A Guest and a Giveaway!

For those of you participating in A to Z, you're off to a good start. Congratulations!

For everyone else, this is the regular April post at the Tiki Hut.

Whichever works for you.

It's been a while since I've hosted a guest, but I have one this month and one next month. My April guest is Hank Quense, introduced to me via the fab Mason Canyon at MC Book Tours.

Y'all have a great month. I'll be around, still working on trilogy and blog related things. You'll see a few changes going on here. No worries - it's just me. Unless you see something truly weird and un-Tiki-like. In which case, please let me know.

One last bit of information before I turn you over to my guest. You're all invited to subscribe to my newsletter!
It will be sporadic, depending solely on book-related news and/or events.
It will be as short as possible.
There will be prizes! You have to sign up to find out what they are 🙂
Thanks in advance for your support.

It’s a pleasure to be participating in the Blog Tour for CREATING STORIES by Hank Quense through MC Book Tours.

Do you have a story in you? Do you know how to write it or how to tell it? Well, CREATING STORIES has the answers. In addition, Hank is offering a tour-wide giveaway featuring of five (5) eBooks of CREATING STORIES and three (3) print copies of the author’s MOXIE'S PROBLEM (U.S. entries only). See how you can enter to win below. If you don’t want to wait to win a copy of CREATING STORIES, Hank is offering a special ‘half price’ sale that will only be available during his tour (March 20 through April 14).

Hank, the author of more than twenty books, tells you how to write your story. He believes that stories come from the melding of three elements: getting ideas, story design, and story-telling. Ideas have to come from the author. CREATING STORIES covers the last two.

Creating Stories
by Hank Quense
  • Published by Strange World Publishing
  • AVAILABLE April 1, 2017
  • $8.99, 9947 KB, 105 Pages
  • Genre: Fiction Writing
  • ASIN: B01MZ6E3EM

          The book concentrates on developing characters including such rarely discussed requirements such as a dominant reader emotion and the character's biography.
          Plots are also covered in depth and a number of graphics are included to illustrate complex points. Another topic discusses subplots and how to utilize them and how to nest them within the main plot.
          A separate chapter discusses the relationship between the plot and the emotional arcs.
Other topics covered are character arcs, scene design, point-of-view, writing voice.

Be sure to add CREATING STORIES to your shelf on Goodreads.

 Here's a brief excerpt:

From chapter 5 of Creating Stories
Think about your protagonist.  He has to solve a plot problem.  That's the character's job.  Your character has to get up off the couch, go out into the cruel world and possibly risk his life in order to solve the problem.
Why should he go through all this effort?  That's the question you, the author, have to answer.  What's the character's motivation?  Why does he feel he has to solve the problem?  Why doesn't he say, "Let someone else do it."  Or, "I'm too busy." Or, "Maybe I'll do it later."
The lack of proper motivation is a death knell for a story.  The reader will never buy into a story in which the protagonist has a half-hearted motive.  Not only does the character have to be truly motivated, the author has to convince the reader that the character's motivation is real; that the character truly believes he has to solve the plot problem.  The more serious the plot problem is, the stronger the motivation has to be.  You can't have a dilatory effort to track down a serial killer.  Nor can you have an all-out effort by the entire cast to find a Mother's Day card.  If the characters are risking their lives, the motivation has to reflect the seriousness of the situation.
Simply put, motivation is what drives the protagonist to solve the plot problem and it's what drives the antagonist to struggle to prevent the good guy from succeeding.  Both the protagonist and the antagonist have to be motivated and these two motivations have to be commensurate in strength.  You can't have a highly motivated protagonist facing off against an antagonist who is only mildly motivated.
To complicate the motivation problem, the motivation has to be consistent with the character's persona.  A meek, mild-mannered character can’t suddenly start acting like a combat-experienced mercenary. 
Motivation is another area where what you can do and what the character can do is limited by the character you built.  Motivation has to be in sync with the DRE, the philosophy and the bio you gave the character.  If all these elements don’t match each other, the character's actions will not be believable, because his actions from scene to scene will not be consistent.
Inner and outer motivation:  A complex character, the kind readers love, should have both outer and inner motivation.  The outer motive is fairly easy to develop.  It is usually based on solving the plot problem.  Once this problem is resolved, the outer motive has been met.  The inner motive is more complicated.  It can be almost anything and doesn't have to be related to the plot problem.  The best combination of motives is a pair of mutually exclusive ones; the protagonist can't achieve one without giving up the other.  This constraint sets up natural internal conflict in the character and can lead to unexpected plot twists that will keep the reader involved.  Effectively, the author has constructed an engine of motivation and anti-motivation.
As an example of conflicting inner and outer motives, consider this situation: the protagonist has to rescue a man trapped on a mountain.  He does this because it's his job.  That's the protag's outer motive.  But the rescued man is engaged to the woman the protag loves.  That is the protag's inner motive; to romance the woman of his dreams whom he'll lose if he succeeds with his outer motive.  It is easy to see the great internal conflict that will harass this protagonist.  Should he let the guy die and then try to marry the woman?  Should he rescue the guy and lose the woman?
This combination of competing inner and outer motives can draw readers into the story and hold them.  Will the character murder for love or selflessly lose the woman?  Whatever he does, it must be consistent with his persona.  If he is narcissistic, he may choose murder.  If he is law-abiding, he may elect to save the guy.  Whatever he chooses to do, his motivation must be made clear to the reader.
Antagonist's motivation:  Successful stories need conflict, tension and emotions from more than just the protagonist.  If a properly motivated protagonist strives to solve the plot problem and doesn't encounter an equally motivated antagonist, the story will lack the conflict that produces the tension that leads to emotional outbursts.  Hence, the author must develop strong motives for the bad guy to keep the struggle equal.  The stronger the bad guy's motives, the stronger the story will be.
~ ~ ~
If you have any questions or comments on this material, leave a note and I'll respond.

