Down and Dirty is my motto. No long, drawn out explanations for Liza. Succinct, to-the-point info on the craft of writing is all I can stand. Otherwise I feel like I am wasting time reading about writing rather than writing. So, concrete ideas and tips I can quickly put into practice suit me best. Here are some of the Down and Dirties I use–online and books:
Randy Ingermanson promotes the Snowflake Method of novel writing. There is a book and software, which I do not have. Still, this quick breakdown of scene structure–and the two-part scene and sequel building blocks–helped me immensely.
Doesn’t get down and dirtier than 10 minutes. Anthony Ehlers of Writers Write breaks it down with blocking out a scene with a summary, isolating the drama and action, and teasing out each plot point.
Editor Ellen Brock breaks down the 4 tiers of character depth–goal, motivation, deep dark belief, and origin of deep dark belief. All 4 tiers are necessary for a realistic character.
Freelance Editor Arlene Prunkl enumerates the 4 stages of character reaction—physiological/visceral, physical/reflexive, emotional/reflexive, and mental/rational—including the correct order, how to show and tell the reactions, and examples.
The Thinker Builder website owner/teacher Michael has developed character development techniques for his students. Like real students—3rd, 4th, 5th grade. I know. You’re thinking Liza’s crunk, and I can’t deny I am often a combo of crazy and drunk, but remember: Down and Dirty. That’s me. And Michael has put together quite good ideas for character development that adults can also use—such as the Why Game, the Neighborhood Map, the Timeline, the Imaginary Guest, the Memory Bag, etc.