Never Miss An Opportunity for A good Argument

by Rachel Hauck, @RachelHauck

Zap-Pow! Then What Happened?Tension is king.

Definition: Most of us hate conflict and confrontation. Even in our books. But tension is king! Donald Maass suggest tension on every page. Better yet, on every line.

Tension doesn’t mean argument. Tension means “things aren’t going well.”

For example: A conflict arises for your heroine. She gets pulled over for speeding. Instead of the officer letting her off, she gets a ticket. This upsets her. While she’s getting a ticket, her mother calls to say Uncle Ned is coming Sunday and our girl is expected at the house for dinner. She blows up. Why is Mama always so bossy? Our heroine will do what she wants for Sunday dinner. She might have plans already. Ever think of that, Mama?

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The Next Generation of “Critique” Partnerships

by Rachel Hauck, @RachelHauck

I’m starting a campaign. Time for a “second wave” critique partnership model.

“Rachel, what do you mean? I love my critique partners.”

I know! Keeping loving them. Love them well! There’s nothing like a solid critique/writing partner.

The person who faithfully answers frantic phone calls or emails. “Help! I have no idea what I’m doing.”

So here’s what I mean by “second wave” critique partner: adding craft as the key component of your partnership.

It’s a marriage of brainstorming, crafting and critiquing.

What’s the benefit? Having a clearer goal for your scenes and chapters before you write them.

For the most part, a critique partner reads what you’ve already written. A craft partner helps you before you write. And yes, while you write.

My craft partner, Susan Warren, often calls me scene by scene. “This is what I just wrote, now help me decide where I’m going next.”

Because we speak the same craft and story structure language, and because we’ve crafted our stories together from the beginning, we know the journey our characters are meant to take.

Susie’s saved me on more than one occasion.

“I think I need a terrorist attack in my prince book.”

“No! You can’t have a terrorist attack in your prince book.”

She was right and saved me valuable writing time. Because we speak the same craft language, she asked, “What are you hoping to accomplish with a terrorist attack?”

When I told her I needed to raise the stakes for my prince, she helped me figure out a new stake based on what I’d already written. The conversation was invaluable.

A craft partnership enables you to have one or two, maybe three, people as familiar with your story as you.

When you’re stuck or foggy-headed because that ole deadline is approaching, or because you’re still learning the ins and outs of novel writing, a craft partner(s) reminds you of what your story is about and where you wanted to go.

The beauty is this method works well for plotters and pantsers!

A craft partner looks at over all structure and character development, and helps develop what Stanley Williams calls the story “spine.”

What’s this story about?

What does the protagonist want?

What is the noble quest or the story journey?

What will the protagonist do in the end he/she can’t do in the beginning?

What’s the inciting incident?

What happens in the middle of the book?

What’s the moment of truth for this protagonist?

What’s their identity verses essence?

What’s a possible black moment?

What is the possible epiphany?

See where I’m going?

A craft partner as like an architect, creating a blueprint before the work begins.

It’s a skeletal outline of where you want to go, your heart and goal for the story.

However, there’s still plenty of beauty in the story to be discovered along the way.

Here’s some suggestions on a craft partnership works:

  1. Join up with one or two writers you get a long with well. You don’t have to be in the same genre. You don’t have to be in the same publishing place. Indie authors can pair with traditionally published authors. Just find that kindred spirit.
  2. Work from the same play book. Pick a craft philosophy and study it. Use it’s terminology as a foundation for hammering out your stories. Develop your own terminology if you want but know the basics of how to structure a book.
  3. When one of you starts a book, use those craft tools to help develop the story. Get the building blocks into place before you start writing. Know where the story is going. This works well for plotters and pantsers.
  4. When you get stuck in the thick-of-the-middle, you can call on your craft partner to help keep you on track. Even remind you of story elements you’ve forgotten. Or keep you from veering too far off course.
  5. If you want to change your story, a craft partner can help navigate those changes. I’ve had to convince my writing partner the change was necessary. As a result, I further understood the story myself.

So take the challenge. Join the next wave of critiquing and start crafting!

TWEETABLES

The Next Generation of “Critique” Partnerships by Rachel Hauck (Click to Tweet)


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THE WRITING DESK


Tenley Roth’s first book was a runaway bestseller. Now that her second book is due, she’s locked in fear. Can she repeat her earlier success or is she a fraud who has run out of inspiration?

