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Friday, March 5, 2010

The Tornado Effect (RE-POST)

Growing up in Oklahoma and Kansas allowed me to witness the effect tornadoes have first hand. Whether it passes over you, touches down briefly, or barrels through relentlessly, it has an impact on every single person who experiences it. In The Fire In Fiction, Donald Maass, talks about the importance of 'big' events in a novel. He indicates that many of the manuscripts he's read over the years lack a big event. So, what makes for a big event? Well, Maass describes it as one that causes a tornado effect. A big event is one that impacts multiple characters like a tornado affects many residents of the town it plows through. To make a big event meaningful, though, the author must portray the changes it causes in everyone in its path. Do you have a big event in your novel? Have you portrayed its effect on everyone involved? As you ponder that, go buy the book, and have a great weekend!

11 comments:

Sherry Dale Rogers said...

Thanks for the info and enjoy your weekend. Those shoes look like they could affect all feet who wear them with blister...Ouch.

Nancy said...

No, I don't think any of my books have one big event. I do try to have the events that do occur impact as many characters as possible. By the way, those are stylin shoes.

Jennifer Shirk said...

No, I don't think I do. Wah. Unless you consider the "balck moment" a tornado effect. Something to think about...

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

what if my life feels like a tornado - does that count?

lotusgirl said...

Mine has a major event in the first chapter that is really only a major event for one person, but it impacts her quite profoundly. Did you ever see that you won a gift card from me for being my 100th follower? Email me at lacmoss (at) gmail (dot) com so I can send it to you.

Robyn Campbell said...

I am missing you Susan. Just popped in to tell you that. I hope your weekend is super. Write on my friend. =)

Carolyn V. said...

Oh wow! How do you know what I'm writing? I do have a big thing happen, I'm trying my best to make sure all the characters are affected. It's kind of fun. =)

Kathryn Magendie said...

I had a tornado go over an old house I lived in, in South Louisiana - it was the scariest thing!

As for big events - I never think about them as I write, but they are there, some more subtle than others I suppose!

Jeanette Levellie said...

I have heard so many great reviews on this book. Would it help a non-fiction writer like me, whose very life is a tornado?

Yaya' s Changing World said...

Very well-put. You're right; a big event can bring a story to life in ways that nothing else can.

How are things going? Just thought you might like to know that I have a visitor on my blog, today, who will be sharing her grampa's true-life adventures as a Rider on one of the Orphan Trains! There's room for everyone to gather in close and get to know Donna, while enjoying her wonderful story-telling talents. I look forward to seeing you there.

Yaya
Yaya's Changing World

Name: Holly Bowne said...

Oooooh! An excellent tip which just got me thinking. I'm about to hit a very big event in my novel, but hadn't clearly thought through how it will affect EVERYONE. I like this! Thanks for the advice which couldn't have been more perfectly timed for me. ;o)