About the Author:

Hank Quense writes humorous and satiric sci-fi and fantasy stories. 

He also writes and lectures about fiction writing and self-publishing. He has published 19 books and 50 short stories along with dozens of articles. He often lectures on fiction writing and publishing and has a series of guides covering the basics on each subject. He is currently working on a third Moxie novel that takes place in the Camelot era.

He and his wife, Pat, usually vacation in another galaxy or parallel universe. They also time travel occasionally when Hank is searching for new story ideas.

You can connect with Hank on his Amazon Author Page.

You can check out the schedule and follow Hank’s tour by clicking HERE.


This tour-wide giveaway is for five (5) eBooks of CREATING STORIES and three (3) print copies of the author’s MOXIE'S PROBLEM (U.S. entries only). The prizes are courtesy of the publisher. The giveaway will end at 12 a.m. (EST) on Tuesday, April 18.

To enter, click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. Carol here. In the past, Rafflecopter has refused to acknowledge my existence. So if this link from Mason doesn't work, check at the MC Book Tours site and find out where to go to sign up.

Thanks for stopping by today. Be sure to check out Hank’s book.

I'll be back here with a new guest on
Monday, May 1


Without motivation, it's a really boring story.
Will sign up for newsletter! Unless I'm already getting it.
Mason Canyon said…
Carol, you're the fab one. Thanks for being a part of Hank's tour. Motivation is a key element in creating realistic characters.

MC Book Tours
H. R. Sinclair said…
Ooo, great stuff. I love writing books! I'm tweeting this too!
Anonymous said…
Hi Alex. I Agree. without proper motivation, the story fails.
Anonymous said…
ey Southpaw. Thanks for spreading the word with your tweets.
I signed up for your newsletter - and love your writing partners.
And Mason.
Loved your guest interview too. Perhaps a lack of personal motivation is what makes my own (real) life on the dull side...
Carol Kilgore said…
Alex - Thank you!

Mason - My pleasure.

H.R. - Thanks for the tweet.

E.C. - Thank you! Arf and Woof thank you, too :)

Hank - Thank you for blogging with me this month. You may want to check back throughout the week for more comments. Especially on Wednesday.
Anonymous said…
I will be checking back, Carol
L. Diane Wolfe said…
If the main character has a goal, that could easily be his motivation.
Nasreen said…
Awesome of Hank Quense to share with all of us and thanks for the giveaway!
Anonymous said…
This is true, L. Diane, but the key motivational question is WHY? Why does the character agree to pursue the plot problem. Why doesn't the character say, "Screw this. I don't have time for this nonsense."
Crystal Collier said…
Here's wishing you speed and success with your trilogy!

Hank, awesome thoughts about motivation. I found myself nodding along.
cleemckenzie said…
Signed up for your newsletter! I now get about 100. I guess everyone has a newsletter these days. :-) also signed up for a free book. Can't pass that up. Thanks for introducing us to the author.
Anonymous said…
Hey Crystal. Thanks for kind words

Clemmckenzie: I hope you win.
Carol Kilgore said…
Diane & Nas - Thanks for visiting. Good luck!

Crystal - Thanks! There are days I go crazy and others when everything is smooth.

Lee - Thank you! I feel like I'm the only writer without one. That's changing :)
Have fun working on your trilogy, Carol.
Great piece on motivation, Hank.
Carol Kilgore said…
Lynda - Thanks. I was just getting used to not having Gracie around, and now she's back :)
Anonymous said…
Thank you, Lynda
Unknown said…
Finally getting on board the newsletter train, huh? I have one too. It has about 25 subscribers and I've never sent one out. I recently talked with a mystery writer who has over 500 subscribers & polled them to find out what they want most in the newsletters. The #1 answer? Free books. #2 answer was info about discounts on her books. So until I get more stories I can give away, my little newsletter will remain only a thought... Congrats to Hank on his new release!
DMS said…
Wonderful to hear from Hank! Sounds like a great resource for writers. I don't have an ereaders, but I was excited to enter the giveaway for the print copy of Moxie's Problem.

Have a great April! :)
Carol Kilgore said…
Lexa - Great info to have about what readers want. I'll be doing some of that, but not initially. Like you I don't have enough books out there for too much of that. It will come.

Jess - Very cool! Good luck :)
LD Masterson said…
Creating Stories really caught my interest. I entered the giveaway and signed up for your newsletter.
Carol Kilgore said…
Linda - Thank you! Happy Easter ♥
We hope you're having an awesome April. We signed up for your newsletter. Sporadic we can handle. Just no advertisements for boner pills, yeah? We've already got plenty of those (e-mails, not boner pills).
Carol Kilgore said…
Beer - LOL! I promise. Thank you ♥
Is Hank's book available as an ebook?
I've signed up for your newsletter, Carol! *waving*
Carol Kilgore said…
Michelle - I did find both Creating Stories and Moxie's Problem available as Kindle books on Amazon. Thanks for signing up for my newsletter :)