Last week I reread To Kill A Mockingbird for the first time since high school. I even read my high school copy, which is covered in color coded highlighter marks and notes filling the margins of every single page.
In case you’re wondering if there were any incredible insights to the novel in those notes, there weren’t. But it was fascinating to look back and watch myself learn how to analyze. By the end of the novel I was better than at the beginning.
Like anything else, learning to analyze literature takes practice. For me, it really helped to mark up the books like crazy. Breaking up the page into separate colors helped me to deconstruct what I was reading.
Once you’re able to analyze literature and understand what separates the good and the bad, then you’ll be able to analyze your own writing. That’s when you learn how to elevate your writing from a “fun story” to serious literature.
I’ve heard more than once that another way to really “hurt” your protagonist is to kill (of at least seriously damage) the person he or she most cares about. Cruel, I know . . . but that’s what we need to do in order to jeopardize our MC in the most meaningful way. We’re here to make his or her life DIFFICULT !
But which character to choose as the sacrificial lamb? An ally or best friend? An unsuspected antagonist? A close relative? Someone your hero would die to save . . . but can’t, in this case?
This can be used to push your MC to the max. How will that make him act? Will he step up and do the right thing? Give up? Dissolve into tears? Go hide away from both friend and foe?
And, whichever he chooses, what comes next?
Think of three very different characters in your current WIP who could be your chosen victim. Write a short scene for EACH ONE, showing his defeat (whether death, disappearance, or whatever), and your MC’s reaction. Does he hear about it later? See the fated event? Not find out for many hours, days or weeks? And WHAT does he choose to do next?
I have fallen back into my bad old ways.
I finished my newest novel, and now I’m suddenly not motivated. I have written one paragraph for Nano and that’s it.
My addiction to Ally McBeal has gotten the best of me.
I need help! I need motivation! Areergghhg.
What are your guys distractions?
How do you avoid them?
Brenda–I love you.
Filed under CLW, Life, Plot