PubCrawl Podcast: Crafting Characters – Narrative Arc & Change

This week JJ and Kelly conclude their Crafting Characters series with NARRATIVE ARCS. Apologies for sounding scatterbrained; JJ was up until the wee hours trying (and failing) to kill a video game boss while Kelly has the plague.

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Show Notes

  • What distinguishes a novel from shorter forms of fiction is the trajectory of narrative change. The “point” of a novel is transformation.
    • Either a character transforms, or the world around the character transforms.
    • Transformation and evolution are not necessarily consistent; sometimes characters backslide, or the world loses ground.
  • Not only do characters and the world transform, but the reader transforms as well.

What We’re Working On

  • Kelly is still catching up on agenting stuff (when not dying of the plague) and trying to figure out how to update her manuscript wishlist.
  • JJ had a breakthrough on her current WIP!

What We’re Reading/Books Discussed

Off Menu Recommendations

What You’re Asking

In the podcast, you talk about leaning on archetypes in queries to help define the story at a glance. How explicitly do you recommend writers call out relevant archetypes in queries?
—Allison Kade

The point of a query is to give a general sense of premise, character, stakes, and the hint of a narrative arc. You don’t need to tell us the entire story, just an idea of where it’s going. Explicitly calling out archetypes can veer into “book report” query, so it’s not necessary. Knowing what archetypal narrative your story falls into will help shape the query, but if you say it, you’d be telling and not showing.

What You’re Saying

For Aspiring Authors or Ya Know…
—AE Beckham

Heard about this podcast through my coworker Mike who’s a friend of the two hosts and I’m so glad he told me about and that I started listening. It’s given me such a wealth of information about the publishing world and how to write a book that it’s made me so excited to start editing the first draft of my book! I love Kelly and JJ’s back and forth rapport that only 2 really good fr tends can have while talking about something they’re passionate about, it makes things that sound boring at face value (the ins and outs of publishing) really interesting and fun to learn about. Thank you so much for this podcast!

Thank you, AE, and thank you, Mike!

*PubCrawl alumna

That’s all for this week! Next week we will be talking about the publishing industry again with Publishing Relationships. So as always if you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below, send us an ask on Tumblr, or tweet using the hashtag #askpubcrawl!

One Response to PubCrawl Podcast: Crafting Characters – Narrative Arc & Change

  1. Emma Feb 5 2018 at 10:35 pm #

    Hi Kelly and J.J.!

    I love your podcast. I’ve been an avid Pubcrawl listener since I binged the first 16 episodes on a day trip to London to pet cats at Dinah’s Cat Cafe back in 2016. (Re-listening to episodes, I still get flashes of Hyde Park and Camden!) Every week for the past two years, I’ve looked forward to downloading new episodes on Thursdays.

    For the first time in two years, I have questions about a topic this podcast hasn’t covered yet, and so I was wondering if you could do a Publishing 301 (or this might be a Publishing 601) on industry fairs/festivals like the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in March and the Frankfurt Book Fair in October. I would also be happy just to have them covered as a listener question at the end of an episode.

    My questions:

    Who *really* goes to them?
    What happens at them?
    How are they used to gain buzz for books?
    How are books sold at them?
    How helpful are they in selling or promoting books?
    Are they mostly for industry networking?

    You’ve covered fairs and festivals that are more targeted for writers and fans, but these sorts of fairs seem to be geared more exclusively for publishers/agents, which makes them all the more mysterious.

    Thanks so much for making this podcast. As I gear up to go on submission, I’m re-listening to all of your submission and contracts episode, and it is a huge help in calming a lot of anxiety about the future. It’s less of an unknowable abyss. And not only do I know more about what might happen, but I know that whatever happens, I’ll be ready for it.

    I can’t wait to listen in next week!

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