208: Playing Fair with Plot

Playing Fair with Plot

Playing Fair with Readers

July 10, 2020

 

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PLAYING FAIR WITH PLOT

Good stories have lots of moving parts. Today, Jan Fields challenges us to get all the parts to come together in a way that works. Many writers understand that a good plot requires giving your main character something to want or need, and that the character then needs to do stuff. A story without action of any kind isn't much of a story and most writers get that pretty early in the process of learning to write fiction. And we also realize early on that a good story eventually fulfills the want or need for the main character. But there's a bit more to it than that, and one additional element is that you must play fair with the reader. Let’s look at what that means.

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Comments

MARCELLA S MEEKS
August 22, 2020

Dear Katy, Hear's a little something you might can use someplace... I have submitted five Christian children stories to Primary Treasure and Our Little Friend (Pacific Press) this month. One of those I had to omit 500 words - done! Thus far, Pacific Press has accepted and paid me for about nine or ten of my stories this year. I have found my niche in writing, my calling. I've denied myself this privilege all these years because I didn't think it important. I wanted to write romance/suspense and nonfiction, and I still do. But writing Christian material for children simply put wasn't my idea of what I thought 'the world needs now!' Writing Christian children's stories has it's own set of rules, problems, setbacks and you really need to be anchored in a religious faith of your choosing. My stories don't seem to fly anywhere else but I have found an editor who enjoys reading my stories. Ms. Seymour has been more than an editor. She has been my inspiration in helping me churn out Christian stories for children that are based on true stories. My husband is the minister of our church and as his wife, I see to the needs of our church in some way or another. Aside from that, I do love writing for children, and for the Lord's glory, so all in all, this is my high calling. Everything else fits right in. I have stories published in and scheduled to be published in Primary Treasure, and this month I submitted to Our Little Friend, for younger readers/. The pandemic threw me a curve ball awhile back, especially now with having to home school three grandsons virtually - an everyday task (five days a week) that rests upon my already tired shoulders. As a grandmother, little things that aren't a great thing can become a huge thing for some of us. This month, I decided to turn that curve ball into stories for children and submitted my first story to Our Little Friend called Mommy, Do I Have The Virus? I don't know if it will be accepted or not but we shall see... My story is based on the fears that children have when things are unsettling. This week, my two grandsons and I found four starving puppies that someone dumped off at a local creek area. We called the area Rescue and they drove over a hundred miles to get the puppies and find foster homes for them. I turned this story into a Christian story called Levy and Steven to the Rescue. My story is already on its way to Primary Treasure this week in hopes of landing a permanent home. Sometimes, huge things that seem to be a burden aren't as great as we may think. If we could, for one moment find the good in our world, good or bad, and salvage the goodness and use it for God's glory, what a blessing it is. My grandsons are a great part of my life and I am blessed to have them in mine. In all honesty, they are my number one fans, and they also offer me so many adventures and stories I can write about. Besides, they keep me happy and young and we share our adventures and stories and laughter together. Add a sprinkle of God's love and goodness to taste. You never know who will receive a blessing from something you've written. Marcella

MARCELLA S MEEKS
August 20, 2020

Dear Katie, I have sbmitted three children stories to Primary Treasure this month, and have received one back already, asking me to cut it down to five pages and she'd publish it. I am excited and will be getting it edited by the weekend so I can get it emailed back to Pacific Press. They have already accepted eleven of my stories this year. I have found my niche in writing and will pursue this and see where I end up. Writing Christian children's stories has it's own set of rules, problems, setbacks and all that but it also has it's rewards as well. My stories don't seem to fly anywhere else but I have found an editor who enjoys reading my work and that accounts for a lot. She trusts my word, my stories and don't mind cutting me a check after each acceptance. Like I said, the rewards are great. And I love writing for children, and for the Lord's glory. The pandemic threw me a curve ball awhile back, especially now with having to home school three grandsons virtually - an everyday task (five days a week) that rests upon my already tired shoulders. As a grandmother, little things that aren't a great thing can become a huge thing for some of us due to health reasons and that kind of thing. I have a point and I am working my way there! Sometimes, huge things that seem to be a burden aren't as great as we may think. If we could, for one moment find the good in everything, we may just come out ahead. My grandsons are a great part of my life and I am blessed to have them in mine. In all honesty, they are my number one fans, and they also offer me so many adventures and stories I can write about. Besides, they keep me happy and young and we share so many laughters together. And adding a sprinkle of HUMOR or laughter may just make a difference in someone else's lives. I never thought about that before but I have always heard that laughter is good for the sole! So I think in all my stories from now on, even my Christian stories, I will find a little humor, sprinkle it to taste and see how my story ends up! Thanks again for the reminder. Marcella

MARCELLA S MEEKS
August 15, 2020

I've never been a funny person and it's hard applying humor in my stories because, as a whole I am more serious minded. And my stories comes from my heart. I've applied funny stuff inmy stories but I never classified any of it as humor. Question: if you are serious minded, how can you sound funny in your writing? I've told funny stories and made people laugh but they weren't necessarily my stories. You mentioned COVID -19. It has affected so many lives - not because any of us had it but being on lock down caused a lot of tension this year. We went on vacation and had to turn back a week early because of restrictions. It was hard keeping my three grandsons upbeat but we found ways to do things and social distance while we were out and about. But that I can write about easily. Strange. A few years ago when Hurricane Ike was in the gulf, we were down at Galveston TX for a two week vacation. We were leaving before the hurricane was to come ashore. My daughter and I was headed to Walmart one afternoon to get supplies and there was this dude on a ladder painting a large sign on his house. He was in nothing but thongs up an 8 foot ladder. I slammed on the breaks so we could take a second look... He had painted this sign: GO AWAY IKE, TINA'S ALREADY GONE! It wasn't so much the sign that caught our attention - it was the almost naked gorgeous tanned man up a ladder in thongs! I wrote a short piece for the local newspaper and it was published - lot of people thought that was funny - it was at the time! Being humorous is hard for me because I seldom am. Laughter is good for the soul so I will take your advice and try to add some humor to my stories! Thanks for another great podcast.

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