Sleuthing and Writing Skills

What Should You Include In Your Story?

Remember that although you work out the history of a character and the reasons for things happening, you don’t have to include everything that you know in your story.

It’s tempting, especially when you’ve come up with such fabulous traits and explanations, but the trick is to select what needs to be in this chapter, what can be revealed later, and what can be left out completely. You want to include just enough to keep good rhythm and pace in the story, and you also want to leave some gaps for your readers to fill in the details.

Including too much information slows things down and the reader can get bored. But you still need to make sure you include ‘enough’ information for the reader to figure things out for themselves. Tricky, huh? That’s the writer’s challenge.

- Kathy White **************************************************************************************

Tips for Writing A Great Story.

Have A Good Hook....
Readers aren’t going to continue reading unless you have a really good lure to get them engaged.

The First Act....
The first three chapters... the set up, introduce the characters, the setting and the stakes. (about 20 to 25% of the story)

The First Plot Point....
Stories are a series of scenes but some scenes are game changers.
The first plot point introduces a game changing event or element to your story which changes the course of the story.

The first quarter of your book hinges on the Inciting Event (Hook) and the Key Event. (First Plot Point)

The Beginning Of The Second Act....
The Main Character is still reacting to the First Plot Point but things are about to change...

Midpoint....(Second Plot Point)
A major game changing event happens and the stakes are now very high. What will your Main Character do....

The End of The Second Act....
The Main Character must make the decision to take charge and drive forward to the end of the story. (To Act and Not React)

You are now 70% of the way through your story. You have upped the stakes, made the Main Character take charge and now things are really hotting up.

The Beginning Of The Third Act....
Events are set in motion to get to the

This is the event that the whole story has been working up to....
How will the Main Character overcome the stakes?
Game changing scenes come thick and fast. The Main Character has to be nimble to get through them all...but at what cost?

The Resolution....
How has the Climax changed the Main Characters world?
This can be from a page to a chapter where all questions not answered in the climax get resolved.

 Maureen Crisp 2012

Analysing The Mysterious Letter

1. Are there any hints in the letter about what might happen next?
2. What do we know about the letter-writer from reading the letter?
3. Does the letter provide any hints about the relationship between the letter-writer and the person who receives it?
3. What do you think the letter means when it says 'You reap what you sow'?
4. If you had an envelope, you could look at the postmark to see where it was posted (but you don't have an envelope, so you can't figure that one out).
5. Can you find out anything from the hand-writing?
6.  What kind of person would have the skills to solve the mystery of who wrote this letter and why?
7. How about you imagine what that character looks like, and the type of personality that they have.

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