Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The Many C's of Writing

I went through my notes about writing to find a topic for this blog, and I came across a reminder to always remember the five Cs:

Character
Conflict
Change
Contrast (contrast in settings, between characters, in dialogue)
Caring (what the character cares for, and making the reader care for the character)

Those should be the main considerations when writing a story, but why stop with just five Cs? As I was writing this article, I thought of several other Cs that can help bring depth to our novels, such as:

Continuity (the hidden structure that relates everything in the story to the beginning)
Creativity (not settling for the first idea that comes to mind, thinking beyond clich├ęs or stereotypes, creating interesting twists and quirks)
Culture (the world your character lives in, not just the setting, but the times, conditioning, habits, expectations and societal pressures)
Connection (the seesawing between connection and disconnection that comprises most relationships)
Complement (contrast is good, but sometimes like likes like. Twins -- whether people, places or ideas -- will show a different facet of the story than two contrasting things. Three complementary ideas can create a theme, two or three mentions of an important point throughout a novel can underline that point)
Challenge (the challenge to find a new way of seeing the same old story, the challenge to write the story only you can write)
Compose (the way you write. All the other Cs are worthless if you can’t write readable prose)

I’m sure there are plenty of other Cs, but this is a start.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I.

1 comment:

Marian Allen said...

Excellent! A great bunch of elements to keep in mind. I especially like culture, complement and creativity as pushing beyond the first idea. A book's worth of good advice in one short post.

Marian Allen