I can’t remember how Writing and Selling Your Novel was recommended to me, but it was definitely worth reading.
I love books on writing because they are like attending mini-conferences. Lots of topics are covered that make me think about writing in different ways. Usually sparking a breakthrough or giving me a new technique when editing or drafting.
I’ve been reading this book for a couple months because the chapters are wonderfully divided up into individual topics and lessons. Each has exercises to try too.
I really loved how he explained Stimulus and Response. It gave me a new way to analyze the flow of my writing.
One of the best takeaways is: “Whenever you show something happening (a stimulus), you must show something else happening as a result (a response); and whenever you desire a certain thing to happen a response), you must show the happening that caused it (the stimulus).”
Sounds simple right?
But one point he made is that when you have dialogue and internalizations in a paragraph, you want to put the line of dialogue at the end of paragraph, if the next paragraph begins with the speaker responding to it.
Stimulus-response at work. It really makes things flow better.
His chapter on Making Story People More Interesting touches on some basic psychological aspects that can be employed to ratchet up the conflict and tension.
I found the transactional analysis theory very useful in understanding an argument in my current novel. The idea is that there are 3 ego states: parent, adult, and child.
Conflict happens when there is a cross transaction, which means any of these three talking to one of the other two. So if a parent talks to a child, you’ll get some sparks.