Wednesday, February 24, 2010

WWW - Q & A Session

I think once a month, I'm going to have a Q & A free-for-all session where you can ask any writing questions you want and I'll do my best to answer them. We can talk about craft, about submissions, about dealing with editors, about querying agents—you ask the question, I'll do my best to answer them.

Also, if you're also a published writer and someone asks a question you'd like to address, don't worry that you're stepping on my toes if you answer it. I'd like the Q & A to function as a group discussion. Everybody dives right in and starts communicating.

But remember—if you don't ask questions, this is going to be the most boring Wednesday Writer's Workshop post ever. So think up some questions and start asking!


LindaC said...

Good evening, Paula. Have you heard of the Rule of Three, regarding characters? What is it? Also, do you use archetypes when you build characters?


Paula said...

I've never heard of the rule of three. But here's what I found when I did a little Googling:

Basically, it's the idea that things that come in threes meets some sort of inherent need for order or completion in storytelling--three little pigs, three bears, three wishes, three blind mice etc.

It may be why trilogies are so popular. ;)

Now that I think about it, I do often write in threes---three red herrings, three major clues, three big turning points. I don't plan it that way, but I think it speaks to the idea that over the history of mankind, the number three has represented a sense of completion. Goes for music as well--three chords can create a song. Three notes create a chord.

As for archetypes, I do use them, although I do it pretty loosely. When I'm preplanning books, I have a list of archetypes I choose from for the hero, the heroine and the villain. It helps me focus on the type of person he or she is, what their attitudes toward life are, etc. It's a sort of shorthand to help me stay focused as I'm developing the character.

Of course, sometimes, the archetype changes as I get to know the characters better in the writing.