Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Unexpected Fireworks by Shannon Moore Redmon

Like many Americans, over the fourth of July my family vacationed at our favorite lake spot for some fun, relaxation and fireworks. We enjoyed a calm couple of days on the water.

But our second night there, something unexpected happened. A neighbor’s boat dock, across the cove, caught fire.

At three-thirty in the morning, we awoke as trucks sped up and down the street. This was unusual for our quiet neighborhood. No one causes a commotion that late at night or the sheriff gets a call.

We thought perhaps a party had run late and people were leaving. Then my mother spotted orange flames glowing against the blackness of the water. We all ran outside for a closer look.

The men of my family wanted to help. They hopped in the boat to make sure everyone was okay. My mother and I stayed behind, watching from a distance.

Thankfully, no human life was injured or lost. Only the owner’s pontoon and his brand-new, just-purchased a few days ago boat, went up in flames. Nothing was left of the double decker dock except the metal frame.

The culprit? An overturned firework that wreaked havoc on the floating objects in its path.

No one expected the purchased sparklers to cause so much damage. The group wanted to celebrate Independence Day, see a good show and enjoy the fun. But instead chaos ensued.

We need to give our readers the same kind of unexpected fireworks on the page. Create chaos in our stories. Pull them from their relaxed lives into the tension and conflict of our characters.

How do we do this?

1) Unexpected Hook/Twist – Give them an unpredictable opening, clutching them into the story the same way our neighbor’s flames pulled my family out of bed at three-thirty AM. Even my college age son got up with interest. I haven’t seen that boy so alert since he finished high school.

2) Explode on the first page - Give the reader action and adventure, suspense and mystery or love and tension, depending on the genre. Something to grab them on the opening page and keep them turning until the end. No one wants to read about the color of the trees or flowers when an all-out fire is taking place across the bay.

3) Spread the fire - Each chapter needs fuel to keep the story burning. A bit of information or action to keep the adventure in motion all the way until the climax at the end.

4) Satisfying ending - Our neighbor plans to rebuild his dock and had insurance money to cover the boats. He will be fine. And so will your readers when a rewarding resolution ends the story.

Time to gather up those bottle rockets and Roman candles to create one completely satisfying pyrotechnic display of writing!

Give readers fuel in every chapter to keep the story burning @shannon_redmon @MaryAFelkins #amwriting #SeriouslyWrite

Shannon Redmon remembers the first grown up book she checked out from the neighborhood book mobile. A Victoria Holt novel with romance, intrigue, dashing gentlemen and ballroom parties captivated her attention. For her mother, the silence must have been a pleasant break from non-stop teenage chatter, but for Shannon, those stories whipped up a desire and passion for writing.
There's nothing better than the power of a captivating novel, a moving song or zeal for a performance that punches souls with awe. A rainbow displayed after a horrific storm or expansive views on a mountaintop bring nuggets of joy into our lives. Shannon hopes stories immerse readers into that same kind of amazement, encouraging faith, hope and love, guiding our hearts to the One who created us all.

Shannon’s writing has been published in Spark magazine, Splickety magazine, the Lightning Blog, The Horse of My Dreams compilation book, Romantic Moments compilation book, Seriously Write blog and Jordyn Redwood’s Medical Edge blog. Her current fiction novel was selected as a top three finalist of the 2018 ACFW Genesis Contest and she is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency.

Connect with Shannon:
The StoryMoore Blog, named in memory of her father, Donald Eugene Moore.
FB: https://www.facebook.com/shannon.redmon
Twitter: https://twitter.com/shannon_redmon
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shannonredmon/