Simon Wood

Posts Tagged: plotting

I have a new writer’s workshop starting in June. It came at the suggestion of one of my previous workshop students and I’ve been working on it for the last few months.  The new workshop is QUERY LETTERS, SYNOPSIS WRITING AND PITCHING.  The workshop would explore the following:

  • Crafting a query letter directed at agents and publishers and how to perform a coordinated agent/publisher search.
  • Writing synopses. Yes, I said “synopses.” Multiple synopses are needed for book title because you’ll need a 200-word synopsis, 1-page synopsis, 2-page synopsis and a 4-page synopsis. There’s no such thing as a standard synopsis length…sadly.
  • There are plenty of opportunities to pitch face-to-face with industry professionals—both formally and informally—so it pays to have your elevator pitch in your back pocket ready to pull out at a moment’s notice.

So if you want to learn how to interact with the industry and present your story concept effectively, you can sign up here:

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My ever-popular online workshop on KILLER SUSPENSE writing starts on May 2nd. This workshop blossomed out of a piece I wrote for Writers’ Digest and there’s now interest for me to develop into a book. So if you want to learn how to inject some drama and conflict into your fiction, here’s what to expect from the workshop and you can sign up here:

You’re reading. Your heart is slamming against your ribcage, your fingertips are moist and you turn another page. The protagonist’s back is up against the wall and the antagonist is setting up a trap. You wish you could do something to prevent the protagonist from walking into it, but you can’t. You are helpless, totally at the mercy of the writer. You turn another page.

If you’ve ever felt this way while reading a book, then the writer has done a great job at creating suspense—and if you continue to read all the way to the end, the writer has also done a great job of maintaining it. So how do you, the writer, go about creating the same for your readers? KILLER SUSPENSE reveals the tricks of the trade for creating top notch suspense in your writing, whether it be a cozy or a spy thriller. The intensity might be different but the techniques are the same.

Lesson Plan:

  • Lesson #1: Understanding Suspense—Thrillers vs. Mysteries
  • Lesson #2: Viewpoints
  • Lesson #3: Heroes and Villains
  • Lesson #4: Elements of Suspense #1—High Stakes, Pressure Points & Dilemmas
  • Lesson #5: Elements of Suspense #2—Time Constraints, Complications, Unpredictability
  • Lesson #6: Suspense Plan Review

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My online workshop on Point-of-View writing starts on April 4th. Oddly, 2022 has proved very popular for this topic. I’m slated to give a shortened version of this workshop to four different writing organization this year already. If you want to learn how to keep your POV straight in your books, here’s what to expect from the workshop and you can sign up here:

Can’t decide who’s the best character to tell your story? You don’t have to settle for just a single character’s point of view. I’ll discuss the techniques and the decisions that have to be made when writing in multiple points of view.

Weaving multiple viewpoint characters in and out of a story is like standing trial and knowing what the judge, the prosecuting attorney and all 12 members of the jury are thinking. Each person is witnessing the same information, but each individual interpretation is different. But it’s not like you can crack into everyone’s mind simultaneously. Even if you could, it’d be impossible to comprehend what 14 people are saying if they’re all talking at the same time.

Allowing multiple characters to tell your story can add depth and insight that a single point of view may not be able to convey. Most stories have plenty of characters with their own tales to tell. Multiple POV characters add depth to a novel. Suddenly the story is being told from the perspective of multiple witnesses, all putting their distinctive interpretations on events. But the inclusion of multiple voices can bring with it its own problems. Those multiple points of view can get out of control and turn the story into a mess. In a novel, just like in a conversation, not everyone can speak at once. There are plenty of ways to give each character a voice without having them talk over one another. Even if you’re only writing from a single point-of-view or utilizing an omniscient POV approach, going through these exercises will help ensure there’s a smooth transition between characters.

Lesson Plan:

  • Lesson #1: Creating a hierarchy of POV characters
  • Lesson #2: Limit the number of POV characters
  • Lesson #3: Pick the right character for the right job
  • Lesson #4: POV Toolbox Tricks #1— Use chapter and/or scene breaks & Changing Spaces
  • Lesson #5: POV Toolbox Tricks #2—Passing the baton, Mixing perspectives & Using distinctive voices
  • Lesson #6: POV Plan Review

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I’ve scheduled my writing workshops for the first half of 2022 and they are as follows:

  • PLOT THICKENERS (Starts March 7th)
  • SHIFTING POVs (Starts April 4th)
  • KILLER SUSPENSE (Starts May 2nd)
  • QUERY LETTERS & SYNOPSIS WRITING (Starts June 6thNEW!
  • SHORT STORIES (Starts July 11th)
  • AUTHOR PROFESSIONALISM (Starts August 8th)

As you can see, my new workshop on query letters and synopsis writing is set.  Thanks to everyone who contacted me after my last newsletter.

Course and signup details can be found here.

 

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Connie Jasperson interviewed me about my plotting techniques after attending my writing workshop at the Southwest Washington Writers Conference.  You can read it here.

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