Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Look at Scene Sequencing

Posted by Eileen Astels

In Chris Roerden's Don't Sabotage Your Submission, she addresses the concept of constructing scenes that follow a goal-obstacle-outcome sequence.

1. The Goal: Or some might consider it the protagonist's agenda for the scene, must be presented early in the scene for the reader to grasp onto. Once the reader knows what is desired, they'll either be rooting for it to happen, or biting their nails, praying that it doesn't. Either way, the reader has become invested in reading on. They begin to anticipate the possibilities and outcomes, and anticipation in anyone "creates tension, builds suspense, and maintains our addiction to adrenalin, all of which keeps us turning the pages." (Pg 152 of Don't Sabotage Your Submission by Chris Roerden)

2. Obstacle(s): Ah, these are the makings of conflict. And conflict is the life-blood of any good novel. You need to create compelling obstacles that cause external and internal conflicts for the protagonist. And you need to show your characters traversing these obstacles, growing and changing due to these experiences.

3. Outcome: Good or bad, you need to offer a defining moment that reveals the outcome of their desired scene agenda. This outcome, then, will spark the agenda for a future scene as the character continues to work toward achieving their story goal (which in turn, might be altered during the course of the novel, but be sure to keep the reader abreast of these developments so that reader anticipation is always present, driving them to flip those pages.)

If we write with this sequence, goal-obstacle-outcome, in mind, our focus will rarely get muddied. And as a result our readers will stick with our stories.

What creative ways do you present your scene goals, obstacles, and outcomes without it coming off as chunky, blatantly obvious, but yet present for the reader to grasp in an entertaining way?

Surrendering to Him,


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Resurrection of your dream

This past Sunday we celebrated the resurrection of our savior, Jesus. Jesus' death and resurrection meant the victory over our enemy the devil.

This had me thinking this morning of my life as a writer. It has been a tough road. I'm in the 7th year of being a full-time writer and just as I got to the "publishable" level the floor dropped out of publishing. It doesn't mean that hope is lost, it just means that I have to shift my writing focus for a bit.

I think that this writer's life can be overwhelming at times. There is so much of US in each book we write, every article we put together and every topic we teach on. There has to be...the reader won't go to those emotional depths unless we go there first.

The disciples thought all was lost that Friday. The sun was gone. There was an earthquake. Their leader was dead. One of the 12 was found to be a crook. Rome was still in power.

They'd given up 3 years of their life...for THIS!!

What they didn't know was what we now know. Sunday was coming. Jesus was taking the keys from the devil. A takeover to shake the entire universe was in the process.

But they had to pass through Friday and Saturday first.

God already sees our victory. He may be allowing your dream to die at this moment and you wonder what it was all about. Why did you sacrifice so much to write. Did you miss God some how?

Don't worry. God is still full of the resurrection power. Your Dream...hold on to it.

Sunday is coming.

Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at
Learn more about Tiffany's Marketing techniques on her main blog.
Common-sense money management is free at The Balanced Life website.
Read Tiffany's award winning manuscript "A Face in the Shadow" on her fiction blog.
She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer's Rest.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Tea and a choosing a different way.

Our family traditions tend to involve Afternoon Tea and that includes Easter :-)

This started many years ago on a vacation to Victoria, B.C. Who knew then how important the special meal at Bouchardt Gardens? Our family fully fell in love with the finger foods and specialties of English style tea.

It's interesting how food is the central element to any celebration. I take great pleasure in making everything by hand. It usually takes me days to prepare.

This year, I've had to make some hard choices in how I spend my time as I build the foundation for Gems of Wisdom, the business. I capitulated and have created the majority of the Easter Tea from things I bought. I've even let people help me this year.

The focus is going to be on lots of fresh berries and fruits. The savories are the absolutely must have Scotch Eggs, egg salad and cucumber finger sandwiches. The dessert is a store bought angel food cake filled with blackberries and strawberries and then dolloped with a light, quick lemon pudding sauce. I even found orange sliced pound cake to serve as the tea bread. Then I picked up tiny peach tarts, strawberry/rhubarb tarts and lemon hot-cross buns. Family are bringing more fun foods.

You know what? It's going to be a gorgeous Easter Tea and I am going to be thrilled to celebrate the reason for it--Christ's resurrection, with a much more accepting and relaxed heart. I didn't have to do it the way I've always done it. Sometimes it's worth finding a new way in order to put important things in order.

I'd say that was a good choice :-)

Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tiffany Live on Dancing Word Tonight!

Hello everyone!

Soon I'll be running free webinars on my two websites [ and] but tonight I will be at Dancing Word answering questions and teaching on how to stay successful, and become more successful, in today's economy. These chats are free and, since you type everything, they might be friendlier for people with dial-up. I hope most or all of you will come and check out the chat. Transcripts will be posted later but get your questions answered tonight!!

