Oct. 8, 2011- Kansas Authors Club Annual Convention - Melissa Jagears

Workshop: Fiction Jargon, Rules, and Techniques for Beginners

Writing Techniques – How do you get the whole thing written? Books are rather long!




Snowflake Method

Read aloud



Writing Rules  -Have to know/understand the reason behind the rules and be able to use them before breaking them is a good idea. Trained artists became impressionists. They are tools to fix what doesn’t work; they are rescuers. Creativity can be limited by them so use them as a rewriting tool.

Show don’t tell

POV/  POV slips/  head hopping

Deep POV/   IM   /fictive dream

MRU –catalyst, IM, action, dialog (feeling, reflex, action/speech)

Story arc/character arc


Scene and Sequel –Goal, Conflict, Disaster/Reaction, Dilemma, Decision)

Sagging middles

Get in late/out early

Raise the stakes

Story world

Backstory dump

Hooks (beginning and ch. ends)

Action beats and speaker tags

Don’t follow your English teacher’s rules legalistically in fiction.

Weasel words

Echoes, overused words

White space


Purple prose


Adverbs and adjectives


Exclamation points, italics, semi-colons

(Bonus Bugaboos)

Is your frustration with the rules really because of art or is it laziness?

Publishing Jargon – How to get noticed if traditional publishing is the goal


Word count



One sheet/sell sheet

Sales handle


Query letter

Proposal, Synopsis



Craft Books and Blogs Recommended

Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell, The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne and King

Rachelle Gardener’s Blog, Query Shark Blog, Bookends LLC blog

My blog has a post on free fiction lessons gathered from around the Internet for beginners wanting to teach themselves. Look to the right of the webpage and find “Writing Mechanics” and then click “writing lessons.”