Blogroll Roll Call #4: Plot to Punctuation

It’s yet another installment of Blogroll Roll Call!

Today, I’m taking a look at Plot to Punctuation (aka “Show Some Character”), by Jason Black. Mr. Black is a Book Doctor, and blogs about character development in fiction. His blog covers a variety of storytelling do’s and don’t’s, and I’ve found it very helpful. I do wish I’d discovered it before I was four or five drafts in to my first book. Nonetheless, it’s been useful.

Why I Bookmarked It
It’s actually pretty easy to say why I first started reading Mr. Black’s blog. It was this post about the Five Stages of Grief, and how they should be used in developing characters. Actually, to be more specific, I think that the first post I read was this one, his 2009 “Best Of” post, capping off what he felt were his best posts of that year. Topping the list was the post I linked above about the five stages of grief. Black argues that the five stages can be used as a template for all the emotional reactions in a novel.

I bookmarked the site (and the specific post) immediately, because I was having trouble with two scenes in my own novel, both of which deal with a character coming to terms with information that any sane person would reject. These scenes are towards the end of Chapter 3 and the begining of Chapter 4. I reworked them more than any other scenes in the book, and I hope that some of what I learned from Mr. Black’s blog shows through in Sam’s reactions to Reggie’s news about secret societies, and what Sam sees in Reggie’s room later that night.

Why I Still Read It
Can a writer ever know or read too much about writing? Just now, in preparation for this post, I glanced at Black’s most recent postings, and discovered I’d missed one on how to use Myers-Briggs personality types in your novels. Within moments I was searching the web for a Myers Briggs test so that I could take it from Reggie’s perspective.

Why You Should Read It
If you’re a writer, or like reading, this is a useful and insightful blog. You’ll learn things like what Tolkien teaches us about conflict, and what Star Wars teaches us about character introductions. You may enjoy the current series on 45 (more) flaws that expose your lack of storytelling experience. Parts One and Two of that series are already up, and you can have all sorts of fun finding the problems in your own writing, or in that of others.

Until next time.

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