Monday, 1 February 2010

First Fifty Pages - The Indispensable E's

First, let me start off by saying, I love Mondays and the beginning of a new month. It's like time starts over. Weekly and monthly 'fresh starts'. When they coincide, even better. I have 100 pages left to edit on my code mystery novel before I put it away for a couple of months and then I be starting the next round of edits.

Second, in an effort to be more aware of my surroundings, I notice two background shots on the latest episode of Chuck. Pic 1: Underpants. etc? I've always wished there were more of these stores. What's the etc? Pic 2: On a shirt. Taken from Battlestar Galactica it's an expletive...sorry 'bout that.

My next WIP will be a comedy/business novel entitled: Blondie Brilliance vs. The Titans. I've already got a few chapters complete but I want to finish the novel.

The premise? Blondie Brilliance - a brown-haired, not too bright young woman  - receives from her evil in-laws for a wedding gift, a failing furniture company named Titan Furniture. But, to the in-law's chagrin, she goes about trying to make the company work... with some funny situations along the way.

Okay, now to some writing advice. What to make sure you accomplish with the first fifty pages of your story. Here is a checklist:

  1. Establish your heroic character
  2. Endear your heroic character 
  3. Entrap that heroic character inextricably in central conflict

Now a command: Enjoy your day!


JournoMich said...

Oh, I love this post! You established your character, endeared yourself to me and I'm not sure about entrapping yourself in conflict--unless your conflicted about shopping at Underpants, etc.!

Nevertheless, I was cracked up and educated in the same post. Thanks!


Anonymous said...

Great advice and great story idea. Humor is so hard - not sure I could do it. :)


from the desk of a writer

Ann Elle Altman said...

Michele, glad to crack you up. I'm glad you liked the post...trying to be more personable.

Corra, glad you liked it. I've not done humor much, it's not going to be role on the floor laughter.


Lyla Campbell said...

The third "E" is the most important, and the hardest one to execute. Without tourturing a character in some way shape or form, they can't develop.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Great advice and story, Ann! :)


Unknown said...

Congrats on 100 followers! (I was 101).
My wife was pointing out Underpants etc. on the show. We want to shop there too!

I like your 3 E's.
i would add some more:
Entice your hero with an opportunity
Endanger your hero with hard choices
Enunciate your hero's goals clearly

What do you think?

Also I wonder how "not too bright" is endearing...then she turns the company around. Sounds a bit contradictory...interesting to see how that plays out.

TirzahLaughs said...

Well people who seem not to bright often have a childlike sense of wonder about the world.

It makes them endearing.

Or just plain stupid.

Depends on teh character.


Ann Elle Altman said...

Lyla, thanks for the comment, and I agree. Sometimes we have great characters who do nothing really interesting.

Elizabeth, I don't know where these stories come from but I hope I can pull it off.

Iapetus999, I like your E's... and my character doesn't really view herself as 'Brilliant' like her name but in the end, she smart where it counts... hopefully that comes across.

Tirz, yeah, it's mostly a play on words with her name... but no biggie.


J.L. Campbell said...

Good advice. Sometimes I wonder about the endearing part when my character is closer to being exasperating rather than liked by the reader.

Ann Elle Altman said...

Joy, If the reader relates on any level, you've succeeded. I like your characters BTW.

Unknown said...

This is an outstanding post which I found very helpful. Thanks so much. :)

Ann Elle Altman said...

KD, Thank you very much for your kind comment.