The idea of formulas in writing always makes my nose wrinkle. Because to me, formula means repetition…and repetition in writing could very well lead to boredom. Have you ever had that? Followed an author you’ve loved for years only to find that by their tenth or fifteenth book you can finish it for them, because you already know how they roll and what they’re going to do with their characters?
That always frustrates me, and as a writer I have tried my very best not to fall into this trap. That’s partly why I write in a variety of genres. I never want to be thought of as the author who regurgitates the same old stuff.
But the truth is…there are formulas in writing and whether we like that fact or not, we must accept it, because the right formula can make for a brilliant book, just like the wrong formula can make for pages of drivel.
So, what is the right formula? Continue reading “Do You Write With a Formula?”
I would guess that most readers don’t really want to analyze the stories they read; they just want to sink into them and enjoy them. I don’t know anyone who deliberately chooses a book based on whether it’s a plot-based story or a character-based story. So what’s the difference and why does it matter? Continue reading “Plot-Driven vs. Character-Driven Stories”
Several months ago I had a dream. (Hah! I’ll bet you thought I was going to write about the dream of writing, in general.) Nope. This is about a real dream. I actually remember this one vividly – an unusual experience for me as that almost never happens. I knew from the start that this dream had within it the skeleton of a really interesting story, if I could only get it on paper. My last book had been sent on its way and I was ready to begin something new, something different from the trilogy that had occupied the last seven years of my life. Continue reading “Follow That Dream?”
by Mark Hamner
William Faulkner famously said, “In writing, you must kill all your darlings.” He was, of course, talking about having the guts to eliminate superfluous prose, chapters, etc. from your work. However, as I was completing my third book, Cinder’s Reach, I had the task of killing one of my darlings in a very different way. As a caution, I should note that everything from this point on should be considered a spoiler for those who are considering reading The Echo Chronicles.
My Echo Chronicles series revolves around four central characters: Trin, the protagonist, Cipher, his best friend, Creed, the hothead, and Dalton, the nice guy. As I progressed through the books in the series, it became clear, both in my own mind and from my conversations with others, that one of my characters had become the clear favorite. To my surprise, that character wasn’t Trin; it was Cipher. Something about the fact that she never stopped trying to help others despite the fact that she was, herself, fairly messed up, really drew people to her. Trin was leaning on her more and more, and she was constantly putting her own life on the line for him and the rest of her friends. The world inhabited by my characters is extremely volatile and dangerous. Early on the thought struck me that it wouldn’t be entirely realistic for my characters to continue getting into dire situation after dire situation only to come out relatively unscathed. Continue reading “Killing Your Darlings: The Death of a Central Character”