Cool phrases

I’ve been listening to some workshops on CD, since I’m not riding with my mom anymore. I’ve been hearing some phrases that are ringing bells with me.

The first is “error in thinking.” This describes your hero/heroine’s internal conflict. Your character expects certain things to happen because of events in his/her past, and their expectations are false. For example, your heroine’s former lover cheated on her, so her current way of thinking is that all men cheat. This is her error in thinking. Isn’t that just the clearest thing ever? Ding, ding, ding!

The other is “diminishing returns.” This was in a workshop with Lauren McKenna where she was talking about revising too much, and eventually you get “diminishing returns,” meaning you’re taking value out of the story instead of adding it. Ding ding ding!

What are some phrases you’ve heard that clarified thinking for you?

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Anonymous said...

Mar, the phrase that always stuck in my mind was the one an editor friend told me years ago, when I first started writing with a goal toward publication...he said, "kill your children." By that he meant, no matter how much you LOVE that part you just wrote, no matter how much you are convinced it's the best thing to come out of you in weeks, no matter the fact that you love it like you love your own child---if it doesn't work for the project, the book, the scene, kill it. Save it in another file if you have to, but kill it. This was the same man who told me to "be mean to your characters." Make them suffer, cry, hurt, do really mean things to them in the course of the story that you wouldn't wish on your vilest enemy. That's what the reader is looking for...a black moment that's really, truly black, that makes them suffer along with the hero or heroine...then give them redemption, reward, love, or whatever is in store. It will mean and feel more because of what the characters have endured.

I never forgot these little gems. I loved yours, Mar. I'm packing them along with these, to keep in mind.


Anonymous said...

That "diminishing returns" one is a good one.

MJFredrick said...

I've killed a lot of my children in Hot Shot. Sigh.

Colleen Gleason said...

And you're a stronger woman for it, aren't you Mary????


MJFredrick said...

One would hope, Colleen!


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