Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Story Equation

with guest Rachel Hauck.

Working on my 25th novel, I feel less of an expert on novel writing than ever. How is it the things I teach seem to elude me when I write?

Before starting a novel, I spend about a month dreaming and developing the characters.

Whether you’re a pantser or a plotter, knowing who you are writing about from the start is paramount.

Readers don’t really care about plots. They care about characters. The depth and detail in which you create your protagonists will determine the details of your plot.

Being writing partners with Susan May Warren for the past twelve years has taught me a lot.

We’ve matured together in our knowledge of the craft, but Suz is a master at putting ideas together in a teachable form.

For years we’ve taught the Lie Journey then formulated it into the Story Equation. Better known as the SEQ.


I never start a book without this little gem.



This graphic is the basic Story Equation. We’ve added are a few more “dots” along the circle but this basic formula should inspire your creative genius.

I know, it doesn’t look like much of an equation — I call it the story cookie — but the factors (ha! like how I did that?) you find here will help you develop strong characters to drive a compelling plot.

As you can see, the wound, lie, and fear surround the Dark Moment.

The Dark Moment is that “thing” that happened in the past to your protagonist. OR something she did in the past. This moment and the wound it created is what will heal in your protagonist as the story progresses.

The DM can be anything from parents divorcing, abuse, physical trauma to a broken heart, to neglect or outright rebellion.

The Dark Moment must be specific, relatable and poignant. 

Usually, the best Dark Moment happened to the protagonist when she was a child. Children cannot process events like teens or adults so trauma impacts them significantly. It changes their world view. 

 Death, divorce, abuse, seeing something they shouldn’t are all good DM launches. But remember, it must be specific, relatable and poignant.

This DM then forms a wound. From the wound, a lie develops.

One of my characters, Susanna, from Once Upon A Prince was a young girl when her parents divorced. Until then, they fought bitterly, throwing plates and four letter words at each other.

During these episodes, Susanna hid in her closet and pretended it was a beautiful garden.
As a result, she developed a wound: her parents did not love her or each other. Her world was unsafe.

This wound became a lie: she must take care of herself. No one else will.

Which matured into a fear: she could not let go of her securities, her plans, her very ordered life.

She grew up to become a landscape architect and a planner. She wanted her world orderly and safe. So when her long-time boyfriend breaks up with her, she is thrown back into those turbulent childhood wounds and lies.

Make sense?

I’m skimming the surface a bit with Susanna’s story but you can see how the DM from her childhood formed her thinking and impacted her world view.

These elements hold your character back from realizing her dreams. (P.S. You need to do this with your hero as well.)

However! The Secret Desire is dying to be released and realized. 

But it’s buried deep in your protagonist’s soul. It’s the thing she longs for — the hope of God has given her — more than anything but is terrified to attempt. 

The inciting incident awakens this desire and it comes knocking. “I want out. I want out. I want out.”

Make the secret desire the opposite of the fear. Again, the more specific you make these elements, the more dynamic the character. 

So there’s your basic Story Equation: Dark Moment of the past is an event that creates a wound which leads to a lie which develops into a fear. But the God-given secret desire is about to change everything.



This journey formulates the epiphany and a profound change for your character by the end of the book. 

Now, check out my new release The Writing Desk to see if I accomplished this in any way shape or form. (Snicker!)

Do you have any questions about SEQ? Can you see your story fitting into The Story Equation?

To find learn more about the SEQ visit www.mybooktherapy.com

Blessings!

Rachel 



Know your character
SEQ
Know what they want
What the story is about
Goals
Fears
Wound


  • Find the through line - Robert McKee ( a theme or idea that runs from the beginning to the end.) Knowing your character and what drives them and you can define it in one sentence, then you know your character and you know your story.

Examples:

Dining with Joy

She wants to win her dead father’s approval. So she takes on his show. She thinks she wants OUT of the show but she can’t until she discovers how much he loved her.
 
