Saturday, January 03, 2009

Tips from the Creative Muse

By Connie Vines

Good fiction starts with—and deals with—someone’s response to a threat. It is the nature of writers and readers to be fascinated by threat. Start that story with someone dangling from a mountainside, a truck careening down a mountain road (with your hero at the wheel), or your heroine’s first track race where she pitted against someone famous for their foul play.

Although many writers of action books have thrived by writing fiction dealing with literal, physical threat and danger. You don’t have to write about physical catastrophe to have fascinating threat to your story.

Think back in your own life. What were some of the times when you felt most scared, most threatened? Perhaps it was your first day of school. Or when your cherished grandparent died, or a divorce. It could have been your first speaking part in a church play. Or when you tried out for a sports team. Maybe your first date? When you changed schools or jobs? When you were engaged, or married?

All stressful events. All threatening, even though many of them were happy occasions.

Nothing is more threatening than change.

From this, it stands to reason that you will know when and where to start your story—page one, line one—when you identify the moment of change. Because change is where the story starts.

Your heroine climbs off that bus, suitcase in hand.

Your hero’s ranch is in desperate straights. His elderly aunt, how is running the house and takes care of his motherless children, has died.

Your heroine has run away to the streets of Portland when her stepfather tries to rape her and her mother won’t intervene.

Your choices are endlessly creative because they are uniquely your own. Good friends, bad clothes, explosive chemistry—the choice is yours—come on find that perfect opening hook!

Connie’s current release: THE WAY TO A RANCHER'S HEART, Hard Shell Word Factory. Visit her website:

or;;; or to order her novels and short stories.

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