky to draw.  Until now…

The Story Arc by Feedback

First, a recommended story arc is drawn based on the word count of your novel. Next, your story arc is drawn based on an automatic analysis of your scenes.

The app estimates which scenes are the inciting incident, plot point 1, the middle, plot point 2, and the climax of your novel.

You can then confirm if the correct scenes were identified. If not, with a couple clicks, you can redraw the story arc with the scenes you selected. Then you can decide if you’ve put your key story events in the right place.

Remember, a great novel contains key story events. A story arc will help you visualize your manuscript to ensure you’ve considered these events and their timing in your story.

INCITING INCIDENT

The inciting incident is a major turning event halfway through the 1st act.  It’s the moment the protagonist’s world changes in a dramatic way and you hook your reader into the story. This should happen before 10% of your novel. Readers are impatient, so don’t wait too long.

PLOT POINTS

Plot is how the events in your story impact your protagonist. Plot points force your protagonist to change behavior.

Plot Point One (PP1) forces your protagonist to react to an event. She now has a story goal.

The Middle is different from PP1 in that the protagonist moves from a reactionary mode to taking deliberate action.

Plot Point Two (PP2) will be a low point for your protagonist. Her actions since the middle have caused disaster. At PP2, she becomes more determined to reach her goal.

Plot point one (PP1) typically occurs at the end of Act I. Try to place this around 25% into your novel. The Middle is 50% into your novel. Plot Point two (PP2) will occur at the end of Act II.  This should happen around 75% into your novel.

CLIMAX

The climax (highest dramatic tension) of your novel happens somewhere around 90% into your novel. This is a guide so you can check you’re not writing too much after the climax.

But wait, there’s more…

You can also view characters on the Story Arc and see when they enter and exit your novel.

Feedback: For Writers By Writers

Feedback is being developed by fiction writers for fiction writers. Just as important, the app is now being tested by other writers to ensure it becomes an indispensable tool for everyone with a first draft. Last week, James Osborne, former senior editor at Canadian Press and bestselling author, tried the app and said:

I’ve been privileged with a sneak preview of Feedback. It’s brilliant! Hands down the most innovative structural editing app for writers you’re going to see anywhere anytime soon!

His latest novel is Encounters With Life: Tales of Living, Loving and Laughter. You can find out more about James’s novels at his amazon author page.

If you’re interested in early access to Feedback and testing some of the features, let me know by email or sign up for early access.

 

Coming Summer 2017

You heard that right. Summer 2017! We are targeting to make Feedback available to everyone later this summer. There is so much more to come, and I’ll keep sharing as more features are added.

Source: The Story Arc Automated by Feedback! – Feedback For Fiction

New Feedback App for Writers Taking Beta Testers

Thank you to http://www.GoodEReader.com for the shout out. Here’s what they had to say about the Feedback app…

By now, most serious indie authors understand what it takes to produce a book. Sadly, for most authors, the writing is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

What follows is a time consuming and often expensive process, one that serves as an investment towards a greater final return.

But what if there was a way to maximize the value of paid editing?

Source: New Feedback App for Writers Taking Beta Testers