Benjamin Martin in the Patriot 

Wanted to keep his family safe. Peace. It drove him. So war comes to his front yard and demands he participate to GET what he wants.  

  • ACTION

Keep the characters moving and talking. Not musing in their heads.


  • EXTERNAL PLOT

What is going on in the world around them? 
It can't be Nothing. 
Have to enter into their NOW world. What’s going on now?


  • INTERNAL WANT V EXTERNAL OPPOSITION

What do they want and what’s keeping them from it.

Examples:

Dining with Joy


She wanted out of the show. She couldn’t cook. But people were counting on her. Her family. The show. Some pleasure in having fame. And to keep her promise to her Daddy.

The Proposal (the movie)

She wants to stay in America to keep her job. He wanted a promotion. Each scene builds around these overall WANTS. Something keeps the protagonist from getting what they want.

Opening scene: Drew’s tension. He is late for work. The whole opening shows Drew’s want and tension. He’s late. He spilled coffee. 

Her opening is she has to fire Bob is and called a Bee-ach. There’s tension in how she’s in command. But when she’s told she is being deported, which she bought on herself, we get how devastating this is to her. Story tension must drop down and create scene tension

What they want + obstacles = scene tension

  • DIALOG

Words count.
Mean things.
The dialog has to tell the story.
“Tell the story between the quotes.”
  Use the dialog to up the tension.
Say what they’re thinking.


  • PACING
Keep the pacing up. Don’t spend too much time in detail. Or describing things. 
Don’t write in circles.

  • DROP THE BOMB

Dining with Joy


  • SHORT SENTENCES

Short, choppy sentences with active verbs signal tension. Think of the text mirroring your protagonist's racing heart. Long, meandering sentences filled with adjectives and adverbs imply a relaxed pace. Varying the format of the text will shoot tension into key moments of each scene.


  • MAKE IT PERSONAL
The more personal the better. 


  • DETAILS
Make it as personal as possible.
Specifics!!


  • SEQ
The reason you want to discover your characters and your story is because you want to know where you're going so you CREATE the right tension. It is a more efficient use of your time.


Leave a comment today to win a copy of The Writing Desk. Two winners. One copy of The Writing Desk is up for grabs in ebook and one in print. Winner announced in the next Weekend Edition.



From the New York Times bestselling author of The Wedding Dress comes a new captivating novel of secrets, romance, and two women bound together across time by a shared dream.


Tenley Roth’s first book was a runaway bestseller. Now that her second book is due, she’s locked in fear. Can she repeat her earlier success or is she a fraud who has run out of inspiration?


With pressure mounting from her publisher, Tenley is weighted with writer’s block. But when her estranged mother calls asking Tenley to help her through chemotherapy, she packs up for Florida where she meets handsome furniture designer Jonas Sullivan and discovers the story her heart’s been missing.


A century earlier, another woman wrote at the same desk with hopes and fears of her own. Born during the Gilded Age, Birdie Shehorn is the daughter of the old money Knickerbockers. Under the strict control of her mother, her every move is decided ahead of time, even whom she’ll marry. But Birdie has dreams she doesn’t know how to realize. She wants to tell stories, write novels, and make an impact on the world. When she discovers her mother has taken extreme measures to manipulate her future, she must choose between submission and security or forging a brand new way all on her own.


Tenley and Birdie are from two very different worlds, but fate has bound them together in a way time cannot erase.

Special Bonus!! "The USA Today HEA blog unveiled the cover of Second Chances, a romance anthology arriving Sept. 12 from Romance Writers of America and featuring stories from some of your favorite authors. They're also sharing an excerpt from Rachel Hauck’s included story, Love Is in the Air." Check it out here!



Rachel Hauck is an award winning, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author.

Her book The Wedding Dress was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times. She is a double RITA finalist, a Christy and Carol Award Winner.

Rachel sits on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers and is the comical sidekick to Susan May Warren at My Book Therapy. She is a worship leader and speaker.

