Monday, July 16, 2012

Build it Right Series: Add Cohesive Elements by Dora Hiers

Adding cohesive elements: 
Believable Plots, Appropriate Conflict, 
Setting, Theme
Build it Right Series by
Dora Hiers

So that there should be no division or discord or lack of adaptation [of the parts of the body to each other], but the members all alike should have a mutual interest 
in and care for one another.
(1 Cor. 12:25 AMP)

Last week we talked about building our story on a firm foundation. This week we’re adding cohesive elements by installing walls, windows, and doors.

When we built our house, we used a general contractor. Although he visited the site frequently, he rarely participated in actual labor. Instead, he subcontracted the work to various trades. He didn’t expect the plumber to install the air conditioner, or the carpenter who mounted the doors to paint. Sub-contractors added their individual component, their skilled trade, creating another valuable element to the house as a whole. 

Just as different subcontractors work together to contribute essentials to make our house a home, a writer must join various elements for a cohesive story, or risk discord with the reader. Let’s talk about some basic elements, using romance as an example.

Believable plots

In romance, we want our readers to journey along with the characters as they fall in love. Unless the characters were in a prior relationship and the fire hasn’t quite burned out, a declaration of love on the fourth page doesn’t work. The same goes for a suspense plot. Readers don’t necessarily care about the heavy technical details, but the plot must be believable.

Appropriate conflict.
Who wants to read a romance where the main characters constantly argue with each other? Aren’t they supposed to be falling in love? Conflict doesn’t mean regular clashes with one another. Conflict should arise internally, from their dreams and ambitions, their insecurities, and their belief and value system. Externally, what stands in their way of reaching their goals? 


Your setting is as fundamental to your story as the siding on your house. Stucco is common in Florida, but stucco would strike a discordant note in North Carolina where the majority of houses have brick or vinyl siding.  

Whether fact or fiction, you can cement the reader into your setting. If your book is set on a tropical island, readers expect salty breezes and palm trees, the lingering scent of suntan lotion, and seafood dinners on a sandy beach. Offering sensory details harmonious with your setting will make the locale more realistic.


Whether you write for the inspirational or secular market, a theme should weave through your story, as integral and seamless as the electrical wires running through your house. Simple messages of forgiveness, that it’s never too late, of second chances and rebuilding trust, and that with God all things are possible will resonate with the reader and keep them turning the page.

Do your individual elements work in harmony for a cohesive story? 

Join us next week as we discuss adding the finishing details.

Journey's Edge:

A Routine Audit? Hardly. Red flags-including some goon who's following her-raise McKinley Frasier's suspicions that numbers don't add up at the insurance firm. When someone tries to snatch McKinley's daughter from school, she turns to police officer and ex-fiance, Renner Crossman-the cop who walked out on her a month before their wedding. But Renner's not the same guy who broke her heart ten years ago. He calls himself a "new man." She trusts the new Renner with her daughter's safety...but what about her heart?


After a successful auditing career, Dora Hiers left the corporate world to be a stay-at-home mom to her two sons. When her youngest son didn’t want her hanging out at school with him anymore, Dora started writing heart racing, God-gracing books. Dora belongs to the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the Carolina Christian Writers. Her first inspirational romance, Journey’s End, released with White Rose Publishing in 2011, and her second, Journey’s Edge released in March 2012. White Rose also contracted her third book in the Marshals of Journey Creek series, Journey’s Embrace, and her first short romance, Small Town Treasure. Dora and her husband make their home in Kannapolis, North Carolina. 

Connect with Dora:

Facebook: Dora Hiers Author
Twitter: @DoraHiers


  1. Good morning!

    It's so good to be back at Seriously Write! I can't believe it's already week 3 in this Build It Right series. Hope you're enjoying the connection between writing and home building. :-)

    1. This has been an awesome and creative series, Dora. Thanks so much for being here. :-D

    2. Thank you, Dawn. :-)

      Seriously Write always encourages and inspires me. I'm honored to be invited.

    3. Always a pleasure to have you, Dora!

    4. Love this series. It has the basics that we all need.

      I love your suggestion about themes. How do you decide on yours, Dora?

    5. I'm a pantser, Angie, so my characters decide their themes. Take Renner from JOURNEY'S EDGE. He's a guy who messed up in the past, but he's determined to make things right, beginning with his ex-fiance, Kinny. He wants a second chance, and in order for that to happen, he needs to show Kinny that's he's a "new man in Christ." That seamless thread weaves from the moment he makes his entrance until the last page.

      Hope that helps. What a great question!


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