by CLW |
June 19, 2018 · 9:00 am
13 Questions/Thoughts/Exercises to Help the Conflict in your Novel
- What IS the conflict in your novel?
- What does your main character want?
- What five ways do you keep your character from getting what he wants?
- Do you start the story in the right place? Is it the day something new happens? Is a conflict hinted at on page one? Is the major conflict revealed as the main character moves forward into the beginning of the middle of the novel?
- What is the part of your story that creates the most tension? Why?
- Write your main plot as a yes or no question. In film, this is the major dramatic question (MDQ).
- What is the definition of “inciting incident?” Joseph Campbell says it’s a call to action for the main character. What does this mean?
- What is the inciting incident, or that first point of no return, for your main character?
- Write the inciting incident from several (at least three) points of view. How does each character view this event? Is your main character the most interesting?
- Remember these? What is your book and why?
- Man against man
- Man against society
- Man against self
- Man again nature
- Man against technology
- Make sure you have only ONE main plot or you will wrestle trying to control and write plots of equal weight. While you should have subplots, none should be more important than that problem you reveal in the MDQ.
- I think some of the best conflicts result from relationships. What are you finding in your book?
- Our good friend Richard Peck said, “You are no better than your first line.” And that’s the truth with everything. Make sure each thing you write, is your best. Always.
by CLW |
July 5, 2017 · 9:15 am
Over on Facebook, my friend Matthew S Armstrong is challenging artists to draw every day for one month. All this month of July! Fill a sketchbook!
My youngest is doing this. So far, so good. She shows me each evening.
This month of July I want to–again–write one first line of a new book everyday. Five minutes to do it. Great opening lines. If it takes less than five minutes, I can write line 2, 3, 4. But it can’t take longer. Five minutes to get something new on the page, daily.
Remember Richard Peck? You’re no better than your first line? That opening is a key. The entryway.
As I have done this first line on a new novel before (three minutes to write them then!), I’ve found I need a few moments to think. Think about what I might want this book to be, otherwise I can’t do it. Not for 30 days straight. I don’t often start an idea with a line of writing.
I read somewhere that the opening line of a book should have voice, a little bit of mystery and character in it. Can you do that with each start?
That opening is also a promise of what is to come. It’s exciting!
So join in. With Matthew or me or both of us.
by CLW |
May 17, 2017 · 10:19 am
Sometimes we have characters in our novels that just aren’t doing anything to move the plot along.
Perhaps we like this character and so we mold and shape him. We give him the correct lines, witty banter. We even make him wowzers handsome.
Here’s the truth of it.
That guy’s gotta go.
If he ain’t pulling his weight, no matter how dynamic he is, you gotta get rid of him.
Look at the earlier writing prompt where you drew a circle, with your main character in the middle. All those lines lead to characters in the novel. Are they all important? Can you do without a few? Are there any people not doing their duty?
Every person who shows up in a book must DO something. No talking heads. No mannequins (unless you are Richard Peck writing SECRETS OF THE SHOPPING MALL. Mannequins WERE used in that story.)
So, get rid of all those who are weighing down the story.
And if they are super cool? Use them in another book.
by CLW |
April 27, 2017 · 7:33 am
Write 25 first lines for your novel.
Jot them down quickly (you already have a first line, and you’re working on a book, so you know where you’re going–this will be an easy exercise), a minute or less per line.
That first line is a promise to your reader. It can show voice, hint at character and plot, show mood and it certainly should grab the reader.
So what are you doing with YOUR book opening?
Remember, Richard Peck (LONG WAY FROM CHICAGO, A YEAR DOWN YONDER) says, “You are no better than your first line.”
Once Richard read the first few pages of my novel that is under consideration right now. “You don’t have your best first line,” he said. He was right. I chopped off the first paragraph AND learned a valuable lesson from a great writer.
Filed under First Line, Life, Publication, Revision, Uncategorized, Voice
Tagged as 25 first lines, a promise to the reader, A Year Down Yonder, Long Way from Chicago, One Writing Prompt a Day Until WIFYR 2017, Richard Peck