06 May 2012

I Learned The 6 Cs From Steve Berry


I attended the Tallahassee Writer's Association Conference yesterday and our Keynote Speaker was Steve Berry. Fascinating as it was, I attended his next session where he shared a very condensed subject matter which is included in his workshops for the History Matters Foundation. Since I've already plotted my story, I've used his 6 Cs to determine if I have a complete story and one any reader would enjoy.


  1. Character Do I have a character people will cheer for? Is she vulnerable enough to capture the hearts of my readers? I hope so.
  2. Crucible What is forcing my character to react to her environment in ways not normal for her? What drives her behaviors? She has a past which haunts her and until she completes her journey through her crisis, her soul will not rest. This is a bit cliche, but who hasn't done this before? I give this a little twist though. 
  3. Conflict Is there conflict in my story? There is conflict in every chapter of my story, including the first few pages, emotional and physical.
  4. Complexity Are there obstacles preventing your character from reaching her goals? I have almost 50 plot points, so I hope it's enough complexity.
  5. Crisis Do all major obstacles come to one point in time where they meet head on? Yes! It's crunch time for my character. She steps over that threshold and makes the ultimate sacrifice, one she never could have made had she not made this journey. The crisis in Top Gun was the huge dog fight over the Pacific Ocean. The obstacles: Maverick's ego, the haunting from his best friend's death, his fight to discipline himself and adhere to the rules and procedures learned at the Top Gun Academy.
  6. Conclusion This is the denouement. The ending where everything comes together and all questions are answered. I have that in my story. The conclusion in Top Gun was Maverick finding Charlie Blackwood in the bar where they met and played the song he sang to her back then, "You've Lost That Loving Feeling."
I'll leave on a note: The conclusion in a Romance Novel is the answer to the question "Does he get the girl?" In which case for a Romance Novel, the answer is always YES!

Check out your next project and tell us if they include these 6 "C" words.



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