Sometimes we put our character in a situation when they really need a complication.
A situation is self-contained, and there’s only one way out. A complication opens up to more possibilities.
Think about Pixar’s The Incredibles. We start out with Mr. Incredible trying to get to his wedding on time. Interesting situation, sure, but just a situation. Either he’ll get there or he won’t.
Then there’s a complication: a suicidal jumper. Mr. Incredible saves the man, but encounters a new complication—a burglary in progress. As he deals with that, another complication arises when a young fan interferes.
Through the complications, Mr. Incredible is repeatedly forced to act. His desires come to light. The stakes are raised the later it gets. The plot thickens when his young fan grows to resent him. The situation might be the important part of the plot, but it is the complications that give our character depth and set the story in motion.
Take a look at the outline of your novel. Are there situations where there could be complications?
The League of Utah Writers, another writer’s group I’ve been a member of for decades, had their spring workshop yesterday at the Larry H. Miller complex. Margot Hovley was among the many speakers/presenters who conducted sessions on a wide variety of writerly subjects . . . and a hearty thanks to all who served!
Margot’s presentation was on POV — reminders of “rules” I was much in need of reviewing. When she began talking about 2nd person — the “you” factor — she asked if anyone had ever read a book written in that voice. No hands were raised, but I found myself thinking back to my high school years: I wrote what turned out to be an award-winning essay . . . in 2nd person. It was called “Basement” and began “You’re thinking you can’t do it again. You hate that basement with it’s dust and dirt, it’s cobwebs . . .” But I’d been asked by my grandmother to go down there (again!) and bring up a bottle of something or other from the fruitroom. It was one of those funny, but creepy, pieces about chores young people hate performing, and followed me down into the darksome basement, into the lighted (thank you!) fruit room and back again.
It was fun to write, and my mother made me read it to the family when it won a prize. But, oh, my grandmother! She was mortified! “Our basement isn’t that dirty!” I don’t think she bought my excuse of “poetic license.”
So here’s my question for you, dear readers: Do you know of any books written in 2nd person? Margot mentioned ONE title in passing, but I couldn’t hear what the title was. Later, recalling how much fun it was to write (at least a SHORT piece) this way, I thought it would be interesting to fool around with it on something longer, but I’d love to read an example. Titles? Any one? ANYONE?
Stacked up on my desk–a book to finish reading, two books to edit, one more to almost edit, and today–day two of writing my new book.
I’m excited about this new novel. Set in 1969, I’ve decided it takes place in a month–right in that span of time of the moon landing, the Sharon Tate murders and Woodstock. While none of those will be significant to my 10 your old character (except the moon walk [!!!!]), I have to say that I am THRILLED with this new idea.
As this is the start of the weekend for me, I’ve lots planned. And number one (not including family) is writing.
Want to join me for a mini write-a-thon?
Let me know. I’d like 5,000 words on this new piece by Saturday evening.