Ethan Russell Erway was the latest speaker for Friday Night Writes at Dog-Eared Pages Bookstore in northeast Phoenix.
Ethan writes children’s adventure books and science fiction novellas and you can find his work here. I really enjoyed listening to his no-nonsense, down-to-earth approach to writing. The thing that kept me thinking all weekend was the section on using formulas in writing. He said to study things you like.
He used the Indiana Jones movies as an example. They have a cool character introduction, a group of stock characters including the main villain, a secondary villain, a muscle man (or woman), and a female lead.
Lastly are the plot elements such as an opening sequence, introduction to the main artifact, an adventurous chase scene, ancient booby-traps and the basic arc of story telling. If you love Indian Jones and want to write something similar think about who could be your cool character.
My example: Marjorie Adams, a professor of ancient literature who goes on searches for documents from the earliest of times. Mortimer Handley is after the same documents because he has an obsession for collecting these documents and the money and means to keep them all to himself. His right-hand man, Dirk Means, has a deep dark secret that Handley uses to keep him under control. Patrick Gibson is an extremely handsome mystery man who ends up helping Marjorie in her quest because his father was killed by Handley many years before while searching for a document.
See how you can take the basic story and start making it your own way. I think I would also be sure Marjorie has a big dog of some kind that is her constant companion.
Another thing that Ethan gave us was a list of books showing how many words they have. I’ve often heard the question about how many words make a novel. We are visual and I think many will find this as interesting as I did. He gave this link for a similar list.
I learned a lot from this speaker as he worked us through getting an idea to suggestions for editing and self-publishing. I hope to hear him again sometime.