by Ane Mulligan @AneMulligan
Today I'm excited to have another guest on The Write Conversation. Ane Mulligan is one of my favorite new authors to watch, as well as a dear friend and president of Novel Rocket. Be sure to leave a comment below welcoming her. Everyone who leaves a comment will be entered in a drawing as well!
The Magic Paragraph
The Magic Paragraph was the brainchild of the late great Ron Benrey. I sat in a class Ron taught at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference a number of years ago. That was, for me a benchmark in my writing career. I’ve been given permission to carry on teaching it by his widow, Janet Benrey. For more of Ron’s witty delivery of writer advice, do yourself a huge favor and buy his book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to WritingChristian Fiction.
So, what is the Magic Paragraph? It goes like this:
- Signal whose head to enter.
- Twang an appropriate sense or start a thought process.
- Show appropriate action or reaction (what the character experienced).
- Start the character thinking.
Repeat as often as needed.
Here's an example from my debut novel:
Claire hung her tote on the stairs newel post. From the looks of the set table and the appetizing aroma permeating the house, the girls had been home for some time. She wondered what they'd fixed. It didn't really matter, of course. Twin-cooked anything was her favorite. They definitely inherited Joel's culinary talents.
1. In this paragraph, Claire is whose head we’re entering. She’s the POV character in this scene.
2. The next sentence twanged two senses, sight “from the looks of the set table” and smell “and the aroma permeating the house” and it started her thought process, wondering what they cooked.
3. Next is something Claire has experienced: “Twin-cooked anything was her favorite.”
4. She starts thinking how they have inherited their daddy’s culinary talents.
Here’s one more. See if you can pick out the Parts from the Magic Paragraph:
Patsy gave the fluffy duvet a final tug then aligned her and Nathan's pillows. The bed appeared department-store-perfect—nothing out of place. Beneath the top cover, the sheets hadn't been changed, but from the outside, all looked ideal. Hiding imperfections seemed to be the story of her life.
If you’re having problems keeping the reader turning pages, try this technique. Definitely start each scene with a Magic Paragraph, and then repeat as necessary.
Don't forget to give the magic paragraph a try, leave your answers (along with any questions) in the comments section below!
Don't forget to join the conversation!
Keep the reader turning pages by using the Magic Paragraph - via @AneMulligan on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)
A foolproof way to start each scene in your manuscript - via @AneMulligan on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)
While a large, floppy straw hat is her favorite, Ane has worn many different ones: hairdresser, legislative affairs director (that's a fancy name for a lobbyist), drama director, playwright, humor columnist, and novelist. Her lifetime experience provides a plethora of fodder for her Southern-fried fiction (try saying that three times fast). She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. President of the award-winning literary site, Novel Rocket, Ane resides in Suwanee, GA, with her artist husband, her chef son, and two dogs of Biblical proportion. You can find Ane on her Southern-fried Fiction website, Google+, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and Pinterest.
With a friend like Claire, you need a gurney, a mop, and a guardian angel.
Everybody in the small town of Chapel Springs, Georgia, knows best friends Claire and Patsy. It's impossible not to, what with Claire's zany antics and Patsy's self-appointed mission to keep her friend out of trouble. And trouble abounds. Chapel Springs has grown dilapidated and the tourist trade has slackened. With their livelihoods threatened, they join forces to revitalize the town. No one could have guessed the real issue needing restoration is their marriages.