A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, Rachel is a devoted Ohio State football fan. She lives in sunny central Florida with her husband and ornery cat.

121 comments :

  1. For me as a reader, the more real a hurt/lie/wound is (dark moment), the more I can relate to the story & characters. Then you take those characters on a healing journey throughout the book, makes me really, really LOVE it. Depth, emotion, layers, real struggles, and healing are what I long for in a novel.

    Messy, imperfect lives meet a perfect God who can piece it all back together to make something beautiful. Makes me think of a mosaic, broken pottery made into a beautiful bistro table (or something equally useful) :-) God's in the re-purposing/recycling business!

    Rachel, I have not had the pleasure of reading your books yet. I have so many reader friends who adore your writing, so I know I'm in for a treat ;-) Please toss my name in for a paperback copy, thanks so much! I can do ebook as I have a Kindle, though my preference is the real deal :-)

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    1. Trixi, love your thoughts. So true how messy life can be then God breaks in and chsnges everything. Thanks for stopping by!! Xo

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    2. Trixi, love the "mosaic" image.
      Kathy Bailey

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    3. "Messy, imperfect lives meet a perfect God who can piece it all back together to make something beautiful."


      Trixi, that was a beautiful comment. I love the way you described how it works for a reader. Thank you!

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  2. Welcome back to Seekerville, Rachel. I have already printed this up and am using your process to develop my WIP!

    Love the cover of The Writing Desk!!

    I brought chocolate donuts and maple bars!! Yes I did!

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    1. Tina! You're a dear for having me back on Seekerville. Love you guys!! Thanks for hosting me.

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    2. MAPLE! As a New Englander, that's all the encouragement I need.'KB

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  3. Rachel, as a major SOP writer I am, because of this fab equation you've shared, am now seeing that I have connected the DM to a childhood event (that makes so much sense--thanks for putting that in concrete words!). However, this handy equation will help me immensely in future stories... you know, when jumping into the beginning is always a little scary. Again, thanks. If I am lucky enough to win your Giveaway I'd love to read a print edition. Your story sounds amazing!

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    1. Elaine, the SEQ works great for SOPers. :) you can still pants it but have some helpful stepping blocks along the way. Think of it as a road map. :) Blessings to you!! RH

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  4. Thank you for this great informative post Rachel. It makes me think of the books I have recently read and one I'm reading now and it opens things up to me. Thank you.

    I too love the cover of The Writing Desk and would love to be entered to win a copy. Thank you for the chance.

    Blessings,
    Cindy W.

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    1. Hey Cindy, thanks so much for stopping by. Yes, the SEQ is a great tool! RH

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  5. Welcome, Rachel! This is great information that's definitely going into my Seekerville notebook. I can speak for myself, as well as many of the others, we all like a good "story cookie." Thanks for visiting!

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    1. I love that you have a Seekerville notebook! :) RH

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  6. Rachel, welcome back! Thanks so much for being here today. I know folks will benefit from your thoughts on this... and the skilled outline you offered. Sometimes we need to see things spelled out for it to click.

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    1. Ruth! Love being here. Thanks for having me. Xo, RH

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    1. Then I guess I'm drinking Diet Coke. Ha!

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  8. Hi Rachel, congratulations on your new book and your Second Chances story! I'm so excited about The Writing Desk. I know it's great and can't wait to get it.

    Thanks for sharing your writing process. This is definitely a keeper post!

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  9. I've had the pleasure of reading The Writing Desk. It's your best book ever as I said on Goodreads and in my amazon review. Anyone who loves a really good story should do themselves a favor and read it.
    I just wanted to stop by my favorite blog and say hi and gush over you and your book for a minute. Thanks for the great story!

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    1. This is pretty exciting news, Tracey. Seriously, I love Rachel books but I will be honest and say my favorite is the wedding dress. Now you have pushed me to cheat and push The Writing Desk to the top of my TBR. I do like a challenge. HA!

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    2. Oooh and you called us your favorite blog! Pass that woman a maple bar!

