Monday, July 14, 2008

Welcome Guest Blogger- Geralyn Beauchamp

BIO: A Relationship and Wellness coach, Geralyn Beauchamp has been coaching writing for the last three and a half years. "So many of my clients begin to get healthy and fit, and suddenly in the journey, discover they have a book inside of them!" Geralyn says. A book reviewer for five years, Geralyn learned what it took to make a good read. She has edited for fellow authors, as well as written for the screen. A finalist for Best New Fiction in the Indie Excellence Book Awards, 'Time Masters, Book One: The Call' is her first novel in the Time Master series. She is currently working on Time Masters Book Two; The Prophecy which will release in 2009.

Visit Geralyn at her website: http://www.geralynbeauchamp.com/

Geralyn is writing today about how to "Keep 'em turning those pages".

Have you ever heard the term "a sagging middle"? No, I don't mean what happens to your tummy when you skip the gym for a year or so. It's what often happens to books when the author has too many pages between the beginning and the end of her novel. And it is the bane of editors everywhere.

If you want to ensure your book doesn't suffer middle age spread, read on!


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KEEP EM TURNING THOSE PAGES!

And just how does one keep their readers turning the pages of your book with barely suppressed excitement? In a word, tension. And how do you build the tension through out the chapter to keep your readers anticipating the next? By structuring a beginning, middle, and end to not only the chapter itself, but to any scenes within the chapter. “OK, fine, Geralyn, I get it,” you say. “But how do I do all that?!” That’s easy. Know where you’re going. Do you want your readers to experience the equivalent feeling of a carriage ride through the park? Relaxing, but what if something spooks the horses and the driver can’t control them? Or do you want your reader to experience the erratic fast paced tension of a roller coaster ride? Make sure you know where you are going!

Draw a time line of your story. In what chapter do you want what event /events to take place to keep the story moving? Now ask yourself when you want the reader to learn about certain things. Where do you want them to scream, “WOW! Now what happens?” And when do you want to let them know the answer to that? Mark these on your time line. But be sure you give them something in between. You can weave your story like a fine tapestry this way, controlling the pace and how much information you give to your reader by a simple time line. You can design your chapter or scene endings as small drop offs or full cliff hangers. Intermix your main plot and sub plots by alternating the two. Where the reader is left to wonder about what happens next in the main plot, you then give them something to wonder about in the sub-plot, be it at the end of just a scene or a whole chapter, then get back to the main plot you made them wonder about in the previous chapter. Give them something else to wonder about with the main plot, and then go back to answering what happens next in the sub-plot area. This ping pong affect keeps the reader always guessing, always asking, “What happens next?!”

The ends of scenes and chapters don’t have to be complete cliff hangers, though that’s my personal style, but they do have to make the reader ask themselves the question, “What happens next?” How you structure your story is very important. Do you want to give them the information in the very next chapter or scene? Or go to something else happening in the story for a scene or two then get back to the main action? It’s up to you, but the main thing is to have some sort of tension on every page. Even if your characters are just sitting at the kitchen table sipping tea, have a little tension of some sort. It could be in their dialogue, a simple action or movement. But keep that tension going!

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Fantastic!

What do you say, faithful blog readers (I know you're out there!)

One of my goals as I write is to create a book that readers will start reading right there in the store and not want to put down. I picture them getting stern looks from sales clerks, rushing to the cashier with my book and racing home to pick up the story where they left off. Nice dream!

Okay, how about you?

Show us what you've got! Post your best "what happens next???" scene in your WIP (work in progress) and then tell us where it goes next (briefly).
Or, ask Geralyn a question, or leave her a comment. She will be checking the blog and responding in person!

I bid you good writing.

10 comments:

Serendipity said...

'Jackson didn’t know it yet, but in a far away place, closer than he could imagine, was a little creature sighing in frustration.
This little creature was sighing because she had absolutely no idea what to do. This really wasn’t a surprise in itself,if you knew her.
The trap door was shut. Locked in fact. And it wasn’t supposed to be locked. It was supposed to be UN-locked and wide open. And this little creature had been sent to unlock it and open it, so it would no longer be locked, or unopened. But given that Meeka Sodo was just that kind of elf, she had forgotten the key.
So there she was, standing at the top of a thirty foot ladder, trying to open a locked trap door, with a smelly, dead fish.

Next Chapter

Jackson opened his eyes and looked at the clock. It was early, but his mind was already busy with thoughts. What was so important about today? Oh yes, family reunion day.'

They of course meet up later on.Any opinions would be much appreciated. Thank you for doing this Connie!

Serendipity said...

ah, this is where I make a fool of myself and post the 'unedited' version of wip.

Bonnie Grove said...

Er,

Name's Bonnie.

*Cough*

Geralyn Beauchamp said...

Serendipity,

Catch me on my regular email geralynbeauchamp@yahoo.com and I'll show you how to re-pace your paragraphs. But only if you want!

Good last paragraph before going to the next chapter!

Serendipity said...

see? this is why i can't leave any messages for anyone because my 3 year old seems to 'sense' whenever i'm on the computer and manages to jump ON me as i type. i think it's a gift. i apologize from the bottom of my heart and hope i haven't made anyone feel unimportant. BONNIE I'M SOOOO SORRY!!!! would it be weak to say i have a good friend named Connie who is lovely????
ok, my child is licking my leg, i have to go.

