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Kim Tomsic

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fast-Paced Plotting as seen by Nancy Drew and Chris Eboch

A standing-room-only break-out sessions at the SCBWI Conference was a class taught by Chris Eboch .

What I learned from Nancy Drew-Tool for Fast-Paced Plotting was the title Chris Eboch gave her presentation.

Literally, all the fire codes were violated as the Hyatt salon was packed with standing room only participants. Here are a few precious notes on what Chris had to say:

1. You are setting expectations and making the reader a promise in the first chapter…a promise you better fill. If your tone is crazy-scary in the first chapter, you better deliver crazy-scary. If your characters are super snarky in the beginning, they better not end up vanilla throughout the rest of the book.

2. Your first chapter also sets the genre, setting, problem, tone, and a sense of the structure and pacing.


1. Fast starts are openings that start with action; they start with what happened and then work in the back story. Note how this is different from starting with back story and then working up to the action.
2. Ms. Eboch says that fast starts usually start with two people on the page and has scene+action+dialogue. She advises to use description and summary modestly if you want to achieve a fast start.
3. Ms. Eboch also advises to start with a cliffhanger (something big is around the corner) and in the middle of the fight or the conflict. She says, “the inciting incident-the problem that gets the story going-should happen as soon as possible , but not until the moment is ripe.”
For more on Chris Eboch’s guide to writers and fast paced plotting, you can visit her at http://www.chriseboch.com/

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