Sunday, March 25, 2007

DiAnn Mills, Guest Author

Hi everyone,

I'm excited to host DiAnn Mills this week. This award-winning author launched her career in 1998 with the publication of her first book. Currently she has over forty books in print and has sold more than a million books. DiAnn believes her readers should “Expect an Adventure.” Her desire is to show characters solving real problems of today from a Christian perspective through a compelling story. Six of her anthologies have appeared on the CBA Best Seller List. Check out her website at www.diannmills.com for more information.

I'll post her articles in two parts. Her latest release is called "Lightning and Lace." I'm reading it now and enjoying the development of the characters, which I feel is a strong feature of DiAnn's writing. Following is DiAnn's first of two articles on writing.

Accelerating Your Writing Career

The 6 Cs of Professional Writing

1. Colorful – Making sure your writing is colorful does not mean filling your story with flowery description and boring description. It means making sure every aspect of your writing contains sensory perception. Try using all of the senses in every scene. Blend this tool with the natural flow of your writing. A writer invites a reader to be a part of an adventure. What better way to hop on a magic carpet ride than to use sensory perception. List below three ways to make your manuscript colorful.

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2. Compelling – Have you done your homework with your characters? Strong characterization is what drives any story. If you need help in developing your characters, look to personality tests, psychology books, character sketches. Study people and listen to dialogue. Interview your characters and discover motivation. If this is an area of your writing in which you need assistance, e-mail me diann@diannmills.com and I will send you a character sketch. List below three ways to make your manuscript a page-turner.

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3. Concise – Why use two or three words when one will do? Pack your story with punch by using powerful nouns and verbs. A good exercise is to list all the words that mean a common verb – like walk. The different ways a character walks gives a unique word picture. List below three ways to make your manuscript more concise.

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4. Conflict – This is a vital ingredient in every manuscript. Without tension and conflict, the writer has no plot. A compelling story is one that contains conflict and tension on every page. This doesn’t mean earth-shattering events but differences in goals, emotional conflict, spiritual conflict, physical conflict, or conflicts with nature. Donald Maass says that every page should have some type of conflict. If yours doesn’t meet the test, delete the page and head back to the computer.

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5. Creative – As writers, we are creative people. Our stories must take twists and turns that are totally unexpected by the reader, but the events must be in character. All the plot lines have been written. It is up to you to make your stories distinct. List three ways in which your story can be more creative by utilizing more creative attributes for your protagonist and your antagonist. Here is a tip: write your story outline in your antagonist’s point of view.

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6. Credible – Our stories must be believable. Consider the fantasy and sci-fi genre. Those stories engage us because we believe what is happening. Consider facts, characterization, setting, and dialogue. For additional help with this portion, view movies such as Lord of the Rings, Spiderman, Star Wars, or The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. List three ways in which you can incorporate credibility into your manuscript.

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1 comment:

Katie said...

I love this idea: writing tips from writers. My favorite idea is to do the outline from the antagonist POV. Powerful stuff!

Katie Johnson