By K.D. Dowdall
I am re-blogging this post from 2014. My summary of K.M. Weiland’s excellent article presented in Writer’s Digest, Work Book: Exercises and Tips for Honing Specific Aspects of Your Writing presents the key points of her exceptional article. It is especially for writers penning their first novel, but also for seasoned writers to again remember a classic, Jane Eyre, a novel that was ahead of its time, by Charlotte Brontë. Often, reading classics, as most of us do, gives us fresh insight to dramatic storytelling par excellence, and can improve our own writing skills. K.M. Weiland gives us 10 distinct techniques for dramatic masterful writing. For me, I chose to read Jane Eyre.
- Hook: Start in the middle of some type of interaction within environment, statement, or internal angst to provoke reader curiosity.
- Characteristic Moment: Reveal/show a personality trait of the Protagonist.
- Setting Description of Scene: Start broadly, and then zoom in.
- Symbolism: Small details set story’s tone and foreshadows its course.
- The World Protagonist Inhabits: demonstrate character’s interior and exterior world.
- Back Story: Intersperse with dialogue, don’t dump back story in long paragraphs in chapter 1.
- The Premise of Story: Present the Dramatic Question early on, involving the moral foundation, the impetus that drives the story forward.
- Physical Actions: The physical movements of characters interspersed throughout dialogue increases depth of character traits.
- Protagonist’s Belief: Once Dramatic Question is identified, writer presents obstacles for protagonist until she/he can relinquish belief/misconception and meet deepest needs.
10.Extraordinary Factor: What makes the Protagonist important? How at odds is protagonist in his/her world with others that creates friction, tension, and thus the central conflict of story premise.
***see Writer’s Digest, October 2014 edition, for full article.