Bonnie Grove said...

Oh my goodness, Jennifer! An offer from Geralyn to help you on your WIP!

I'd jump on THAT, girl.

Woo Hoo!


**Yeah. . . blame the kid. Sure**

:)

authordonna said...

It didn’t take long for Gillian to reach her target hidden beyond a line of low-rising hills nor did it take her long to realize the truth of her fear. For every vulture riding the warm breeze there were two more of the black bandits on the ground squawking aggressively over three unidentifiable mounds. A fourth mound thrashed in the dirt, kicking up a cloud of dust that obscured its form. But Gillian didn’t need clear air to know that the thrashing creature was one of her four missing foals.
“No!” The word burst from her lips as the scene imbedded itself, with all its nasty implications, into her mind’s eye. She clenched her horse’s sides in the silent demand for more speed and rocked forward to aid his stride. Feeling her tension and the aggressive command, Doc pushed harder, pinned his ears and thundered toward the gruesome feast. Gillian gave him his head throwing herself back in the saddle and drawing on the reins only after he charged into the flapping fray. Even before the horse stopped, she launched herself from his back and ran to the nearest animal, waving her arms wide and screaming her fury at the scavengers as they lifted into the air, great black wings flapping frantically in their eagerness to escape. Dropping to the ground, she
ignored the tears that clouded her vision and reached for the carotid artery that ran the length of the foal’s neck. Nothing. This one was dead.

Karina Fabian said...

OK. Don't know that this is my best, but it's certainly fun. Every play Hungry Hungry Hippos? Munchy Moles is similar, but the marbles are done like bugs and are points. And the table tilts.

Vern is a dragon; Grace is a mage; Charlie the dashing hero; Heather the damsel in distress. They've just rescued her.

My heroes are in a room-sized version of Munchy Moles, running from animatronic monsters that are attaching them when the room comes to life. Vern's been raking his claws int he ground to keep his balance when he thinks of flying....


Flying!

Cursing myself for an idiot, I launched myself into the air and snatched Grace just as a skeletal amphibious frog monster grabbed at her leg. A moment of tug-of war, then her pantleg ripped and he was left holding a piece of fabric while I flew Grace to the door. I dropped her, then dove back in for Heather. She was on her stomach and pulling at a lobster that was tangled in her hair. A three-foot fallen Howdy Hug Me Bear had attached himself to her legs, his weight pulling her with him toward the waiting jaws the green mole.

"Help me!"

I saw Charlie make to dive for her, shouted for him to stop and flew toward her. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a smiling roach boulder rolling toward him. Rhoda saw it, too.

"Charlie!" We both yelled.

He managed to leap away, but at the cost of his balance. The board tilted and he fell sliding toward the red mole.

I grabbed Heather with my tail as Green mole's jaws sliced through Howdy Bear like hot butter. She fought me as the table tilted again. "Charlie! Get Charlie!"

Where was he? I twisted my neck and came face first with a grinning ladybug boulder. Three points. Something launched itself at my wings and I went down hard, barely missing Heather. We slid toward red mole, fast, but not fast enough. I couldn't pull myself up, much less us both. One wing was trapped under me. The jaws were closing. I did the only thing I could.

I pushed us into the darkness beyond its mouth.

(This is from Live and Let Fly, coming out in 09 from Swimming Kangaroo. I'm blogging about my adventures writing it at www.fabianspace.blogspot.com)

Geralyn Beauchamp said...

Author Donna, contact me as well at geralynbeauchamp@yahoo.com :)

And Karina ... SO! THERE'S VERN! I've not had time to properly savor the dear boy. He is delectable I must say. I look forward to reviewing Vern and his friends in November I believe it is. :) Watch out for repeat words in an action sentence.
Cursing myself for an idiot, I launched myself into the air and snatched Grace just as a skeletal amphibious frog monster grabbed at her leg.

TO:Cursing myself for an idiot, I launched into the air and snatched Grace just as a skeletal amphibious frog monster clutched her leg. A tug-of war ensued and quickly ended when her pant leg ripped and he was left gripping a piece of fabric as I flew Grace to the door. I dropped her then dove back in for Heather.

To increase pace and action look at all the word options. Which creates more suspense and tension? A lot depends on your readers. You are writing for a younger audience so the original paragraph is good. And as everybody knows, reading it out loud really lets you know how tight everything is or if it needs a turn or two of adjustment.

I can't wait to read more!

Karina Fabian said...

Thanks!

Yeah, this is a WIP, so I haven't even gone back to do the editing. (I read it aloud, too. Always a great idea. Then I read it backwards to catch typos.)

Leaps of Faith is what's coming out in November--that's a Christian anthology of sci fi I edited (The Writers' Cafe Press). Then in early 2009, the first DragonEye, PI, novel "Magic, Mensa and Mayhem" comes out. After that, comes Live and Let Fly.

In the meantime, you can enjoy Vern's blog: www.dragoneyepi.net.

Blessings!
Karina