Dancing Word offers these great opportunities throughout the month. Go read some of their archived chats and see what is coming. Use them to help you build your writing business and learn from others.

Here is the official announcement from Dancing Word.

Are you concerned that these hard economic times will prevent you from moving forward in your writing career? Get some career tips from Writing Coach Tiff Colter on Tuesday, April 7th, beginning at 9 p.m. Eastern/6 p.m. Pacific in the Dancing Word chat room.

“History shows that times of downturn are the fertile soil that produces exponential growth,” Colter states. “Aspiring and newly published writers can capitalize on these changes. We will talk about how writers can prepare their writing business in this time of slow book sales. We will also look at opportunities to build the business you have now. To get you started I will give away a free month of coaching to one lucky participant and a special discount to all who come.”

To join the chat go to: type in your name where you see "enter nick" and then click on the "connect" button. Please test out the chat room ahead of time.

Those who cannot use the java program will need to use the central chat mIRC program. Go to: Type your name in the "nickname" box and click on the "Login" button.

If you need help getting into the chat room, please contact me at dancingword @ gmail (dot) com [without the spaces and replace dot with .]


Annie McDonald
Dancing Word Writer Network

Upcoming chat guests: Tiff Colter, DiAnn Mills, Jill Williamson

Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at
Learn more about Tiffany's Marketing techniques on her main blog.
Common-sense money management is free at The Balanced Life website.
Read Tiffany's award winning manuscript "A Face in the Shadow" on her fiction blog.
She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer's Rest.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Robin Bayne, compiler of Words to Write By
By Molly Noble Bull

Today I am interviewing my good friend author Robin Bayne about her new book, Words to Write By. Not only do Robin and I share an interest in writing, I had the honor of contributing an essay that was included in Words to Write By.

1) Okay, Robin. Let’s get started. Tell us a little about Words to Write By. What kind of book is it? Please give us a short sample of what’s inside—a paragraph or two would be fine. Then tell us how you compiled all those essays into one book.

Robin: This is non-fiction, a collection of true experiences by well-known and aspiring writers. Here’s an excerpt from my opening note to readers:

Each day I receive devotional writings by e-mail, and read them
on desk and wall calendars. I often wonder how to apply that
day’s “lesson” to my writing, and how to share my own favorite
verses with other writers.
Many writers keep a favorite quote or Bible verse taped to
their computer monitors, or as part of their e-mail signature or
website theme. Why do they do this? For the inspiration, they
might tell you.

I have asked some of the best writers in the
business to share their inspiration with us, their favorite words of
wisdom, and explain why they find them so special.
So take a moment and enjoy the collection, see how many of
them also speak to you. Make a copy and tape one to your own
monitor, or even better, be inspired to find your own special quote
or verse.What words do you write by?

Compiling essays was a lot of work! The trick to assembling the essays of more than 50 writers is to stay organized. I loved working with all of my favorite authors and they contributed some great devotionals. The best part is hearing from someone that they were moved, or inspired, by one of the stories.

2) What is your typical writing day like?

I have a full time job at a small community bank, so my writing takes place in small chunks whenever I can fit it in. I really like to write away from my desk, longhand or with an Alphasmart, and worry about getting it into the computer later.
During the time I was compiling "Words," I kept charts and piles of chapters all over my desk and credenza so I could review it all regularly.

3) I understand that you also write fiction. Tell us the title of one of your works in progress and why the characters in that book are among your favorites?

I really can't select just one of each, but I do love my hero and heroine in "From Now On." Cami, the heroine, was actually the antagonist in my earlier book, "Cougar Lake." I loved that I could redeem her and make her likable, and hope readers think so too. I love that about inspirational fiction—characters can change for the better.

4) Do you have any advice for aspiring novelists?

Yes, read all you can and take a writing class. Practice as much as you can before you start submitting work to publishers. Never be afraid to revise your stories or articles. Attend online writing conferences and ask lots of questions! One good online workshop is the 'Muse Writer's Conference' held every fall. The web address for that conference is

7) Which genres do you enjoy reading for pleasure?

I mainly enjoy Christian romance or women's fiction, but will sometimes receive a western or mystery to review on my blog.

8) Thanks for coming, Robin. I hope you will visit us again.

Thank you Molly!

To order Words to Write By at a walk-in bookstore, ask for books by Robin Bayne. Write Robin Bayne in the search slot at online bookstores like Amazon, and don’t’ forget to visit her blog and website.
Next month, my guest will be historical author Golden Keyes Parsons. See you then.