Writers Who Read
#4

7 November 2018

Agenda



  • Why We're Here

  • Literary Forensics
  •     - What do I bring?
  •     - What do I feel?
  •     - What do I notice?
  •     - What do I want to learn?

  • Next Month's Reading & Study


Why We're Here

We Writers want to improve our craft

by Reading like a Writer

through Literary Forensics training

we learn from each other

Roundtable Rules

Always refer back to the book

We practice active listening & serendipity

Every feeling and observation is valid...
but not every conclusion

Always refer back to the book

Literary Forensics

 

What do I bring?

What do I feel?

What do I notice?

What do I want to learn?

Literary Forensics

 

What do I bring?

What do I feel?

What do I notice?

What do I want to learn?

Introductions

What do I bring
to this book?

Literary Forensics

 

What do I bring?

What do I feel?

What do I notice?

What do I want to learn?

What do I feel?

What in the book elicited that feeling?

Every feeling and observation is valid...
but every conclusion should be questioned

We practice serendipity
- nothing is too crazy

Always refer back to the book

Literary Forensics

 

What do I bring?

What do I feel?

What do I notice?

What do I want to learn?

What do I notice?


  •    • Language and Grammar

  •    • Context

  •    • Point of view

  •    • Character & character development

  •    • Horizontal structure

  •    • Pacing

  •    • Layering of themes

  •    • Overall effect
  • Word

  • Sentence

  • Paragraph

Literary Forensics

 

What do I bring?

What do I feel?

What do I notice?

What do I want to learn?

Origin - Stats

  • Marketing: Suspense, Technothrillers
  • Genre: Realistic Present-Day, Archplot, Long-Form
  • Print Pages: 463; Word count: 145,068
  • Reading Grade: 10th; Avg. wds/sent.: 13.45
  • Lexical Density: 53.31; Flesch Reading Ease: 59.12
  • POV: Everybody; Person: 3rd-person Omniscient; Tense: Past

  • Publish date: October 3, 2017
  • Publisher: Anchor
  • Seller: Random House
  • First Printing: 2,000,000
  • 7 possible Plot Types:
    • Overcoming the Monster
    • Rags to Riches
    • The Quest
    • Voyage and Return
    • Comedy
    • Tragedy
    • Rebirth

  • 4 possible Story Types:
    • Milieu
    • Idea
    • Character
    • Event

Techniques that seem to Work

Flatter Your Readers
  • Here Be TRUTH
  • NAME DROP like crazy
  • Only the Bestest
  • Aclaimed, Renowned
Make it Easy for Them
  • Quick characterization sketches
  • Simple motivations, unevolved
  • No job deviation, no outside lives
  • Clear STATUS between characters
  • Deference to KNOWLEDGE
  • Politeness, civility
  • Adjectives on EVERYTHING
  • WIKIPEDIA every reference
  • REPEAT TROPES often
Quick-cut excitement
  • Very short chapters
  • Many, many, many POVs
  • EVERYTHING shocks, amazes
  • Lockstep Cause-Effect
  • LOTS of foreshadowing
  • Clifhanger chapter endings

Some Dan Brown Clunkiness

Plot gears always visible
  • Every action lands as planned
  • Reactions like billiard balls
  • Wikipedia-like knowledge
  • Claravoyance -- oops!
Poor scene choreography
  • (top 100!) 'blank stares'
  • EVERY Emotion dialed to 11
  • Awkward physical movement
  • Contradictions
Groan-inducing situations
  • Corny geek jokes
  • Children's logic (X = IX+I)
  • That stupid watch
  • Creepy Langdon-Ambra moments
Poor form
  • Heavy-handed axe-grinding
  • Too much backstory vs. action
  • POV often missing [Ch 22, 92]
  • Climax too early - 72%
  • The Dan Brown NERC: Name, Explain, Reaffirm, Congratulate

. . . and finally . . .

The PowerPoint Presentation that Captivated the WORLD . . . Really?

POV

Word Cloud

Literary Forensics

 

What do I bring?

What do I feel?

What do I notice?

What do I want to learn?

Writers Who Read: Coming Up

December 5: Asymmetry - Lisa Halliday (USA, 2018)



Thanks to: Boulder Writers Alliance

Contact Gary: hello@garyalanmcbride.com
Literary Forensics Resources

Happy
Sleuthing!