Monday, July 9, 2012

Built it Right Series: A Firm Foundation by Dora Hiers

A firm foundation: Start with a Premise, 
Create strong characters, Proportion
Build It Right Series by
Dora Hiers

They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, 
because it was well built. 
 (Luke 6:48 NIV)

Last week we talked about clearing the land and preparing ourselves for our writing journey. This week we’ll discuss building our story on a firm foundation.

Concrete footers provide a strong foundation for a structure, making a house less vulnerable to attacks from wind, tornadoes, or floods. 

Just like houses must be built on strong foundations, your book requires a sturdy anchor or it won’t stand. Readers will feel tossed about and confused. As the author, you will lose focus and momentum. 

So how do you give your book a strong foundation?

Start with a Premise.

Whether you tend to be a plotter (you outline a detailed synopsis before you actually start writing) or a pantser (you sit down at your computer and start typing with just a few rough ideas floating around in your head), every writer must create a premise. 

The premise is the basic footprint of your house, whether it’s two-story or one, rectangular or square. It’s the basic idea, the main purpose or reason for writing your story. Without a purpose, a foundation for writing, your story won’t be able to withstand the elements. It will sag, maybe even collapse.

Create strong Characters.

Your characters should be men and women readers want to hang out with for a while, someone they could be friends with, someone they like. Know more about your characters than just hair or eye color, how tall they are, or what they do for a living. Why do they do what they do? What are they afraid of? What do they want most out of life? Whether you use a character chart or another method to flesh them out, dig deep to create dimensional characters readers will like.


Cement alone isn’t enough for a sturdy foundation. Sand, gravel and water must be mixed in proportionally to add strength and volume. The same goes for your story. Mix in bits and pieces about your hero and heroine’s past so that we can understand their decisions and behavior. Would you keep reading a book with long clumps of past events dragging things out and slowing the pace? Probably not. So, give your story a great foundation by offering tidbits tucked in the right spots and at appropriate times.

What elements do you use to give your story a firm foundation? 

Join us next week as we discuss adding cohesive elements by installing walls, windows, and doors.

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. Thanks, Dora! Great ideas for making a strong foundation.

    I like to know my characters inside-and-out, too. I've found that when I have holes in my plot or a sagging middle (in the book not my "middle," if you please), it's because I don't know my characters well enough. Love your idea of sprinkling background info throughout your story.

  2. Good morning.

    Great point, Angie. Nobody wants a "sagging middle" especially in our books. lol

    Thank you, ladies, for hosting my Build It Right series. :-)

  3. Great installment to the 'building' series, Dora! I'm getting a lot out of it! Can't wait for the next post! God bless!

  4. Right on target, Dora! Even though I'm a confirmed pantser, I still have to know a great deal about my characters, setting, premise, and the general direction I want the story to take before I begin writing. Still, there's a lot my characters "tell" me along the way, and that's the joy of discovery!

  5. Sometimes, for me, coming up with my character's deep motivation is the hardest part. There are surface motivations, but his/her past can really help you dig down deep to find what makes them tick. Thanks, Dora!

  6. Thank you, Mary. So glad you stopped by. Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday for the CVAN fundraiser! :-)

    Marianne, thank you! I can't wait to read your upcoming fall release, DEVOTION! Thanks for your kind words.

    Thanks, Myra. I really like your term for being a pantser ~ "Writing in the mist." So cool! I'm looking forward to seeing you on Saturday, too, and to presenting our "Writing Inspirational Romance" workshops in Charlotte next week. Thanks for stopping by!

    You're so right, Sandy. Sometimes I have to dig in to the story before I get to the deeper stuff. It's all good. Thanks for stopping by, Sandy. Can't wait to see you on Saturday! :-)


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