Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A to Z Challenge: I is for Inner

Before I get into my next A to Z post, I want to give a HUGE shout out to my girl, my favorite CP, my writing soulmate, Lisa Regan, who just signed her very own BOOK DEAL with Sapphire Star Publishing!


Yes, Lisa is joining my ever expanding family at SSP.  Her first book, Finding Claire Fletcher will be released on December 6, 2012, and her second book, Aberration will released on June 6, 2013.  Both books, in the suspense/crime genre, are phenomenal reads!  I will post more about Lisa's remarkable journey after the A to Z Challenge is over.  In the mean time, please drop by Lisa's and give her a big hello and a pat on the shoulder.  She's waited for this moment for many years!

Now for the A to Z...  



Welcome to Day 9 of the A to Z Challenge

Many bloggers have chosen a theme for the A to Z.  My pledge since becoming a blogger is to post about writing, so for this event, I will being posting about what I've learned about writing a novel.

________

I is for Inner:  Situated or farther within; interior; more intimate, private, or secret; of or pertaining to the mind or spirit; not obvious; hidden or obscured.  (Dictionary.com)

This might seem like an ambiguous topic, but when it comes to creating a story, “inner” is of extreme importance.  First, there are two levels to every novel: the outer level or the plot and the inner level or the story itself.  For every outer action, motion, or goal, there is an inner reaction, emotion, and growth.  The outer notion to attain works with the inner notion to become

The protagonist’s inner journey deepens when the reader learns who he needs to be in order to be whole and why that is important. Why is he broken or wounded and how does that manifest itself in his behavior and attitude?  What will lead him to be whole again, to force him to change, or lead him to sacrifice?

Each major scene in a novel should have turning points with two dimensions.  The way in which things change that everyone understands is the outer turning point.  And the way in which the protagonist changes is the inner turning point.

A story’s greatest inner dimension is the inner conflict.  This is the protagonist’s fear and doubt brought to the surface, a battle between his two sides: reason and passion.  These two voices directly oppose each other.  He brings them with him into the story before it even begins.  It’s what’s holding him back.  It is this very contradictory battle that is so compelling and satisfying to the reader. 

Inner conflict is a result of the plot.  It’s what leads the protagonist to realize his goal is essential to his well-being.  It’s what makes him strive to attain his impossible goal.  Each obstacle he overcomes provides the protagonist the opportunity to learn more about himself.  In knowing his weaknesses and strengths, he is better able to transform himself. 

Though my own novel is a thriller and therefore plot-driven, it is the main character’s struggle with the villain he has become that is the most compelling.      

Do you focus equally on both the inner and outer aspects of your stories?  

20 comments:

Huntress said...

Congrats to Lisa!

Kyra Lennon said...

Fabulous post! I will be bookmarking this one!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Congratulations to Lisa!
I think I focus equally.
Funny, the more I read about writing the more I wonder if I did anything right.

Jack said...

Congrats to Lisa!

Whenever I'm writing, I focus primarily on the plot first and the character development second. During the edits is when I flesh out the characters, add a scene here and there to build them up and fill in the gaps between scenes. The way I write my scenes is that every scene leads to the next, like a natural order. Some of my betas noticed this. I never really realized this until they mentioned it. But if I were to remove any of my scenes, the book would not work as intended. Every scene is important.

Phew! Long comment :)

Lisa Regan said...

Awww . . . thank you so much!!!! I would never have come this far without you!

I think the inner and outer should parallel each other. I like it when the protagonist's inner struggle kind of mirrors the outer, external plot elements.

Kittie Howard said...

Congrats to Lisa! I think 'inner' has to kinda bubble to the surface a bit before it's ready to come out.

L.G.Smith said...

Yay Lisa!! Look at that smile on her face. So happy for her and you both.

And I've been writing in first person for my WIP and so I do tend to focus a little more heavily on the inner conflict. I love it though. Introspection is important for the growth of my character.

Nancy Stewart said...

Good, strong post. As a writer, I'm impressed with what you've written here.

Best wishes with the rest of the challenge!

Bish Denham said...

I do my best to focus on both the inner and outer journey. Sometimes one is easier than the other.

Beverly Diehl said...

If there isn't an inner conflict, you're just moving Barbie dolls around. That's one of the things that makes me not like a book, not knowing the inner needs, wants and likes of a character.

Jennifer Hillier said...

I love inner conflict. I write in a very close 3rd person POV which makes it a bit easier to get into my characters' heads and their inner turmoil.

I'm happy dancing for Lisa! And you, too, of course. Sigh. All is right with the world.

Empty Nest Insider said...

Congrats to Lisa! Both of you have lots to celebrate! Inner conflict does provide for a more meaningful story. I can't wait to read yours in October! Julie

Carrie Butler said...

Congratulations to Lisa! :)

Susan Roebuck said...

Congratulations to Lisa from me too! And thanks for the post on the protagonist's inner journey and its importance. It gives me a lot to think about, especially the turning points with two dimensions...

Donna K. Weaver said...

That's so exciting about Lisa!

Good choice for today's letter.

Jordan Baize said...

Thanks for the insightful information, Ms. Nancy. I found your blog through a comment you left on another blog I read, Rememorandum, so I though I would drop by. Congratulations on the publishing of your book. Exciting stuff! It's always been a dream of mine to do some writing.

Blessings,
JBaize

Joylene said...

Geeze, Nancy, you're doing an awesome job of showing the important elements of writing. Thanks! A huge congrats to Lisa. What a thrill for her and for you, her friend. I remember when my crit partner first landed a publisher. I followed shortly afterwards. We had been working together for over 10 years. Imagine. Having been published at the same time was a huge thrill. We stuck together thru thick and thin. Or in my case, much thinner.

Pixie said...

Congrats to Lisa & you've done a great post here Nancy :o) Good luck with the rest of the A-Z challenge :O)

Chuck said...

Thanks for turning me on to Lisa and her books...next to sci-fi the crime/suspense genre is my favorite to read.

Storykeeper said...

I enjoyed your post. I like the sense of rhythm that is in your writing. Thank you for stopping by my blog.