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September 30, 2011


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Sheri Larsen

Fabulous interview! Loved the questions. Kris, I really enjoyed how you explained coming up with the opening hook/story problem in the first sentence, paragraph, or page. You definitely made me think. And I think you gave me enough direction to finally decide which of the three chapters I've written for my new YA novel to use as the opening chapter. :) I have been undecided for almost three weeks!


Sheri~I'm so happy I was able to help! That's great. Thanks so much for stopping by.

Donna Cummings

Sheri, I'm glad you enjoyed the interview. I had almost the same reaction about Kris' explanation of the story problem -- it really helped me clarify a story I was working on. So I had to have her on my blog to explain it some more!

Kris, thanks again for sharing this info. It's inspiring me to get back to the WIP today.


Another element that I didn't touch on is story question. It relates to the story problem, but is presented as a yes or no answer.

For Saving Redwind, the story question is: Will a normal eleven-year-old boy be able to save a world that only exists in his wallpaper.

For Camp Fail, the story question is: Will a Pee Wee hockey team be able to survive a raging forest fire?

For Twilight: Will a young girl be able to stay away and not get involved with a charming and beautiful vampire?

The story question is not clearly stated to the reader - meaning, you don't write it out for the reader to see. But, the writer should know what it is clearly so that by the end of the story, he/she can answer the question.

Donna Cummings

Kris, I like this too. Since I write romance, readers already know the couple will get together -- no spoiler there! But there is a question of HOW they will get to that point, since they have internal and external obstacles to overcome.

This will be helpful when I'm thinking about my story, and how I want to get my characters from Point A to Point B.

Liz Lipperman

Great interview, you two. Sorry I'm late to the party.

Kris, first off, that is a great picture of you. Okay on to my real comments. I love the idea of the first sentence setting up the story problem. It gives real clarity to knowing you've started in the right place.

As for the outline, as a true plotter, I can tell you I never follow mine exactly, either. So, I guess there is a little plotter/pantser in all of us.

Donna Cummings

Liz, you're not late to the party -- it never really ends. :) In fact, we're just getting warmed up to celebrate YOUR book release!

I agree that there's a mix of plotter/pantser in all of us. Even though I'm primarily a pantser, I do plot. . .in spurts, to keep me going. I think the writing process requires flexibility or we'd get bored with it. LOL


Liz~ Don't tell Christine this...but when I write out the detailed chapter outline, it does help if I haven't been writing consistently. But I'm a pantser at heart, so there's a bit of mind games for me to finish the story.

Donna Cummings

Kris, I had to laugh about the mind games needed to get you to finish the story. I think that's true of every writer. It's a wonder stories get written sometimes, with all the things we have to do to get our brains in gear!

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