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    3. You will love it Tina! snappy dialogue is your thing and Rachel is great at it. I have The Wedding Dress on my kindle, now you've motivated me to get to it!

      You KNOW the seekers are my favs, I love being allowed to hang out with the cool kids :)

      Thanks for the maple bar, I needed that!

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    4. I was so excited Rachel was here, I just realized I didn't even say hello before I started gushing, so hi Rachel! fangirl problems!

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    5. Tracey! Your review literally made my day when I accidentally spotted it on Goodreads. You never know how a book is going to go over and your words gave me hope! And Tina, Seekerville is an amazing blog! Thanks for stopping by Tracey!! <3

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    6. Tracey, thanks for the recommendation of The Writing Desk. Another book to add to my TBR stack.

      Janet

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  10. Thank you, Rachel, these are good guidelines. I went on a "Wedding" spree earlier this year and read "Wedding Dress," "Wedding Shop" and "Wedding Chapel" in a little more than a week. Really nice work.
    In my current WIP, the heroine is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. It wounds her, she feels guilty (she was only 10), the lie is that she will never be good enough, the fear is that someone will come too close, so she digs a figurative moat around her impeccably-structured life. Her secret desire is to be known and loved, but she doesn't dare let the walls down.
    He suffered childhood emotional and psychological abuse from a perfectionist father, and he believes the lie that he is stupid and incompetent. He holds people off with joking and charm, his fear is being exposed as an empty shell. OF COURSE we all know that he isn't. :)
    Please enter me in the drawing, prefer the paper book if that's all right.
    Kathy Bailey

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    1. Kaybee, you've done your work!!! Good job! Digging into the emotions of a sexual abuse victim can be harrowing. So many different ways to respond. Sounds like you will write a redemptive story!

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    2. kaybee, I can't wait to read your book!

      Hurry up!

      Marcia

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    3. Thank you, Marcia. I don't have a publisher yet, but I have high hopes for this one.
      KB

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  11. Rachel, love having you in Seekerville today. Great post! I'm a big wound person...a Michael Hauge fan. You've provided such a great template for story creation. Must save this. No wonder your books are so delightful!!!

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    1. Debby, love you my sister. Will I see you in Orlando?

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    2. Yes! Expect hugs!

      I've been gone all day and have to leave the house again in an hour. UGH! Will catch up on all the comments later tonight.

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  12. Love the simplicity of SEQ.
    And you're right. Readers care more about characters than plot.

    Thanks so much!

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    1. Yep! #giveusgoodcharacters! Thanks Connie! XO!

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  13. Hi Rachel and welcome to Seekerville today. You really provided a concise and usable outline that should help all of us with our novels. Yay. And thank you. We met several years ago at Mt. Hermon and it delights me to see how you've come along. 25 novels later-wow!!! Congrats! Have fun today.

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    1. Hey Sandra, thanks for stopping by! I think you met another Rachel at Mt. Hermon. I've not had the pleasure of attending yet! XO!

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  14. This is really good stuff. I've had problems with my WIP and this may be one of the key things that was missing. Wow. Thanks so much! And btw, I've always wanted to tell you that reading Georgia On My Mind was the book that made me say out loud, "I'd love to write books like this--maybe I should try!" Thanks for all your inspiration over the years.

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    1. Sorry. Georgia on HER Mind :)

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    2. Glynnis! Great to see you back here. What are you working on right now?

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    3. Glynis, oh that makes me smile. I love when I find a writer who makes me say, "I can do this too!" Yay for us. XO! Rachel

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    4. Thanks, Rachel! And Tina, I'm writing an outline to a fantasy trilogy (or at least that what I'm thinking it is), so not exactly Rachel Hauck-style, but this one's been turning over in my mind for years. And I just need to write something to get me back on track.

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  15. Thanks for a great post, Rachel. I will keep all these tips in mind as I write. Please enter me in the drawing. Your book looks so good.

    Now off on vacation for a few days.

