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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Write Fiction That Grabs Attention

"I'd like to write, but not sure I can." Someone said.

Simply, sit down, write and that's the secret.

Answer the following questions. What problem, plot

will the main character be struggling against? In longer

or book length fiction, writers knead in more than one

problem. For our purposes, the focus is on short fiction.

Unless, you have questions about novel length work?

Submit questions to me. Feel free to comment as well.

Where will the story be told? Will the setting be rural?

A farm that an older sibling wants to sell, but the younger

brother have plans to make it a success. The farm had been

in the family for generations. What lengths will the two go

to in an effort to reach their goals?

Urban America has grounds for all kinds of twists

and turns for a thriller. A wife drove to the market,

noticed the same car that passed her. It had blood

on it. Why? What happened?

Some do research on a place with an appealing name,

or a region of interest.

Make a profile of each character. You have to know

your characters before telling their story.

Profiles include features, aspirations, gender, and

anything else you want in it.

Personally, I like characters to have flaws, and speak

differently from one another.

The following excerpt is from my novel, Grave Street

House. The conversation is between two cousins.

Notice the difference in their speech patterns.

"I gotta dare for ya," Lena boosted.

"No, no way. I'm not doing any dares. I can't

live life on your roller coaster of rushes."

"Ya like 'em as much as I do."

"No way."

"Ya don't have a choice."

"Do too."

Fiction that grabs the attention spills-out the

problem immediately. Show the main's character's

plight. Allow readers to see who characters are

through interaction with other story people, or from

hearing talk, gossip.

"I'm still not sure how to bring a character to life."

You explained.

Think of a person best suited for your story.

Female? Male? Name he, she, or it.

I am going to pick a main character for a short

story. I named her Barbara Stills. The name came

off the top of my head. No, I was looking at water.

I mean as in, spring water or distilled water. Hence,

the name Stills.

Who is she? She reaches four-feet in height,

strong jaw-line, black eyes, red hair, and twenty-

years-old. She lives for now, no future goals.

Thumb through magazines to get an idea of

features for characters. Don't copy, but stir in

your imagination. Draw from life too. In other

words, have you ever seen a person that would

make an excellent character in your fiction?

Never use exact speech patterns, looks, but be


Barbara Stills grew up in any city, USA. She works

at the Carter Recreational Center during the Summer

months. She is a swimming coach/guard.

Take a look at how Barbara Stills interacts with


"What up, Barb?" A voice came from behind her.

"Lookin' for Tish." She turned to face Jen. "Seen


"Not since dis mornin' when she was walkin' to the


"She betta do our dare, or I'll tell everybody she

clucks like a hen. Want in on the dare?"

"Not me." Jen threw up her hands in a surrender


"Weird-o." Barbara walked away.

Tish works at the Center as well. She arrives

before the children.

Tish is the only child of loving parents. She is

pretty, tries to fit in.

"Hey, Tish." Barbara stopped Tish as she passed

the swimming pool.

"'Member our dare?"

"Don't think it's a good idea."

"Ya shoulda thought of that before outtin' me in

front of people."

"Was a joke."

"Be there, or..."

"You'll harass me?" Tish interrupted.

"Nope." Barbara sat on the edge of the pool.

"I'll be there."

Tish mouthed words, but no sound left her lips.

She stopped, dropped her head, and scurried away.

The aim is to create characters people want to read

about over and over. More importantly, it is nice

when readers want to see more of an author's work.

Writers are required to pour story people in a setting

where conflict lives.

"Boo." Later that day, Barbara sneaked behind Tish

as she stood a few feet from an abandoned house.

"Don't do that!" Tish grabbed at her heart.

"Why ya standin' here?" Barbara laughed.

"Waiting for you."

"Yeah, right." Barbara smirked. "Let's do it."

"Somebody moved across the window."

"Any excuse, Tish. Ya should be scared of the

city's peeps, not old houses."

"You know what happened in there?" Tish took

a deep breath.

"Nope, don't care."

"Eight-year-old killed her parents in there, some

years back. Everyone who lived in the house acted

strange, after it happened"

"What happened in the house has nothin' to do

with us. What the odds a girl, long time ago,

came back to live in the neighborhood where she

murdered her parents?" Barbara rolled her eyes

skyward, and then at Tish.

Barbara dragged Tish, by the arm, closer to the


"Wait." Tish jerked away from Barbara,

stumbled a few feet.


"We don't have to do this."

"All 'ight," Barbara agreed.

"No, let's go." Tish sighed.

"Ya sure?"

"I'm not going to be bullied by you, and your


Barbara and Tish paced to the house.

Barbara stepped inside. Tish was on her


Jen jumped out of the shadows, startled

them. With two quick thrusts, Jen jabbed them

with a butcher's knife.

"Got no right in my father's house."

Fiction that grabs attention will keep people


(Taken from
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Marcella Glenn is a freelance writer who has written news reports, worked in an office, reviewed movies, published a newsletter and had her novel, "Grave Street House," published. She, too, is a Writing Consultant as well as a Personal Coach.

She has tried to go down some of life's other paths. A few paths were a mail-order business, the publishing of a pen-pal newsletter and selling plastic-ware. Only, she was back writing before realizing what she was doing.

She'd critique titles, paragraphs, news reports, that no one submitted to her. She'd stop herself, eventually. Marcella Glenn seemed to be enjoying the act of writing. This is how she knew writing was more than a hobby.

Let it be a lesson in your life too. Is writing calling your name? Or, acting? Teaching? Are you interested in engineering? Have the courage to go for your dreams. Simply, believe in yourself.

Meet Marcella Glenn on Twitter:

Grave Street House Interview
Authors Show Radio Announces Interview Lineup For Week Of February 16, 2009
Internet Radio features five new authors each week
February 16, 2009
Every week, The Authors Show, radio version features interviews with up and coming authors from around the world. This week The Authors Show radio features Marcella Glenn, author of  'Grave Street House'.

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