I can’t tell you how excited I am to acquaint you with the person who has graciously accepted my invitation to guest post today. Some of you may already know her, but for most, she has patiently waited in the wings for this introduction. (Chomping at the bit is more like it! lol)
Donna comes to us from forty-five minutes north of London in a little picturesque village in Sussex, England where she lives with her husband and two children and counts her laptop as part of her loyal group of friends. (Big yawn. Donna, you’ve got to get out more.)
She has been published in numerous magazines and has had a varied, yet somewhat adventurous career and now co-writes T.V. pilots and is involved in the L.A. scene. She says she decided to write her first novel about three years ago and that’s when she first came into contact with Kristen Lamb who took her under her wing. (More like a guinea pig is how Donna puts it.)
Donna is a graduate of Warrior Writer’s Boot Camp and is here today to give us all some important advice that not only helped her, but will also help us to improve our writing skills.
Take it away Donna!
Learning To Write The WWBC Way
It all started when I met Kristen Lamb.
She stumbled upon the first chapter of my novel which I posted on a blogger site and proceeded to hunt me down. She pointed out where I was going wrong and had offered to help me. Naturally, I jumped at the chance.
We stripped back my story to its very core, and I wrote a background for my antagonist – something I had never done before.
Kristen’s reply after I nervously emailed it across to her was, “Crap, do it again.”
And again I did. Several times in fact. Until finally, everything clicked into place and I had created a psychopathic alter-ego.
I’m very good friends with Kristen now. She has the most amazing way of making you pay for her kindness (See gun in picture! lol). I’ve since written two teleplays and currently adapting one into a novel, plotted my second book, and lead WWBC Team Delta. I apply the Warrior Writer method to every story I plot and wouldn’t consider doing it any other way.
So, without further ado, here is the way to write – Warrior Writer style.
First and foremost – you must have an idea of what your book is about. Knowing the genre is extremely helpful, and what your protagonist wants and who’s trying to stop he/she from getting it will also make things a lot easier for you.
Once you know the basis of your story, you can write that log line. Now, don’t be scared.
They are easier to write if you follow this simple rule:
An ADJECTIVE NOUN (protagonist) must ACTIVE VERB the ANTAGONIST before SOME REALLY HORRIBLE THING HAPPENS (stopping the protagonist from reaching her goal).
You can read more about log lines here at my website.
A background is a little like a biography. Imagine you were writing your own life story. You’d start from the moment you were born and take the reader up to the current day. Well, a background is the same thing. Write all about your character from the moment they were born, right up to the moment you are about to start your story.
This is a fantastic way to get to know your character, and give you time to flesh them out. Once done, you will have no trouble writing them, or writing dialogue for them.
Backgrounds – Who To Start With
Antagonist – Why? Because they are the biggest problem. Without them in our story, we have NO story.
Protagonist – Yep, you’ve guessed it. Now do the same for your protagonist. Oh, and don’t make them too perfect. Flaws are good! Flaws make us human.
Love Interest and Supporting Cast – Mentors, Minions, Allies and Love Interests all fit under this section. Note: These are characters that aid your main characters. I’m not talking about the guy who shows up in one scene and delivers the post.
You need to ‘bullet point’ your story from beginning to end. Walk yourself through your story step by step. It’s better to hit your dead ends now so you can re-plot, rather than get 40k words in and realise you have to axe 10,000 of them.
Turning Point Act I into Act II
Turning Point Act II into Act III
Get to this point and voila! You have a story to write.
I know most of you may read this and think “Huh? What a waste of time.” I’ve met people like this and guess what? They are still at the same stage they were a year ago or more. My team mate Piper Bayard and I are living proof—this method works. Agents have requested fulls on both our manuscripts.
It’s like building a house. Do the prep-work: dig footings, add cement, lay bricks, and your building will stand for decades to come.
It was a pleasure being here and I wish you all the best with your writing!
No, thank you Donna Newton!
What a wonderful introduction to Warrior Writers. And what great suggestions that will not only enhance the way we plot, but will also improve our writing ability.
So tell me, what do you think? If you’re like me, it seems there’s no end to what we can learn. Who of us would deny Kristen Lamb’s strong leadership abilities? Her previous students give powerful testimony of her remarkable teaching methods. So are we reaching out and taking advantage of those who have offered to help? If we do, we will all be successful!
Be sure to hit the follow buton for future posts! Thank you so much for your thoughts and salutations.
A big shout out to Kristen Lamb and all my new classmates in my #WANA1011 class and all others that may grace my presence by visiting this post. Take care and make it a great day!