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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Plotting a novel

How to engage your audience

And the age of that audience should make no difference

Barbara Else is the creator of the Land of Fontania, the magical setting of her award-winning The Traveling Restaurant and her latest book, The Queen and the Nobody Boy. Her books are full of magic, adventure, pirates, spies, and wonderful characters

 Writing is challenge enough, but Barbara Else  took a class in creative writing recently, where the youngest participant was six years old, and the age of the oldest was tactfully unmentioned.  How do you reach such a disparate audience?  By telling the truth, as simply and honestly as you can.

"When you start a book," she said, "you should say, oh, that poor fellow [woman, or girl]."

At the middle of the book, "You should say (aghast), oh, things are getting worse."

At the end of the book, "You should say, well, thank heavens it turned out so well."

And by the end of her talk, the whole class, including the six-year-old, were busily at work on their novel outlines.

I think it is a wonderful formula.  Think of all the Harlequin/Mills and Boon novels you have pretended not to read -- all the thrillers and mysteries and Regency romances.  They all start with an "oh, my goodness," carry on with an "oh, gracious, oh, my goodness," and end with a sigh of, "How lovely."

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