Thursday, February 23, 2012


How to Write the Plot of an Entire Novel in One Sentence

By Molly Noble Bull

            A one-sentence plot is also called a line plot, and you can’t write one without including a major conflict. What is a major conflict?
Stay tuned. 
            The first part of a one-sentence plot names the main character. It introduces the opposing character, tells the viewpoint character’s goal, and ends with because. The word because forces the author to develop a major conflict so strong it seems impossible to resolve. 
            My Love Inspired novel, Brides and Blessings, is now an e-book, and it was published in 1999. Here is how I might have started a one-sentence plot for that novel.

.   The Romance Novel:
            “Model and movie star, Suzann Condry, thinks she’s found a way to escape the glitter of Hollywood when she trades places with her twin sister, a church librarian, for six months and meets Josh Gallagher, a local pastor, but their romance can never end happily because— 
            Part two begins after “because” and explains why the main character cannot reach his or her goal. In other words, the major conflict is named after the word because. Below is the last half of my Love Inspired linear plot. 
            “Suzann is not a Christian or the person she pretends to be, and soon, she must return to her old life.”                                                                                                                                       

.   The Short Story:
            "Hungry and abandoned by their parents in a dark forest, Hansel and Gretel meet a kind old woman who promises them food and shelter, but their dream of a home and safety are soon dashed, because, the old woman is anything but kind and wants to cook them in her oven and eat them for supper."

.   The Mainstream Novel: 
            "When Allison Foster takes a two week vacation to Paris and meets Tyler Barnhart again after many years, she thinks she has found true love at last, but their romance can only be temporary, because, Tyler is now a Catholic priest and has vowed never to marry."

.   The Western:
            "After making a down payment, Jake Morrison takes out a loan to buy land on a creek in West Texas and asks Mandy Ware to be his wife, but his dream of land and a happy future with Mandy disappears shortly before the wedding, because, banker and neighboring rancher, Roger Stokes, is also in love with Mandy and demands that Jake pay off his bank loan immediately or lose the land and his down payment." 

.   The Mystery:
            “Private investigator, Tom Grant, volunteers to help Marta Mentes discover why her father disappeared, but when Marta vanishes and her uncle turns up dead, Tom wonders if he has been deceived, because, Marta and her father are her uncle’s only heirs to a secret Swiss bank account.” 

            Not only will writing the plot in one sentence attract the attention of an editor, it will also help keep the story focused and moving forward.  Remember, a linear plot is the backbone of your story, and a plot isn’t a plot without a major conflict. 

CBA author Molly Noble Bull has sold short stories as well as novels via Zondervan and Love Inspired Books.
Her newest non-fiction book is titles The Overcomers: Christian Authors Who Conquered Learning Disabilities. The Overcomers is a finalist in the 2011 Women of Faith contest for writer. 

To find all Molly’s books, write Molly Noble Bull in the search slot at online and walk-in bookstores.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

What I learned from watching TV

posted by Teresa Slack
Come on, now. Let's be honest. Like me, you probably watch TV than you're willing to admit at gunpoint. Since most of us here are writers we can legitimize those wasted hours by calling it research. I bet you've learned a thing or two over the years about what works in storytelling and what is just plain stupid.

TV can be very predictable and boring and give a writer more than enough examples of what doesn’t work. But occasionally if you’re patient and watch closely enough, you’ll notice a few things that do work, even when they are done poorly.

Turn on your television and you’ll find plenty of suspense and cop dramas in which the bad guy is discovered because he coughed while driving to the victim’s house. Or the dog spit up on the carpet in 1998 after licking the wound of a victim and the DNA is still on the floor even though the carpet was used to wrap the body and burned in another state.

Nothing gets by these super-sleuths and investigators. I’ve been told by those in the know not to use prime time TV as research. Real life doesn’t happen that easily. DNA results takes months and local authorities seldom follow Fido around to see if he’s carrying a victim’s DNA in his digestive tract.

But you can pick up a few tidbits.

Successful TV dramas these days are high wire tension. But they don’t maintain the nail biting tension for an extended length of time. You must give the viewer—or in our case—the reader a chance to breath.

The next time you are watching your favorite nighttime drama be mindful of how they cut from scene to scene. Just as the high tension scenes aren’t long, neither are the ones that slow down the action and get into the personal lives of the participants.

