Once Upon a Time….


fmmy21ohmklukw3-medium.jpgAbout Writing: A Summary of K.M. Weiland’s, “Techniques for Masterful Writing”

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.

  1. Hook: Start in the middle of some type of interaction within environment, statement, or internal angst to provoke reader curiosity.
  1. Characteristic Moment: Reveal/show a personality trait of the Protagonist.
  1. Setting Description of Scene: Start broadly, and then zoom in.
  1. Symbolism: Small details set story’s tone and foreshadows its course.
  1. The World Protagonist Inhabits: demonstrate character’s interior and exterior world.
  1. Back Story: Intersperse with dialogue, don’t dump back story in long paragraphs in chapter 1.
  1. The Premise of Story: Present the Dramatic Question early on, involving the moral foundation, the impetus that drives the story forward.
  1. Physical Actions: The physical movements of characters interspersed throughout dialogue increases depth of character traits.
  1. 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.


22 thoughts on “ABOUT WRITING – Techniques for Masterful Writing

  1. These are great tips! Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello TheAspiringCatholic, Thank you kindly! These tips have helped me greatly when I was working on my first novel. Thank you for commenting! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. jlfatgcs says:

    Karen, I love #1, because it really is #1. When Frank Remkiewicz, the illustrator of the Froggy books read my book’s draft, those were his first words. And he was / is so right.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jennie, I believe that too – it really is #1! Thank you for commenting! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. jlfatgcs says:

        You are welcome!


  3. frenchc1955 says:

    Thank you for this very useful post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Dr. French, I always learn so much for your posts and I am thrilled that you found this 2014 blog post useful! 🙂


  4. frenchc1955 says:

    Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
    This is a very useful post for writers!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. calensariel says:

    I get her newsletter, and I loved “Outlining Your Novel” and “Structuring Your Novel.” With them I wrote an entire manuscript (90,000 words) during NaNoWriMo in 2013. NOW if she’d just do one called “Editing Your Novel” I’d be in good shape! LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh yes, I agree. I think she is great. Although, for the life of me I can’t outline a novel, I tried that on my last book – 23 pages of outline and I ended up not using much of it because I changed the novel as I was writing it. Now, for Editing, I would love it if she did one on that topic! Thank you for commenting, Calensariel. Karen

    Liked by 1 person

  7. J Balconi says:

    A very good synopsis! Thank you for reposting.


    1. Hello J Balconi, thank you kindly. I found “Techniques for Masterful Writing” very helpful for me. Thank you for commenting. 🙂


    1. Hi, Charles, I will to this today! Thank you for nominating me! 🙂 Karen


  8. Thank you for sharing these excellent points.


    1. Mary Cathleen, Thank you. I had these tucked away and found them again and thought they would be useful too. Karen

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Mike says:

    Very timely and useful. You don’t have to have every one of these elements, but every story has to have some. Thanks for sharing.


    1. Hi Mike, Thank you. I too think these techniques are very useful. I had forgotten I actually kept these for several years and thought I would share them. Karen


  10. Liz Leighton says:

    Great tips. K.M.Weiland has several books on writing. I used to think I did a lot of work on developing my characters before beginning a novel until I read her book “Crafting Unforgettable Characters.” Thanks for this post!


    1. Liz, I agree, I do have one of her books, but I am going to get her Crafting Unforgettable Characters Writing book as well. In The Stone Arch Secret I did not develop Lilly fully and there were other areas that really needed improvement too. However, I am moving on to my true genre, magical fantasy. Karen 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Liz Leighton says:

        I look forward to that!


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