Now It’s Available


PowerElementsOfStoryStructure1000I’ve been having a lot of fun seeing the beautiful cover Rachel Marks designed for Power Elements Of Story Structure floating around on the Internet. Now at last I can tell you it is available for purchase. It’s an 89-page ebook for Kindle priced at $2.99. Here’s the descriptive blurb on Amazon:

Power Elements Of Story Structure, first in the series Power Elements Of Fiction, provides practical help for beginning writers as well as reminders for seasoned novelists. This informative writing manual addresses important elements such as where to start a novel, openings that hook readers, backstory, creating tension, foreshadowing, and much more. Together with intermittent writing exercises, the instruction serves as a concise guide for writing a novel.

“Anyone dreaming of writing a novel needs this book as a guide.” – Sally E. Stuart, founder of the Christian Writers’ Market Guide

“In Power Elements of Story Structure, Rebecca LuElla Miller has distilled the wide variety of instruction and opinions about plot and structure into one pithy and focused volume.” – Carrie Padgett, freelance editor and author of Short, Sweet & Sassy

Power Elements of Story Structure by Rebecca LuElla Miller is a reassuring overview of the main techniques necessary to write a strong and page-turning novel. With clear examples, exercise prompts and focused chapters, Miller provides a fine resource for both the beginning writer and the experienced author.” – Michelle Ule, NYTimes best selling author of three historic novellas and one contemporary novel.

“In Power Elements of Story Structure, Rebecca LuElla Miller has written an excellent resource for writers. Beginning writers will learn basics, from planning a novel to story structure to strong, satisfying endings—all tools to help hone their skills. Veteran authors will receive a refresher course that will help maintain excellence in the writing craft. I look forward to the next installments in this Power Elements of Fiction series.” – Sharon K. Souza, author of Unraveled

“I love books for writers, and I’ve just discovered another valuable resource in Rebecca LuElla Miller’s new book Power Elements of Story Structure. Add it to your library!” – Nick Harrison, senior editor, Harvest House Publishers and author of Power in the Promises and Magnificent Prayer

Now I’m looking forward to receiving some reviews on Amazon. At least I think I am. 😉

Cover Reveal – My Writing Instruction E-book


For some time now I’ve been working to put together a short e-book about writing fiction, based on my blog posts at this site and at my editing site: Rewrite, Reword, Rework. This is the first in a series of books I’ve entitled Power Elements Of Fiction.

I’m planning to release Power Elements Of Story Structure this week, but wanted to let you see the wonderful cover now which artist and author Rachel Marks designed for it.

PowerElementsOfStoryStructure1000

Watch here for details about when and where the book will be available.

More Mount Hermon, 2010


If you’ve been around A Christian Worldview of Fiction for any length of time, you already know I think the Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference is topnotch. Every time I go, I learn more about writing and the business end of publishing, meet more writers, and get more inspiration.

This past conference was no exception.

I arrived a day early, having driven up from SoCal with Rachel Marks and Merrie Destefano (yes, the award winners!) That night I attended the Early Bird session taught by Austin Boyd (no picture! What was I thinking??)

The full conference started the next day with the noon meal (you can hardly call the abundant food provided by Mount Hermon “lunch”), followed by separate orientations for the first timers and the alumni. Author James Scott Bell taught the session for the latter group. About half way through, he invited agent Steve Laube to join him. They held an interesting dialogue about agent stuff. 😉

I had the privilege of sitting at Steve’s table for dinner that night for the purpose of asking him if he ever looks at a work he’s rejected a second time (he does). I was impressed by how much help he gave each of us, even those just getting started who aren’t close to the agent stage. He brainstormed ideas with everyone, listened to projects, and asked intelligent questions.

Later I thought to ask him for an appointment. When we met the last full day of the conference, he was just as engaged, and gave me some helpful suggestions. A+ for Steve Laube. 😀

A good part of my conference time was spent in Rebeca Seitz‘s Major Morning Track—Painless, Purposeful Publicity. I took one picture which is good for blackmail, but this one gives you the real Rebeca. As head of Glass Road Public Relations, Rebeca was full of information about the promotion side of publishing. She had stats and studies, anecdotes and outlines.

I’m nowhere near this part of the process, but I like to be informed. Rebeca gave us loads of info, all from the perspective of what an author can do.

