Do you struggle with acknowledgments for your inside book cover? Yes, me too. What I have to say isn’t always what I want to say.
Before we get swept away in crafting an exciting plot, we need to wait! Wait until we weigh down our main character.
Susan May Warren pointed out recently in a blog post on Novel Rocket how important it is that we connect with the characters. “Plot is interesting, but not unless it is about someone we care about.”
It hit me recently that I’ve been at this writing thing for 20+ years. I sold my first story—a Keys for Kids devotion—in March of 1997. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised, then, that the honeymoon with the writing craft is long past and some days my love for it falters.
Every story hinges on the premise, which is the idea that drives the story from beginning to end. The premise is a short blurb, often found on the back cover. The author may or may not write it out, but it is always there, at the very least in the author’s mind before and during the writing process.
How do you write a premise?
According to Joe Bunting at The Write Practice, a premise must contain three elements:
GET SOME SLEEP
This is a case of do what I say, not what I do. (I’m writing this post at 11:36 PM the day it’s supposed to go live.)
Most of us think more clearly and are far more productive if we’ve had adequate sleep. For some, that means getting eight hours every night. For others, six or seven may do nicely. Consistency, they say, is most important.
On ikeepsafe.org, they recommend that we “unplug two hours before bed. This gives your brain a chance to unwind and get ready for sleep.”
Writing involves not only good technique but also personal investment. It involves practice and learning.
An acquaintance said recently that practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect. In other words, if we continue to repeat our mistakes, we are not getting any closer to perfection.
Michael J. Fox said he doesn’t aim for perfection but for excellence.
When my son arrived in Lima, Peru, while on a mission trip some years ago, he was struck by the riot of colour in the city. His email said, “It looked like a kid had gone crazy with a box of crayons.” Without naming any colours, he had created a picture of the scene I will never forget.
As an artist as well as a writer, I know the importance of colour. Yet I’ve read a few manuscripts with a distinct lack of it. Rather than “fifty shades of gray,” perhaps we should be looking for fifty words to express exactly what we envision.
The hotel room I am staying in depresses me. Shades of brown from the bedspread to the carpet and drapes and even the beige wallpaper and gold-framed art are lacking an accent colour. But what is worse, a bland monochromatic colour scheme or loud colours of every shade shouting at you?
To add colour to our writing maybe we should paint it on as an accent rather than pour on the whole gallon. Writing through our five senses of smell, taste, touch, hearing, and sight adds pops of colour.