Writing Tips: Setting Rules

14 Aug

Website Update: Shannon A. Thompson went over 8,500 followers! Thank you for your support. 😀

Yesterday I was very flattered to be featured on Read to Write Stories, a fantastic and detailed blog written by reader and writer, Michaell Noll. I definitely recommend his blog if you’re a writer looking for new ways to enhance your passionate skill. What he does is very focused: he reads a novel and then creates a writing prompt, along with guidelines to understanding a concept of writing, that goes along with said novel. If you haven’t read the post he did yesterday it was How to Set the Rules Your Characters Must Live By, and it discussed Minutes Before Sunset, particularly the first few chapters and how they affect the rest of the storyline. Here is the writing prompt he came up with:

“Let’s practice setting the rules, using Minutes Before Sunset as a model:

  1. Choose a character and a world for that character to inhabit.
  2. Define the world with a single adjective: happy, sad, fearful, proud, bored, etc.
  3. Free write about that adjective. Your goal is to find an image of the world or the people in it that demonstrates the adjective, if possible without actually stating it. The image will set the rules for the world. Future descriptions of the world should adhere to this early image in some way. So, in Minutes Before Sunset, the town’s denial of the supernatural elements in its midst is suggested by the fact that it calls a hill a mountain. In Gone in 60 Seconds, the stovetop burns out of control to suggest Kip’s lack of control.
  4. Now, free write about the character. How does he/she feel about the image you just created? Try to find an action that suggests the character’s attitude toward the world. For instance, in The Hunger Games, the fact that Katniss sneaks through the fence in order to hunt suggests that she’s willing to break the rules to protect her family. Thus, the big event at the end of the first chapter—volunteering for the Games in place of her sister—feels like a natural extension of her character, of the attitude that we’ve already witnessed.”

Rule 4 blew me away. I loved it, because it pushes the prompt that much further–and all of his prompts go this way. Seriously. Check him out if you’re looking for a new set of writing challenges. His Facebook page can be found here.

In other news:1002590_561096383937547_640499946_n

My day was made the other day when reader, Tyler Gravenstein, sent me a picture of him with Minutes Before Sunset. I love seeing readers interacting with any books, let alone mine–and it’s the new version!  I’ve given away a lot of free ebooks this week to interested readers, and I wanted to take a moment to thank all of them! If you’re interested in doing a review and appearing on my sites, I can supply you with one as well. Which brings me to some very important people:

Nita Bee’s Buzzin Books:  

A lover of books and poetry, Nita took a moment to interview me. She was wonderful, and I was delighted to be able to answer her questions and discuss the future. Plus, I always LOVE fellow readers. Here’s an excerpt of her detailed questions:

“Did you put a lot of time into thinking about this book or was it something ready to go in your head?
The second book was written first. It came easily, but, as I was writing it, I realized I needed a book before to set up the world Eric and Jessica lived in. I planned the entire first book, wrote that, and the third book came to me as I edited the second. I think most of my novels come to me easily, but the little details have to be obsessed over for a number of weeks before I feel comfortable enough writing the books down. ”

Kierney Scott (Romance Writer): 

Author of Twice in a Lifetime, I was delighted when our interview stretched beyond my novels and allowed readers to see more personal details of my life. For instance, she asks me what was the most romantic thing anyone has done for you and what my favorite meal is. This was fun, because I don’t normally get to answer these things about myself, but here’s an interesting excerpt that revolved around Jessica in Minutes Before Sunset:

“Describe your heroine in five words. Determined. Stubborn. Loving. Learning. Conflicted.

In what way is she most like you? Jessica accepts people for who they are, even if she may not see herself that way. She doesn’t really judge, but it can also lead to conflicting  emotions about people.

In what way is she different? She’s very defensive and has a few moments where she steps over the necessary attitude line.”

Please check these lovely ladies out as well as Michael Noll. There is an entire world filled with talented people out there, and I’m excited to get to know them while also sharing them with everyone else.

Have a great day,

~SAT

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3 Responses to “Writing Tips: Setting Rules”

  1. Diana Staresinic-Deane August 14, 2013 at 1:23 am #

    Thanks for recommending this page! It looks fascinating. Congrats, too, for having your book featured in such a positive way!

  2. Jodi August 14, 2013 at 10:56 am #

    Wow, I agree #4 is an awesome way of building and establishing a character. Way to go with your book!

  3. schevusosborne August 14, 2013 at 9:42 pm #

    Reblogged this on Schevus Osborne.

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