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    1. Have a great vacy, Sandy. You are entered.

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    2. Sandy, have fun!! I'm envious!

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  16. Welcome, Rachel! As others have commented, this is definitely a "keeper" post! It always helps to see similar ideas presented in different ways, and your SEQ is reinforcing what I've recently been studying in Lisa Cron's Story Genius, especially about the childhood wound and its impact on the character as an adult.

    The Writing Desk sounds fascinating! Must get a copy soon!

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    1. Right, Myra? I made that connection when I read your SG post. It feels like a key to unlocking the story.

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    2. Myra, I'll have to check on the Story Genius. But you know when you hear something more than once from credible sources, you should pay attentions! LOL.

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  17. Good morning, Rachel. Thanks so much for this post. I've been over and around this idea of wound/lie etc for years, but I don't think I've ever seen it so succinctly and clearly laid out.


    A question though - I know you say the wound has to be one event, and in the case of your heroine, the divorce is it, but it almost feels like the events leading up to it are as much (or more) a part of her wound as the divorce itself.

    In the story I'm working on, there is a similar cascade of events. Although each contributes to the wound, none really "break" her until the one that is the straw that breaks the camel's back.

    I guess my concern is, the final "straw" seems weak, but it's the culmination of all of them that causes the wound. The final straw confirms the developing wound.

    Does that make any sense?

    Please count me in the drawing - dual timelines are my absolute favorite books, both to read and write!

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    1. Cate, you are absolutely right. There has to be that one specific event that "breaks the camel's back." I didn't go that deep in my blog today but that moment creates what we call the DMS - Dark Moment Story. From there the lie is solidified and the fear begins to develop. That DMS is something she'll finally confess to the hero and it will advance their intimacy. So you're right on...

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  18. For more on the SEQ you guys can check out Mybooktherapy.com. XO!

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  19. Rachel, as I was reading your post I was thought about books I've enjoyed. And you know what? I remember the characters and settings vividly -- but not many of the plot details. I guess that tells me which aspect I'm most interested in as a reader.

    The first time I read about the SEQ, it made such perfect, clear sense to me. It still does :-)

    The Writing Desk cover is lovely!

    Nancy C

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  20. Rachel: Working with you and Susie, I've learned how invaluable the SEQ is for developing compelling characters. I use it every time I start a new novel. And whenever I work with other writers, I introduce them to the SEQ, too. The truth is, the SEQ is true in real life -- we all have Dark Moments, Wounds, Lies, Fears ... that's why this tool helps us create layered characters our readers relate to. It's true in our lives and so it helps us develop stronger, more true-to-life fiction.

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    1. Beth, delighted to have you stop by. And obviously this technique works as you all are award winning authors!!!

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    2. Beth, my padawan... You work the SEQ well!! XO

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  21. Okay, I won't lie, this part of the book description terrified me: "Tenley Roth’s first book was a runaway bestseller. Now that her second book is due, she’s locked in fear. Can she repeat her earlier success or is she a fraud who has run out of inspiration?"

    Hello? Can we all relate??? YESSS!!!

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    1. LOL! I know... I've been stuck and frustrated but never full blown writer's block. So I had to put myself in her head. Part of me was saying 'Geez, girl, just get to work!" RH

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  22. Thank you for an informative article, Rachel!

    May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

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  23. 25th book and it is still difficult? Cara Putman said something similar the other day and I was shocked. And if I'm honest, a bit disappointed. I am plotting out my second story and keep thinking it should be easier because I know more this go around. It is like the more I know, the less I know.

    Thanks so much for the explanation of the story equation. I have been studying Hauge's plot points and he talks about the hero's Identity (believing the Lie) and their Essence (living free from the Lie and being who they were meant to be). This really helped to solidify that for me. THANK YOU!

    I'd love to be adding in the giveaway! Your book looks WONDERFUL!