It’s all about balance. Create a high tension, edge of your seat scene and end on a cliffhanger. Then just like they do on TV, switch to a scene where the hero visits his parents. His mother makes a stunning announcement. End your scene before he has a chance to react and cut back to high tension.

What about you? Have you learned anything from television--besides how to turn it off--that has helped with your writing? Even those guilty pleasure programs can teach us something if we look closely enough.

Happy Writing.

Friday, February 10, 2012


(And Contest Winner Announced)

by Molly Noble Bull  

Stick and Stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
In my opinion, nothing could be more false. Words spoken in anger, haste or with a hint of sarcasm can and do hurt and can be as painful as a sharp sword.
The human tongue is powerful, and the Old Testament Book of Proverbs has a lot to say on that topic, warning people to control anger and always speak in love. The scriptures below all come from the Book of Proverbs. (Good New Bible) When you finish reading them, scroll down to learn the name of the winner in the Will You Sell Before the Rapture contest. Please leave a comment.

Proverbs 17: 5 
If you make fun of poor people, you insult the God who made them. You will be punished if you take pleasure in someone=s misfortune. 
Proverbs 12: 18
Thoughtless words can wound as deeply as any sword, but wisely spoken words can heal. 
Proverbs 16: 24 
Kind words are like honeyCsweet to the taste and good for your health.
Proverbs 12: 25
Worry can rob you of happiness, but kind words will cheer you up. 
Proverbs 14: 17 
People with a hot temper do foolish things; wiser people remain calm. 
Proverbs 14: 29 
If you stay calm, you are wise, but if you have a hot temper, you only show how stupid you are.
Proverbs 15: 1 
A gentle answer quiets anger, but a harsh one stirs it up. 
Proverbs 15: 4
Kind words bring life, but cruel words crush your spirit.   
Proverbs 13: 3 
Be careful what you say and protect your life. A careless talker destroys himself.
Proverbs 15: 28 
A good man thinks before he speaks; the evil man pours out his evil words without a thought.
Proverbs 16: 21 
A wise, mature person is known for his understanding. The more pleasant his words, the more persuasive he is.
Proverbs 16: 23
Intelligent people think before they speak; what they say is then more persuasive.  
Proverbs 16: 27
Evil people look for ways to harm others; even their words burn with evil. 
Proverbs 16: 28
Gossip is spread by wicked people; they stir up trouble and break up friendships.
Proverbs 18: 20
You will have to live with the consequences of everything you say.  
Proverbs 18: 21
What you say can preserve life or destroy it; so you must accept the consequences of your words.
Proverbs 19: 11 
If you are sensible, you will control your temper. When someone wrongs you, it is a great virtue to ignore it. 
Proverbs 19: 19
If someone has a hot temper, let him take the consequences. If you get him out of trouble once, you will have to do it again.
Proverbs 20: 3 
Any fool can start arguments; the honorable thing is to stay out of them.
Proverbs 20: 19 
A gossip can never keep a secret. Stay away from people who talk too much. 
Proverbs 24: 11  
Speak up for people who cannot speak for themselves. Protect the rights of all who are helpless. Speak for them, and be a righteous judge. Protect the rights of the poor and needy. 

And the winner is. Terri Gillespie. Please leave a comment on the article or the contest.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Several that entered the contest failed to leave an email address so they could be contacted. Another person's entry was posted after the deadline and thus disqualified. If those who entered on time but failed to leave an email address will leave one as a comment to this message by midnight Thursday, February 9th, their enter will still be considered.
Molly Noble Bull


Monday, February 6, 2012


by Molly Noble Bull

WILL YOU SELL BEFORE THE RAPTURE CONTEST will close at midnight on Tuesday, February 7, 2012. Enter now. Scroll down to the article just below this one to read the rules.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


by Molly Noble Bull

Contest Rules: 
Reply to this blog by leaving a comment, telling why you think you should sell a book before the Rapture in 50 words or less. Include your email address and a sentence or two about your story. The winner will receive a free critique from Molly Noble Bull of the first 50 double-spaced pages of a manuscript.
Molly has placed first in two national contests for published authors and also placed high in other such contests.
So enter now.