Build A Strong Story in 3 Steps

I’m off in an hour to do a major book signing for the three books of my Grace in Africa trilogy, but I’ve spent the morning hard at work on the book two of the Blessings in India trilogy.  Darting back and forth between India andAfrica really isn’t all that difficult.  The real challenge is to make certain I’m building a strong story with each book.

Thing is, I want people to care about my heart’s passion — 21st century Abolition.  But when someone picks up one of my books, that’s not what the reader wants.  The reader wants a rollicking good story. 

Have you ever faced that challenge?  Let me suggest a three-step solution:

  1. Start with a problem.
  2. Make that problem significant.
  3. Propel it to critical.

With The Triumph of Grace, book 3 of Grace in Africa, it goes something like this:

  • Grace is separated from her love, Cabeto.
  • Grace is sold as a slave.
  • Grace and Cabeto are running for their lives.

With The Faith of Ashish, book 1 of Blessings inIndia, it goes something like this:

  • Little Ashish suffers a severe beating and needs medical care.
  • Ashish’s father exchanges his freedom for his child’s life
  • Ashish’s family is enslaved forever.

 Strong story needs accelerating conflict.  Not necessarily violence, mind you.  But defiantly conflict.  Do that well and we won’t be able to put your book down!

“We don’t write what we know. We write what we wonder about.”

Richard Peck

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Build A Strong Story in 3 Steps

  1. Just what I needed to hear as I embark upon the writing of my newest story, a creative nonfiction work titled, “Charlie Bear: The True Story of a Headstrong Rescue Dog and What He Taught Me about Life, Love & Second Chances.” (subtitles are lengthy in this genre!) Your words remind me that even though this is a nonfiction book, creativity is needed to engage the reader first with a problem, then with a significance to that problem, and then a propelling forward of that problem to critical. Maybe these aren’t quite as heightened in nonfiction, but nevertheless, I believe they will make my writing better by keeping me on my toes. Thank you, Kay!

  2. Yay, B.J.! Can’t wait to read more about Charlie Bear!

  3. Elisa Michelle

    Great advice! It’s pretty simple, too, and I like simple advice.

  4. This sounds like the 3-act play format. I like the simplicity.

  5. You’re right, Susan. Same plotting approach.

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