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Craft of Writing

The Back Plot Thickens

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The Back Plot Thickens

by

Marilynn Byerly

Tell me the plot of "The Hound of the Baskervilles."

Easy enough you say. A country doctor comes to Sherlock Holmes and Watson. The local lord has died of heart failure. But there were a giant hound's tracks near his body, and there's this family legend about....

But is that the only plot?

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Keeping the Reader

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Keeping the Reader Reading

How to create a story that will suck the reader in like a black hole and not belch him out until "The End."

Marilynn Byerly

THE HOOK

What gets us into a story? What keeps us there?

Let's look at two beginnings of the same story.
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Why don't you write a real book?

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Why Don't You Write a Real Book?

Marilynn Byerly

For some unknown reason, people like to denigrate fiction writers and what we write. Any science fiction or mystery writer will tell you about the comments they've received from jerks of various sorts.

But the most insulted of all writers is the romance writer.

Over time, I've heard from a number of my friends in the field who have asked for advice on how to reply to comments. Here are my suggestions. Many will work just as well with whatever fiction you write.
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The truth behind all those unfinished novels

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The Demon Returns

The Truth Behind All Those Unfinished Novels

by

Marilynn Byerly

"Psst. Psst. Over here!"

I ignored the tiny voice, leaned closer to the computer screen, and continued typing.

"It's crap, you know. Total crap. No editor in the world will touch it."

I flinched but kept typing. "Go away."

"Boring, badly written crap. But I've got this great idea. A sure winner."

"That's what you said about this novel. Go away. I only have three chapters left. The final confrontation, the villain's glorious demise, the final love reconciliation, then fade to happily ever after."

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Characters who come alive

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Writers, we're a strange crowd at the best of times. One thing that non-writers don't understand is how characters can become real to writers. Psychiatrists would say this was a little unusual, at best, to create "imaginary friends". Then again, if we were normal--whatever that is--I'm convinced we couldn't write convincing characters.

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