Is Your Idea Strong Enough? Story Structure Part 4

Kristen Lamb's Blog

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Whether we are traditionally published, indie published or self-published, we must connect with readers and tell a great story. Structure is the “delivery system” for our story, so it’s wise to make it as solid as possible.

Welcome to Part IV of my Structure Series—Testing the Idea

I assume that most of you reading this aspire to be great novelists. Novels are only one form of writing and, truth be told, they aren’t for everyone. Stringing together 60-100,000 words and keeping conflict on every page while delivering a story that makes sense on an intuitive level to the reader is no easy task.

That said, all novels begin with an idea. But how do we know if our idea has what it takes to make a great novel?

Many new writers start out with nothing more than a mental snippet, a flash of a scene or a nugget of an idea, and then…

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That’s why everything’s got to be Love or Death

What does your main character do when someone dies? How does she cope with the loss of someone close to her? Someone she knew and cared about, or even loved?

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The One Where Charlie Shakes It Off

I’m back! I haven’t been online much lately, and unfortunately I neglected both this blog and my writing.

I’ll skip over my private life, because I was planning to move to London but something came up last minute and, long story short, I can’t go. Not right now at least. But it’s okay, UK isn’t going anywhere, and btw I think a smaller, “happier” city like Brighton or Bristol will be actually more suited for me. We’ll see.

This sudden change of plans caused a bit of a personal crisis though, and I haven’t written a line in over a month. Which is awful, I know, but I felt too emotionally drained and stuck and lost in life to even consider thinking about my stories. I binge-watched Friends instead, all 10 seasons, which helped me feel a lot better. My lovely friend T. (who suggested that I watched it, like she did a few months ago) and I also noticed that I’m basically the child Monica and Chandler never had, considering I have his habit of using sarcasm as a defense mechanism and her need to compete with others and please people and clean everything.

Apart from the appalling fat-shaming and the ridiculous no-homo attitude that some of the characters had, this show was so great. It really makes you want to live like them, with them. I can see it, Friends 11×01: The One Where Charlie Moves In. Why isn’t life a sit-com? I feel like it should be. Mine for sure.

Anyway, moving on to the sad real life.

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Top Ten Tuesday | Things I Like/Dislike When It Comes to Romances in Books

Reviews of a Self Proclaimed Bibliophile

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where bloggers are encouraged to post their own top ten list responses to the topic of the week.  This week’s topic is:  Top Ten Things I Like/Dislike When It Comes to Romances in Books.  For the purposes of this post, I am going to do five things I like and five things I dislike – want to keep things even around here!  Let’s do this~


1.  When Romance Rushes In

One of my biggest problems with romance in novels is when a character seemingly falls in love with someone after only one interaction, whether that happens to be glances across a room or some attempt at dialogue.  Perhaps it isn’t really falling in love, but they start to obsess over that individual and then they idealize this person and either the other individual…

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Ways to Create Multi-Dimensional Characters–Tip #1

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Elle Woods in "Legally Blonde." Elle Woods in “Legally Blonde.”

To give characters depth, we have to be people-watchers. Study people. Know thyself. I strongly recommend reading books on psychology as part of research. For instance, I read a lot of FBI books on profiling.

As writers, characters need some amount of consistency without being predictable. If there is some deviation from the profile, there must be a good reason WHY, other than we need a character to act a certain way to move our story forward.

For instance, the shy librarian who rescues spiders cannot suddenly gouge out the eyes of a guy mugging her unless we can offer a reasonable explanation for this deviation from archetype. I.e. She could have been raped and left for dead as a teenager. Yes, she remained shy and soft-spoken and true to her character…until circumstances brought out that wounded part who was capable of going for the…

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How to Create Multi-Dimensional Characters—Everybody Lies

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Back in the Spring we started talking about ways to create multi-dimensional characters. Then I probably saw something shiny and, in case you are wondering? NO, I can’t catch the red dot. But I don’t give up easily 😀 .

It’s tempting for us to create “perfect” protagonists and “pure evil” antagonists, but that’s the stuff of cartoons, not great fiction. Every strength has an array of corresponding weaknesses, and when we understand these soft spots, generating conflict becomes easier. Understanding character arc becomes simpler. Plotting will fall into place with far less effort.

All stories are character-driven. Plot merely serves to change characters from a lowly protagonist into a hero….kicking and screaming along the way. Plot provides the crucible. 

One element that is critical to understand is this:

Everyone has Secrets

To quote Dr. Gregory House, Everybody lies.

All good stories hinge on secrets.

I have bodies under my…

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Sit Ups and New Year’s Resolutions

I don’t know about you guys, but I ate too much over the holidays. I really admire those people who hit the gym on January 2 and work out for four hours a day. Sadly, I’ll never be one of them. I do take care of my body, but I’m really not the sporty type. Right now I’m more like

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