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    1. Sherrinda, some parts do get easier. One, your confidence. Two, your knowledge of "how" to get it done. But the more you write, the more you realize what you don't know. The more you have to be creative because you've used all your initial ideas and now it's getting tough... You have to dig deeper. The fear of never being published is replaced with "getting published again" which is replaced with "can I make some money?" which is replaced by "how can I grow my brand" which is replaced by "fill in the blank." At the end of the day you throw it all at Jesus' feet and do the best darn job with the book you're working on now. HE'LL see to the rest. Write and have fun!

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    2. Gosh, great answer, Rachel. The constant need to make your next book better than the last one, because if it's not then what's the point?

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  24. Welcome back, Rachel! Thanks for sharing the SEQ. I always know what has caused my character's wound, created the fear/the lie. I even understand that the secret desire is the opposite of the fear. My question: Is the secret desire the INTERNAL goal? Is the external goal the vehicle she believes will get her the secret desire? The external stuff is where I get bogged down.

    Janet

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    1. Janet, great question! Yes, the Secret Desire is the internal goal but it has EXTERNAL realities. Say, if my secret desire is to be a song writer, then the external goal is to write and sing my songs. My fear however is singing in front of people. Then some external thing happens, like the inciting incident, that pushes me to sing in public. I'm a hit. That initial success begins my journey to see if I can make it as a song writer. All the external plot obstacles etc push against my desire, trying to push me back in to my fear but the secret desire has tasted freedom and won't let go. So the journey is about the secret desire being realized and the lie being replaced with the truth. So, the internal goal is always challenged, hindered, helped along by the external journey. Does that help? XO!

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    2. Yes it does help! Now to remember how it all fits together with the next book.
      XO! Janet

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    3. Great question, Janet! And thanks, Rachel, for the helpful answer.

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  25. Rachel, I forgot to say that it's comforting to me to see that after 25 books, you still struggle to put into practice what you know. But trust me, you get it done. Your books are wonderful!

    Janet

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    1. Thank you Janet. #rewritingismyfriend.

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    2. Rewriting is my friend and my enemy! I can't seem to write a rough draft.

      Janet

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  26. Hello Rachel:

    I just love the theme of your "Writing Desk". I've read a few books over the years that did similar things. One was about a beach house in which two women lived decades apart. Another was a Louis L'Amour story about an old gun.

    What I like best is that these stories can provide the best of the historical novel along with a contemporary setting. However, I think they would be too hard to write...at least for me.

    Thanks for such a succinct explanation of the story equation. However, I must say I was expecting to see an actual equation.

    (W+L) = F x (SD - DM)

    Now doesn't that just say it all? :O)

    Also I believe that the SEQ is just one excellent way to write one kind of story. Yet there are many kinds of story. Sometimes a kiss is just a kiss and a childhood is just a childhood.

    A perfectly happy childhood produced a well balanced adult woman who felt she married the ideal man. Turns out it was all a lie. He is a hit man and his clients want her dead when she discovers who it really is. She has to run. Now you have a sympatric heroine in a classic chase/suspense novel. Could she hide in an Amish community?

    Also some stories are plot driven (the characters don't really know who they are and how they react until tested by the plot events) and some are best character driven (it is their characters that keep the reader turning pages -- like what will Jack Reacher do next?)

    I also believe that readers care about everything. Especially if any one thing does not come up to par. Write a disappointing plot, a predictable plot, a cliché plot, and characters won't save the story. If you have the greatest plot in the world but the characters seem unbelievable, then that story will fail.

    Pantsers are always telling me that there are many right ways to write a story and I have to agree with them. (Even if I don't want to!)

    Brilliant post. A great way to write a story. Please put me in the drawing for an ebook copy of the "Writing Desk". I'm sure I'll just love it!

    Vince

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    1. Ha! Love the question. I think it's more like DMxW=L+F/SD. :)
      Now to the perfectly happy childhood, yes. Those are real. But they don't make for good fiction. The character has to want something. That something has to be obscured by her fear or lie. Or both. Fiction is hyperbole. And no one, even with a happy childhood, escapes some of life's pain. I've helped authors who want their characters to be happy and find true romance with minimal flaws or bumps in the road and frankly... you end up not caring about the characters. The more they overcome, the more we care.