With pressure mounting from her publisher, Tenley is weighted with writer’s block. But when her estranged mother calls asking Tenley to help her through chemotherapy, she packs up for Florida where she meets handsome furniture designer Jonas Sullivan and discovers the story her heart’s been missing.

A century earlier, another woman wrote at the same desk with hopes and fears of her own. Born during the Gilded Age, Birdie Shehorn is the daughter of the old money Knickerbockers. Under the strict control of her mother, her every move is decided ahead of time, even whom she’ll marry. But Birdie has dreams she doesn’t know how to realize. She wants to tell stories, write novels, make an impact on the world. When she discovers her mother has taken extreme measures to manipulate her future, she must choose between submission and security or forging a brand new way all on her own.

Tenley and Birdie are from two very different worlds, but fate has bound them together in a way time cannot erase.

New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal best-selling, award-winning author Rachel Hauck loves a great story. She serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers. She is a past ACFW mentor of the year. A worship leader and Buckeye football fan, Rachel lives in Florida with her husband and ornery cat, Hepzibah. Read more about Rachel at www.rachelhauck.com.

Don’t Be Afraid of The Story

by Rachel Hauck, @RachelHauck

A couple years ago as I fast drafted a novel, I realized I had this tension in my gut.

What was going on?

Yea, it’s tough to hammer out a first draft on a tight deadline but I was pleased with my progress. I wasn’t behind schedule. Though the story wasn’t really popping.

Hmm… the tension? I concluded I was actually afraid of my story.

We talk about being afraid of the blank page, but it’s really being afraid of the story.

Was I heading in the right direction?

Was the tension sustainable?

Did I even like this story?

Would my readers?

As the questions rose, I knew there were other things missing.

Was my setting right? Did I have the right research for my 1930s timeline?

How much of my heroine’s past really played into the story?

I was tense over what I didn’t know. And the fact I was sure I didn’t know it.

Makes perfect sense right?

A lot of times I get tripped up because I know that I know that I don’t know details and tidbits that would make my story deeper and richer.

When writing The Wedding Dress, I did a lot of research on Birmingham. In the process, I came across the convict leasing program.

When I decided to use it in the story, assigning it as a justice issue for my 1912 heroine, it made her more passionate and layered than if I’d left it out.

Plus, I could bring to light the injustice of the era.

And I got to write this great paragraph:

“The white guards talked and joked while the men of color swung axes and hammers against the hard concrete. Emily lowered her gaze. It must be back-breaking, near impossible, to break up what had been set and hardened with time in this city.”

See the metaphor? All from research. So when I’m in crunch mode and crisis, I start to think, “I need more research.”

I’ll panic with, “I need to read more books by all the writers in the whole world who are better than me so I can writer better books myself and ahhh!”

Yea, it’s stupid. It’s fear. It’s being afraid of the story.

Some of you are afraid of the story. Afraid to let go. You won’t submit to an editor or agent. You won’t let a writer friend read it. Maybe you keep revising and revising. Maybe you’re afraid to say, “This book is done. I need to move on to another book.”

The story has a life of it’s own, trust me I know. A will, a force that keeps us awake at night.

But face your fears. Don’t be afraid of the story, or what changes might come about.

Be of good courage. And go write something brilliant!


TWEETABLES
______________

THE WRITING DESK


Tenley Roth’s first book was a runaway bestseller. Now that her second book is due, she’s locked in fear. Can she repeat her earlier success or is she a fraud who has run out of inspiration?

With pressure mounting from her publisher, Tenley is weighted with writer’s block. But when her estranged mother calls asking Tenley to help her through chemotherapy, she packs up for Florida where she meets handsome furniture designer Jonas Sullivan and discovers the story her heart’s been missing.

A century earlier, another woman wrote at the same desk with hopes and fears of her own. Born during the Gilded Age, Birdie Shehorn is the daughter of the old money Knickerbockers. Under the strict control of her mother, her every move is decided ahead of time, even whom she’ll marry. But Birdie has dreams she doesn’t know how to realize. She wants to tell stories, write novels, make an impact on the world. When she discovers her mother has taken extreme measures to manipulate her future, she must choose between submission and security or forging a brand new way all on her own.

Tenley and Birdie are from two very different worlds, but fate has bound them together in a way time cannot erase.

New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal best-selling, award-winning author Rachel Hauck loves a great story. She serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers. She is a past ACFW mentor of the year. A worship leader and Buckeye football fan, Rachel lives in Florida with her husband and ornery cat, Hepzibah. Read more about Rachel at www.rachelhauck.com.

