It happens to us all.
We're writing along in our C.A.R. (conflict, action, resolution) when WAM!
We run into a brick wall. Our muse deserts us. And we find ourselves mired in the middle of a chapter with no ideas as to how to get out.
Now, most of us will think a colorful metaphor or two at this time.
I want you to instead think _WOW!
W ..... Want
O ..... Obstacle
W ..... Way
I. First WANT
No, not your want. Not even the want of your main character. The WANT of your reader ... which is ...
A POWERFUL EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE.
A.) Emotion is the life's blood of all fiction : romance, thriller, mystery, horror, and science fiction.
B.) But it doesn't come from reading about the other guy having a terrible, challenging time. No, it doesn't.
C.) It comes from the reader BECOMING THAT CHARACTER to ...
find love, face that horrendous terror, fight that unbeatable foe, solve that baffling mystery ... to win.
D.) The reader becomes your main character when ...
1.) You lure them into the mind and heart of your MC.
2.) By speaking of the common angst we all have :
loneliness, alienation, yearning for love, desire for esteem in the eyes of significant others.
3.) Make them laugh, even if there are tears. The reader will return to your books again and again if you can do that.
4.) What is the worst prison punishment short of execution?
We all need to connect. Bereft of that link to another human soul we wither inside.
5.) Your main character must seem real to the reader, must reflect some spark or lack within the reader herself.
Her wounds must bleed real blood. Their pain must echo throughout the remaining pages. Her triumph over them will be all the more uplifting to the reader.
II. Second Want :
A.) The WANT of your MC.
B.) If you're mired down in a chapter, see if you can find the WANT of the MC or her adversary in it.
C.) If you can't or if it is not immediate and primal ... there's your problem.
I. Obstacle is related to WANT
A.) How do you make someone want something?
Say they can't have it.
See a "Don't Touch. Wet Paint" sign, and what do you do?
You touch the blasted wall, don't you? Sure you do.
B.) Your OBSTACLE is directly tied in to your MC's WANT. If you've done your craft right __ the WANT's basic nature carries within it, its own obstacle.
C.) And that nature is CHANGE
Getting the WANT will change your MC's life drastically.
Not getting it will change it for the worse.
II.) Look at your trouble chapter :
If the OBSTACLE is not primal, immediately threatening, and nearly overwhelming ... there's your problem.
A.) Most readers would love to change their lives ...
B.) to add more excitement
to add a sensual, seductive love interest to their days
to finally achieve control and mastery over their jobs or problems.
A.) This is not just another way to say action ...
though it always involves action.
B.) WAY springs from the manner your MC goes about tackling the OBSTACLE.
It must ring true to your MC's basic nature :
1.) Each person has their own style that manifests itself in how she sees and solves her OBSTACLE.
2.) In A TALE OF TWO CITIES, Sydney Carton loves another man's wife. He sacrifices himself to save him so that the woman he loves is not shattered.
3.) In real life, 28 year old D.H. Lawrence loves 32 year old Frieda Weekley, unhappy wife and mother of three children. He runs off to Europe with her, making violent love, writing poems that shake up the literary world,
There are only two things now,
The great black night scooped out
And this fire-glow.
This fire-glow, the core,
And we the two ripe pips
That are held in store.
Listen, the darkness rings
As it circulates round our fire.
Take off your things.
Your shoulders, your bruised throat!
Your breasts, your nakedness!
This fiery coat!
As the darkness flickers and dips,
As the firelight falls and leaps
From your feet to your lips!
and, alas, sees her "share her abundance with acquaintances" along their European trek.
4.) Both WAYS sprang from the basic nature of the man involved. Both were true. Both WAYS stir strong emotion when you read them, don't they?
C.) WAY must spring from the three act nature of any novel :
The stage is set, the conflict painted, and the characters have fun.
The rug is pulled out from under the MC, the adversary draws blood, all seems lost.
The stakes are raised, the MC rises from the ashes, a last ditch duel to the finish comes to a resounding climax, where the adversary is defeated but with great cost.
1.) If you are mired in a chapter, check to see where you are in your novel, the beginning, the middle, or towards the end.
2.) If you cannot see the fun in the beginning, then THERE'S your problem.
If it's in the middle, and the rug's not being pulled out in some devastating way, BINGO.
And if your MC and adversary are blowing kisses at each towards the end, you have found the bedrock of your problem -- and you're one sick puppy.
*) Happy Christmas Season, Everyone!
I hope this post helped you in some small way to make it out of the next pothole you fall into. Roland
Christmas makes me think of New Year's Eve for some reason :
The Great American Eclipse 2017
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