      As for plot driven, i.e. Jack Reacher, yes, we love the blow 'em up stuff but if they didn't tell us about Jack's past and leave us with all the questions, we really don't care. It's the character of Reacher that drives the movie. Then of course, they put him in a good plot. To your point, Jack rarely comes to any deep epiphany but we have to care about him to care about the "plot." ;)

      If you have GREAT characters and you do your home work on who they are and who they'll be at the end of the story, you'll come up with a great plot to get at those issues. THEN you'll have both a great character and a great plot. Think how much MORE intriguing Reacher would be if he had a wife at home and some how she was endangered during one of his escapades? Way more intriguing that how the stories are now. At least the movies. Never read the books.

      Take Benjamin Martin in the Patriot. Sure, they could've just written him as a warrior, fighting the redcoats, but throwing in his family?? Unforgettable. A movie you want to see over and over. You become emotionally invested. Seen one Reacher movie you've kind of seen them all. You might watch it if it came on TV Sunday afternoon and nothing else was on. ;)

      Thanks for stopping by.

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    2. MORE OOPS. They DO tell us about Jack's past. Rather they hint at it and that's intriguing.

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    3. Well, goodness, I never thought about that with Reacher. And I have read ALL the books. But you're right. The best books are the ones where we feel he has an emotional connection to a person. There are a few folks in the books.

      But the movies no.

      This immediately made me think of Die Hard. The first one saving his wife. The one with saving his daughter. Okay after that it gets blurry in my mind. There are so many movies in that franchise..but it's always personal.

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  27. Rachel, thanks for your informative post. I agree with Cate, your wound/lie is so clearly laid out my "visual brain" is having an 'aha' moment!

    Focusing on getting my first book done. Hopefully, by #25 I can get it right.

    Please enter my name for the drawing!

    Blessings,

    Marcia

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    1. Native Ohioan here...GO BUCKS!!!

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    2. You can do it! Get that book written!! Blessings!!

      And Go Bucks!!!!!

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    3. Marcia is very talented. I have read her work. YOU CAN DO IT, MARCIA!!

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    4. Thanks, Tina, your confidence in me is appreciated and overwhelming! xo

      Marcia

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    5. Joining in the GO BUCKS cheer! :)

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  28. Hi Rachel
    I agree with the others saying how succinctly you have presented the SEQ. I know I'll be using this as I work on my next story. THANKS!
    I love your book cover and would love to be in the draw.

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  29. Must read this again! The SEQ looks like a Fidget Spinner! I wonder if anybody has used a fidget spinner to help plot. Must snitch my nephew's to test the theory. :)

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    1. Fidget Spinner!? What is this strange device? :)

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    2. The Fidget Spinner is a "stress-relieving" toy. It's really popular with school children right now.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fidget_spinner

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    3. I keep hearing about these and have never seen one live. A good giveaway for conference with your name on it.

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  30. Rachel, so good to have you here today! I love learning from you. This is great stuff! I've taken one or two of your classes at RWA and at ACFW. I learned lots!

    I love working from the wound, and have tried to remember to also use the lie. I remember a workshop I took from Deb Dixon at RWA many, many years ago. The title was something like "Climbing the Slippery Slope." And she talked in there about establishing the pain from the past and then having the the whole story acting like a slippery slope toward having to face that wound. I've always had that stuck in my mind as I write. And I love tying your wound and lie and secret desire into that method!

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    1. Howdy Missy! So good to be here today!!

      Yea, I think lots of people talk about it but I love how Suz put it together. I came up with the wound makes a lie which develops into a fear but her genius inspired it. ;) Ha!

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  31. This was gold mine info for me today to get unstuck on my wip. Thank you so much.

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    1. Sandy, great to see you in Seekerville!

