Thursday, December 17, 2009

Writing Lessons From Miserability

While 'miserability' might not be a word, I've re-learned a writing lesson during the crafting of my current dragon story. The first encounter with the dragon went relatively well for the heroes and, after some ominous foreshadowing, they went about their business towards the middle of the story. After a couple of stabs at setting up the middle, I realized my problem was that everything was all sunshine and lollipops for them, with nothing really driving the action to the climax. Even though it meant I had to chuck a major idea that would have been part of the middle, I had to ramp up the tension by changing the end of the previous scene and making their situation a little (and by 'little' I mean 'lot') more difficult. With my characters suitably miserable, the middle is cracking along with some drive and drama. Sucks to be them. But after all, that's what they get paid for.


Keanan Brand said...

We just covered this in the novel-writing club at the Boys & Girls Club: plot means problems, so toss in everything you can think of to put a kink in the heroes' plans.

One storyline has the hero rescuing the girl from her evil father (it's always an evil parent -- gotta love how the teenage mind works), and the notion of throwing more and more problems at the rescue attempt was almost novel (no pun intended). But once the fourteen-year-old writer leaped that mental hurdle, the ideas started.

(Novel-writing club began with almost two-dozen kids back in September. The middle of December? Two.)

Jeff Draper said...

Keeping teenagers on task for anything longer than a Levi's commercial is a difficult thing.