If you’ve been reading this blog awhile, you may have seen me mention the term, “good material.” Good material is how I describe any incident, detail, or drama I’ve observed or experienced that might find its way into my writing.
Stories that ring true contain happy and sad events, as well as the mundane and terrifying, because compelling stories are distinguished by conflict and drama.
We’re surrounded by good material but it doesn’t do any good if we don’t recognize and note it.
How do you know what good material is? I like to say you know it when you see it. It might be as simple as an interesting bumper sticker that could later turn up on the car of a character. Read more
In working on my new manuscript, one of the things I do from time to time is look at my main idea to make sure I’m on track or to see if it’s changed. In The Writer’s Guide to Writing Your Screenplay by author and screenwriter Cynthia Whitcomb, she suggests that you spend a little time figuring out if you can tell your story in an abbreviated fashion.
She’s talking about screenplays here, but the advice also holds true for novels or nonfiction books:
“Write the ad copy. Write the TV Guide blurb. Write what people will tell their friends about this great movie they saw last weekend. Word of mouth is powerful…. This simple exercise, done before you write the script, could be helpful all the way down the road. If you can tell it in a strong, abbreviated version now, it will be easier for you to get it right as you write (And then to pitch it, too).” Read more