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    2. Yay Sandy! So glad to help!

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  32. Hello RACHEL! As a reader, I appreciate when an author pulls me into the story from the beginning. I enjoy "feeling" connected to the characters.

    I've not yet had the pleasure of reading your books. I've heard so many good things that I've been dying to read one.

    Please toss my name in for a paperback copy.

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  33. Hi Rachel, good to see you here! I am an avid reader and have read and LOVED all your books. I am so anxious to read this one and have heard many say "it's my favorite"...so please put me in the drawing for it...print or E! THANKS.

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  34. RACHEL!!! I am sooooo bad because I thought today was the usual Best of the Archives, so I just took my sweet time in coming over here. But HOLY COW, Rachel Hauck is here with an AMAZING post, so THANK YOU for giving so much insight into the DM! I instinctively do that, but never put a name to it, so this is WAY cool!! Thanks for all the examples too -- EXCELLENT, all!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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    1. Julie, you always bless me! Thanks for making it over!! XO!

      Rachel

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  35. Wow! This was such a great post! It helps me with my current WIP and gives me more insight to delve a bit deeper into my character's psyche. So thank you for that! And I don't need entered in the drawing I have read and LOVED The Writing Desk. And I can't leave without a huge O-H! ;)

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    1. Thanks for dropping by, Rachel McDaniel!

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    2. Rachel, thanks so much!!! Love your name BTW! ;P

      Rachel

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  36. Rachel Hauck, thanks so much for spending the day with us. Praying for continued success on our SEQ Writing Journey!

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  37. Just getting home from the Antique Mall here in California. Stopping in to say thanks for such an informative and helpful post, Rachel. I'll be printing it and referring to it as I finish my current WIP. Looking forward to reading The Writing Desk.

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  38. This is so interesting to read! It makes complete sense to me as a reader and I like seeing the "formula" you use when writing a book. I am not an author, so sometimes I take for granted all that goes in to a book. I love becoming invested in characters though, and I can see how doing all these things makes a character well-round and a storyline believable!

    I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of The Writing Desk! Thanks for the chance Rachel!

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    1. Laura, it's great if an author makes writing seem easy to the reader! But shoot fire, it never is! LOL. Thanks for coming by!

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  39. I am late, late, late so you probably won't even see this, but I had to comment on how much I loved your awesome story equation. I've already drawn it and posted in on my plotting board. How wonderful. I have SMW's book "Conversations With a Writing Coach" and love it. You two make a great team.

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    1. LeAnne, so great! You should get the Story Equation book because we've added some cookies on the top part of the circle to help get the story going. Things like "competence, goal, superpower." All the things you need to launch the story because in the beginning the character has no idea the wound lie fear are about to come to the fore front. :)

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  40. I have the SEQ book and mini course, I think it's a brilliant approach which works for me. Would love to win the ebook version of The Writing Desk, please enter me in the draw. Thanks

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    1. Thanks Ruth Ann! So glad you're finding the SEQ helpful!

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  41. Thank you for sharing your process. The equation makes a lot of sense with the explanation and examples you provided. You've solved a huge problem I had with my story!

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    1. Excellent! So glad this helped Susan! Xo

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  42. Rachel, the SEQ makes so much sense! As I read your post, I immediately applied your ideas to the protagonist in my WIP. She has the wound, lie, fear, and desire, although I couldn't have labeled them as such before reading this. But now I see the relationship between each of those more clearly and can approach them more intentionally as I develop her character and conflicts. I already see how my writing will be tighter. Thank you!

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    1. So glad it helped Karen. When I get stuck I go back through the SEQ and figure out what needs to happen.

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  43. So fascinating to see what goes on behind an incredible author's mind. And Dining with Joy was a pretty incredible book! Can't wait to dive into The Wriring Desk.

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    1. Thank you! I do have a special spot in my heart for Dining With Joy.

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  44. Oh my goodness, I have liked several of your books so very much! Thank you for using your God-given talent.

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