I’ll be honest—there’s so much that at one point I thought my only hope, should I become a published author, would be to hire a PR firm. But that, of course, is crossing the stream before I know if I need to get to the other side.

More on Mount Hermon another day.

Back from Mount Hermon


So the big news is, the two women I rode with to the Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference both won awards—two of eight offered.

Rachel Marks, on the left, won the True Grit Award, described as honoring a writer who perseveres under personal difficulty. Rachel is a cancer survivor. In the last year or so she had two surgeries with chemotherapy sandwiched between. By God’s grace and mercy, she is doing well and has continued to write.

Merrie Destefano, on the right, won the Mount Hermon Writer of the Year Award. Besides her many past accomplishments in the business, including her work as the editor of Victorian Homes magazine, she sold a novel to a general market publisher that will be releasing later this year.

I can’t tell you how happy I am for them both. What a fun/wonderful Awards event that was. More on the conference later.

Writing Fiction—Planning the Truby Way


Anyone who hangs around fiction writers or our blogs soon deciphers that there are supposedly two types of authors—seat of the pants-ers and outliners—though James Scott Bell in Plot and Structure (Writer’s Digest) identified a third sort of in between writer.

I’ve identified myself as the latter, at least when I write fiction. When I journal (or blog), I definitely write on the fly. For this blog, I pick a topic and pour out my thoughts as they come. When I journal, I don’t even pick a topic!

On the other hand, when I write non-fiction formally—the articles I did for Victorian Homes, for example—I carefully research and plan.

Fiction seems to fall in between.

But I’m currently dreaming up a stand alone fantasy to write when I complete The Lore of Efrathah (I’m revising the last book, now titled Against Blood and Fire.) I had one plot point and no characters, though I knew the story would take place in Efrathah before Lore. But who would it be about, what would it be about, what would happen?

No thoughts, but no hurry either. Until a few weeks ago, when I was in Borders with our little group of SoCal speculative fiction writers (Mike Duran, Merrie Destefano, Rachel Marks, and me), and Rachel pulled The Anatomy of Story (Faber and Faber) by John Truby from the shelf.

I was excited about the book because it put a premium on theme, something few other writing books seem to do. But once I had my copy, I realized it was more than a book that discusses the elements of stories. The subtitle is accurate: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller.

Well, I don’t know about the “master” part, but I do know that by setting out to follow the steps, I am building a story. And the great part, as Truby says, it is organic. It isn’t a formula where you plug in character type A in slot B, then fifty pages later shift to Act II.

All that to say, I am becoming a firm believer in plans. I’ve run across several blogs/writer comments in which writers are obviously well into their story and they do not know what will happen.

One said his character was accused of a crime, of which he was innocent. Or not, because he did have a good motive to commit said villainous deed.

Well … doesn’t it MATTER early on if your character is a villain or a hero? I mean, is it OK to switch part way through a story? Or will the author, of necessity, have to go back over that earlier ground and rewrite, putting in the appropriate foreshadowing and character attributes of a villain?

Either way, it seems so unnecessary to me if an author would sit down and think the story through first.

Sure, changes happen as a story unfolds. The character must act in a way that is consistent, so in a given scene, the appropriate and necessary action may be one the author had not anticipated before hand. Hence new possibilities open up.

But using Truby’s organizational structure, there is a framework that serves to hold the story in place so it doesn’t wander.

Here are some pertinent quotes:

Most writers don’t use the best process for creating a story. They use the easiest one …

The writer comes up with a generic premise, or story idea, that is a vague copy of one that already exists …

He thinks of the opponent and minor characters as separate from and less important than the hero. So they are almost always week, poorly defined characters.

When it comes to theme, our writer avoids it entirely so that no one can accuse him of “sending a message” …

He comes up with a plot and a scene sequence based on one question: What happens next? …

Often he organizes his plot using the three-act structure, an external imprint that divides the story into three pieces but doesn’t link the events under the surface. As a result, the plot is episodic, with each event or scene standing alone.

Instead of the above, Truby says the process he is detailing will allow you, the author to

construct your story from the inside out … With each chapter [of The Anatomy of Story], your story will grow and become more detailed, with each part connected to every other part.

This latter is exactly what I’ve experienced so far. I think I’m being won over. I’m not outlining. I’m not filling out character charts. I’m thinking and answering questions and imagining and recording in a precise way what each new layer of my story will become. I hope. 😕

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