Daily Archives: August 17, 2012

Reading Circles – Plot & Structure {Part 2}

We brought our car in for an oil change and new brake pads yesterday, then got a call today informing us that there’s a chunk missing out of one of the roters and damage to the brake disks and ball bearings and the whole drive shaft needs to be replaced. Turns out, when that’s the case, a wheel can seize up and cause the car to go into a spin. Which is awesome because I take that car on a three hour drive four times a month up a windy, 2-lane mountain road to get to work, and heading into a sudden spin is totally safe. And it’s been like that the entire time we’ve had it. We bought it used and apparently the owner before us had an accident (which was not disclosed to us upon sale) and there isn’t the same kind of consumer protection where we live as one can expect in the U.S. so we can’t even do anything about the shyster deal. Basically, our car is all kinds of messed up….and it’s is going to cost over $2,000 to fix.

My husband was taking a wilderness first responder course in the city and we only have motorcycles aside from the car, so my parents (my dad as knowledgeable mechanic, my mom as language translator) and I had to get a taxi (which also charged us an exorbitant rate to drive 10 minutes away to the repair shop) to go see what was what, and figure out whether we should get a second opinion (or at least a second quote…)…and get ourselves back home and find a way to scrounge up dinner.

And that has nothing to do with this post except for why it’s 10:21 p.m. here and I’m just now getting down to writing this in such a state of fatigue I need to be brief.

Anyway, down to business. Last week, we whet our appetites for Bell’s book on plot & structure, just dipping into the intro and the first few chapters. What do you think so far? Snag your interest?

Well, this week, we’re moving past appetizers and getting down to the meat. Let’s read Chapter Four: Beginning Strong. Strong hooks are essential to draw any reader in. If you’re writing blogs, you want to keep people from scrolling down their feed readers to the next feed, right? Same with articles. If you don’t catch a reader within seconds these days, you’ll lose them faster’n it takes to click “next.” And don’t think you have more space with a full-length book. Readers might give you the grace of a few pages. Agents often won’t look past the first page. Sometimes not even past the first line.

That’s right. That very first sentence has to be good.

But with books, you have to do more than that. You need to let the reader know who’s involved, what the conflict is, and why they should care. Not to mention the tone of the book, setting, and all the major set-up for plot, et cetera.

Overwhelmed? Don’t be! It’s totally do-able and this chapter has some really great tips. So if you don’t know how and where to start, join me in reading this chapter and let’s get some fresh ideas!

Happy weekend and happy plotting!