Monday, October 28, 2013

Chapters Full of Plot Elements

Not only is this a follow-up to last week's post on elements of plot--after all, the overall plot is built from a series of chapters--but my reading also took me in that direction. My focus this week has been on chapters and scenes. I’ll take a short break from writing tips next time so look for a couple of book reviews and a CONTEST during November.

Back to today's focus. I'm intrigued with a sweet romance I am reading, Fair Catch. Since I know the strong attraction means the couple gets together, and in fact they do early in the story, I am drawn to see what the author could possibly come up with in the next chapter to keep my interest going. How does she succeed? Many of the right elements are there. 

The other thing I've been reading is a final read-through of my inspirational historical fiction, The Seventh City, to make it as perfect as I know how before handing it over to my editor. Yes, I tweaked a word or sentence here and there, but the major revisions were complete. I’m pleased to report that I still love my story instead of being sick of it. *Grins* Again, many of the right elements must have been included. The elements of a chapter are similar to those for the entire plot. (Scroll down to last week's post.)  Let’s keep the focus today on chapter goals and transitions.

Each chapter should have a goal just as the book has a goal. Ask what this chapter achieves or what is the point of view character's goal. Is important information included, an object obtained, or travel to a new destination? How can you best give this information or what obstacles must the character overcome in this chapter to show growth and results toward his/her goal? Is his/her motive believable?

One chapter should transition into the next in a logical, linear sequence of events. Jumping back and forth in a timeline is confusing. End a chapter on an emotional high or low to keep the flow going into the next chapter. Leave the reader at a chapter's end with both seeing progress toward the goal and a hint of trouble to come. Don't conclude a chapter with the character simply going off to sleep, *yawn*, unless they go to bed worrying. The worry part is the hint of trouble to come. End with something that makes readers want to know what will happen next. Page turners are not all about leaving a character hanging from the proverbial cliff. Small teases can do the same thing. They hint at something more even while there is closure to the last scene's events. Readers want to feel emotional satisfaction about the results of the scene goal and also look forward to having more revealed.

Hope this was timely help to you NaNoWriMo participants and that you'll check back for my November contest! Have a great week!

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