Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Book Based Action Plan DIY MFA #3

On Monday, I posted a couple of  reading lists. The most helpful thing I learned all last semester (besides the kick in the butt of a monthly deadline, because some of you know I've been off the bandwagon for a while) was the action plan.

If you scroll down to the "subgenres" list, those books including my self chosen book of Beastly were used to create an action plan in my manuscript. This is how the action plan works. It helps if you can self-evaluate your manuscript before you start reading. What are some weaknesses you need to overcome? Make a note of that. Read 5 books in your genre. (The ones I used are all romance books. If you're a YA writer, you may want to use only YA even though it may still be romance). What do they have in common? That's something the market expects. Did you have a couple of favorites? What are the things those authors did really well? Chances are if it has become of favorite of yours, it has become someone else's favorite too and there is a reason for it. Out of all of this find five steps you can take to improve your WIP. Write them down. Justify to yourself how they will help make your book more marketable. If you're hoping to make a living--or even a royalties check--writing, marketability is the key. It doesn't matter how strong your manuscript is, if no one is willing to buy it.

My action steps were:

  1. Pacing (but if you've read the Peace books, you know I can handle pacing, so my action here was to maintain).
  2. Characterization--The hero has a redemption arc, and is one of the most hated people in history--literally. He's not likable in the opening scenes, but he has to be relateable. I found a couple of specific lines in the first chapter of Beastly that gave me an idea of how to accomplish this.
  3. Setting-- I don't care about this. To me description slows pacing. So by default I'm not good at it. My action here is to add one line of description for each new location. This shouldn't be soo much that it slows pacing.
  4. Showing-- The freakin rock in every writer's shoe. My action here is to find 3 places I can show not tell in each chapter.
  5. Layering- Flowers from the Storm was a beautiful book. It was so long but still one of my favorites and reminded me of Beauty and the Beast. The most important lesson I learned from that book was the art of layering. There was so much going on, so many conflicts, all overlapping it made for a good story. I thought I could layer my story better by adding subplots with similar themes to the main theme.

1 comment:

  1. This is sweet.
    I need to start to do this. I mean I read as a writer, that's for sure (I can't shut it off), but I like how you broke this down. I just bought FLOWERS FROM THE STORM after reading a snippet from Amazon. I did say I wanted to read more historical romance in 2016. And thanks for the reading list: the only book I read from it is PRIDE & PREJUDICE and that isn't even my favourite Austen read.

    I love this DIY series, keep it up. It's definitely helping me.

    And Happy New Year!