Determine Your Dramatic Elements

Ask yourself, why do you want to write this story? What is your passion? What theme do you want your readers to take away from your story? What is the premise of your story? Describe it on one sentence using the what-if formula. What if a flawed protagonist encountered a problem and had to overcome the flaw to solve the problem?  Whatwoman-hand-desk-office.jpgis one flaw that prevents your protagonist from solving his or her problem? Later, you can give other flaws to your character, but the main flaw is what you will structure your story on.

The Illusion of a Presidency

The constitution is a set of laws,

Drawn up by prized individuals,

Who were respected intellectuals,

But Trump thinks he’s above the law,

And wiped his feet on the paper they were written on.

He’s a man of many flaws.

His lies thicken with each new day.

He can’t keep the comedians and the press away,

Yet his tweets show his true claws,

And Russia laughs and just looks on.

Trump holds the Republicans in awe.

They never know what’s coming from his mouth,

And they wonder if he’ll fire everyone in the house.

Things aren’t any better with his son and his son-in-law.

Geez, did Trump lose a few neurons?

He acts more like an outlaw,

Than the president of the United States,

And it’s the people that suffer the fate,

While he thinks it’s okay to disrespect the law

And the people the land was founded on.

He’s made the U.S. a mess of coleslaw,

Stamped out religion, women, and race,

Making our country one big disgrace.

Where rights once mattered to uphold the law,

And I was proud to be an American.


Packed Memories

Here is a poem I wrote about a woman missing her deceased husband and he came to call.

Packed Memories

By Theresa Gage

She journeyed to his study for the hundredth time today,

Sure she heard him calling to pick up his tray,

But it’s only the knocking of rain on the windowpane.

Her eyes gazed at his jacket, lying in his chair,

And she rubbed his rough sleeve across her hair,

Finding comfort and not so alone,

As she inhaled his pipe tobacco and his Old Spice cologne.

She brewed a pot of coffee,

Strong the way he liked it,

Even though she preferred tea.

She waddled over and clicked on the T.V.,

To the sports station she endeared the past twenty years.

She doesn’t have the energy for things woebegone,

As she sighs at his tangled fishing gear and his projects left undone.

She toddled to the kitchen and tied up her hair,

Then placed his plate next to his dining chair,

And proceeded to cook his favorite dish

Of fried potatoes, onions, and fish.

He’s been gone over a year, but she waits near the door,

As the clock struck the hour of four.pexels-photo-372176.jpeg

With the tail of her apron, she  wiped her eyes,

And glanced outside.

To her surprise, he appeared once more,

And she flung open the door

And he walked inside.





Improve Your Hook

We’ve all  heard that a writer needs to draw in their readers with a great hook, but how do we do it?  Establish who is your protagonist and what is their flaw. Draw off that flaw as you write your hook and connect your reader to your protagonist. Propel your reader into action. Try to set the mood in the setting also and how the protagonist relates. Throughout the story, you have to think like your protagonist and what they would do. Their flaw must get in their way and the protagonist doesn’t realize it until the epiphany part of the story.

The Farmer’s Sons

Here is an old  legend I found interesting. A farmer had two sons. The eldest son went out of his way to help his father out on the farm. The youngest son ran off to the navy. On the farmer’s death bed, he left the entire estate to his eldest son. The younger son came home for the funeral and found out his father left him nothing. Wracked with jealousy and sadness, the younger son left. The longer he fumed over the situation, the more he became obsessed that he had been cheated of his birthright. He decided to seek revenge.

One night, he crept onto the farm and set the buildings on fire. The entire property burned to the ground. In the morning, only a few stones remained of the farmhouse. He received a packet in the mail. He opened it and got the shock of his life. His brother had died the previous day and had left the entire estate to him.


Know Your Characters

A reader has to engage with your characters to care about them or they won’t finish your story. You, as the writer, must figure out the details. What do you know about your character? What brings them joy? What scares them? What are their values? Do they have goals?

As you write your story, think about your character. Whose story is it? What do they want? What stops them from getting it? How do they get it? Put your character in a new situation. Is his everyday life disrupted?

Think about voice. You don’t want all your characters sounding alike. If you took away the dialogue tags, can your reader distinguish each character without them? Does your character repeat a phrase? Does your character stutter? Does he have an accent?

Your character drives the plot. You don’t want to bore your reader. Give your character a flaw to overcome and put obstacles in his path. Continue to increase the stakes.  If you find your story is paced too fast, then slow it down with emotion. Good luck.

Plot Versus Story

How can you tell if your novel or tale is only story or plot? Story is the emotional journey and plot is the physical journey. For example: If a heroine’s father is gunned down by mobsters that is plot, but if the heroine cries over the bloody corpse that’s story.

Plot moves your character from the starting location to the ending location. Struggles along the way are the physical parts of the plot. The story moves your character from the person he/ she was at the beginning to the person he/ she ends up being at the end.

Plot is action. If things are dragging in your story, simply add more action. If things are too fast, slow it down by adding emotion. Goals drive your characters and their flaws impede them. Create a flaw in your character that is opposite of your theme so the character can grow emotionally.