Think about some of your favorite books. What makes the story memorable? Was it the non-stop action? Maybe it was the extraordinary way a tired old plot was presented. Or maybe, it was the protagonist. Who were those characters? Why did they out in your mind? One of the most standout protagonists for me was … Continue reading DIY MFA: What’s in A Character?
(C) 2020, JJ Shaun A lifetime ago, I searched for my niche in the world, wishing for a close-knit family to watch my back. When the path I’d chosen for that family veered in a direction I didn’t anticipate, I left my ex- everything of real value to forge a new life for myself. Dreams … Continue reading DIY MFA: My Support System
It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve worked on my DIY MFA. Part of the reason has been the massive forest fire in my back yard. Fortunately, we had an unseasonable snowstorm that helped the hotshot crews to get critical fire-breaks in place. Temperatures are on the rise again, so our break might be … Continue reading DIY MFA: The Importance of Reading
If you are writing fantasy, chances are your story has magic. A few of the questions that arise should include: What kind of world are you building? Does your world have magic? What kind of magic is available? Is the environment permeated in magical energy? Or does the magic only work under certain conditions? Does … Continue reading DIY MFA: The Limits of Magic
As a fantasy writer, how do you unfold your world in a way that is interesting and makes sense to the reader? Some writers fold elements of their worldbuilding into the action and setting as the protagonist moves through their environment. Others describe the surroundings, then launch the action, not always explaining how some elements … Continue reading DIY MFA: Imagining a Magical World
If you read much, you already know novels are not limited to a single plot thread. A lot of books I’ve read have a main plot, at least one subplot, and a character arc. Your main plot is the scaffold on which you build the story and measure progress. Character arcs and sub-plots add depth … Continue reading DIY MFA: Growing Your Character
A story is a plot, a character, and a setting glued together by conflict. Some writers can fully outline their book before they write a single word of their novel. Other writers begin with a concept and a character, then watch the characters as they move from point A to point Z. Still, others combine … Continue reading DIY MFA: Picking a Path
When I read a mystery novel, I expect to find some aspects during the story. A valuable item will go missing, some puzzle must be solved, or a body will turn up. The same holds true when I read a drama, romance, or fantasy novel. Each form has its own structure, and readers of those … Continue reading DIY MFA: What Makes a Plot?
(C) 2020, JJ Shaun I started writing my fiction right after I returned from a deployment filled with underway watch rotations and Dungeons & Dragons when not on duty. If you have ever played tabletop (pen-and-paper) D&D, you know that progress can be glacial. Six months of playing doesn’t always amount to much character development. … Continue reading DIY MFA: Plotting for the Pantser
What is a plot? According to Brandon Sanderson, the plot is a promise made at the beginning, progress toward fulfilling that promise, and a payoff at the end. What does that all mean? In the first few sentences, paragraphs, and pages, you make a promise to your reader. That promise includes the tone. Is it … Continue reading DIY MFA: Learning to Plot