Yet Another Tip On How to Write A Great Novel

by Rachel Hauck, @RachelHauck



Do you ever weary of all the do’s and don’ts of writing a novel? I do. Sometimes I get so bogged down with the “rules” and guidelines I end up writing something that doesn’t work. But in the end, it all forms together to create the novel I do end up sending to my editor. Nothing written for a novel is ever wasted. Every word becomes a layer and texture of the ultimate story. On my latest novel, I learned a valuable lesson. Reading. Shocker, right? Y’all are rolling your eyes, moaning, “Gee whiz, Rachel, and you have more than twenty novels published!? Where’s the justice?”Simmer down. I know reading is important. I’ve always read. Let me be more specific. Reading for research.

I do a ton of research for my novels. I read books, store web sites, but this time, I came to the reading table late. I don’t know why, or how I skipped this step, but I think I got in a hurry. I forgot there were books out there for me to read on the subject! Read for research before starting the novel. And read for research constantly. In other words, bump up my non fiction reading.

Non fiction opens us up the real word in a way we cannon glean from news reports or short web page blasts of how this thing works or that thing goes.

When writing the Nashvegas books, I read several non-fiction works about how the Nashville music scene worked. While I’d done a bunch of research online about songwriting, it wasn’t until I read these books that I understood the details of songwriting.

It wasn’t until I stumbled across a book about Tom Petty book where I truly understood what “artist differences” with a record label meant.

When writing Dining with Joy, I read several memoirs, talked to a television producer as well as speaking with a chef. I thought I had the opening cook-off scene nailed but something was missing.

Finally, I talked to the chef. “Even the best chef will get nervous at a cook-off and make major mistakes.”

That one line made my scene, and Joy and Luke’s motivation, click. Now when Joy fudged cooking, Luke could legitimately think she was just plain nervous and jump up to help her. That worked way better than having him wonder what she was doing by juggling peaches instead of pureeing them.

So… if you’re stuck in your current WIP, here’s some thoughts to help.

  1. Maybe you’ve not done enough reading up front. Take a break, Google around, and find memoirs or non-fiction works that will give you details related to the theme of your book.
  2. You might not be emotionally connecting. So read more. While reading about Queen Elizabeth II, I found myself gaining more than details, I started feeling passion and affection for the Crown. I got a feel for what it must be like to be a descendant of Henry VIII and Queen Victoria. Head knowledge merged with heart understanding.
  3. You’ve underestimated your need for research. Don’t skip it. Every book, contemporary or historical, romance to thriller, needs research. For language, dialect, setting, mood, emotion, even small, unimaginable details that give a book texture.
  4. Invest in an e-reader so you can download instantly. Plus it keeps your house from overflowing with research books.
  5. Block off time when you’re not writing to read memoirs, non-fiction works along with your fiction.

Happy writing!!

TWEETABLES

Yet Another Tip On How to Write A Great Novel by Rachel Hauck (Click to Tweet)

Read for research before starting the novel.~ Rachel Hauck (Click to Tweet)

5 things to consider if you are stuck in your WIP by Rachel Hauck (Click to Tweet)

THE WRITING DESK


Tenley Roth’s first book was a runaway bestseller. Now that her second book is due, she’s locked in fear. Can she repeat her earlier success or is she a fraud who has run out of inspiration?

With pressure mounting from her publisher, Tenley is weighted with writer’s block. But when her estranged mother calls asking Tenley to help her through chemotherapy, she packs up for Florida where she meets handsome furniture designer Jonas Sullivan and discovers the story her heart’s been missing.

A century earlier, another woman wrote at the same desk with hopes and fears of her own. Born during the Gilded Age, Birdie Shehorn is the daughter of the old money Knickerbockers. Under the strict control of her mother, her every move is decided ahead of time, even whom she’ll marry. But Birdie has dreams she doesn’t know how to realize. She wants to tell stories, write novels, make an impact on the world. When she discovers her mother has taken extreme measures to manipulate her future, she must choose between submission and security or forging a brand new way all on her own.

Tenley and Birdie are from two very different worlds, but fate has bound them together in a way time cannot erase.

New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal best-selling, award-winning author Rachel Hauck loves a great story. She serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers. She is a past ACFW mentor of the year. A worship leader and Buckeye football fan, Rachel lives in Florida with her husband and ornery cat, Hepzibah. Read more about Rachel at www.rachelhauck.com.