Today, I'm "In the Spotlight" on author Maer Wilson's blog. Stop by and visit. I'm talking about books and writing.
By: Janice Hardy
A quick heads up--my first post is up over at Pub(lishing) Crawl, where I'm talking about what to do when writing is no longer fun. Come on over and say hello when you're done here.
The sheer number of plotting questions I get both here and in person is a good indicator that plotting is something a lot of writers struggle with. It's not a craft issue really, because you can write some beautiful prose and still have trouble creating a good plot.
I've had many a brainstorming session with many a stuck or struggling writer, and over the years I've noticed a few questions keep coming up.
What does the protagonist hope to gain?
Why is the protagonist doing it?
Basically, what's the character's goal and what's the motivation for trying to achieve that goal.
More times than not I get blank stares when I ask these questions. Then the writer answers with a general reason, like the character has to stop at the store because that's where he gets kidnapped. But this isn't why the character is stopping at the store, it's just what has to happen for the plot.
I keep pushing until the writer can tell me what and why, or until they smack me in the head (just kidding, though a lot of them probably want to).
Characters need to want things for plausible reasons to create a good plot. If all they're doing is acting out the steps from inciting event to climax, there's a good chance the novel will feel meh. Lifeless, soulless, not very compelling even if the plot itself is technically a solid plot.
(More on making readers care here)
Pick a scene from your current novel and ask:
To read the rest of the post, click here.
If you missed my writing & marketing tweets and retweets yesterday, here they are again:
- I Made A Lousy Book Cover Once. Learn From My (and Other's) Mistakes http://ow.ly/tcg6X
- The Other Side of the Story: Is It a Genre That Starts With F? Breaking Down Genres http://ow.ly/tcgyE
- Visual Social Media, How Images Improve Your Social Media Marketing Social Media Examiner http://ow.ly/tcgHl
- The Unexpected Way to Write Killer Content: Blog from Your Heart and Break All the Rules : @ProBlogger http://ow.ly/tcgJn
- Drive More Traffic Using Hashtags! - YouTube http://ow.ly/tcicc
- 5 Surefire Ways to Increase Your Follower Count http://ow.ly/tcize
- 5 Ways to Use Pinterest for Book Promotion — Self Publishing Team http://ow.ly/tcj7C
- Friendlier photo sharing is here | Twitter Blogs http://ow.ly/tcjr0
- The Thin Line Between Selling Your Book and Sabotaging it | Wise Ink's Blog for Indie Authors about Self-Publishing http://ow.ly/tcjIO
- The Other Side of the Story: Two Questions to Ask for Stronger Character Goals and Motivations http://ow.ly/tcOKB
- Nick's Writing Blog: Review: KDP Select Cracked http://ow.ly/tcOZN
- Getting Physical: Ways to Make Your Characters Come Alive … by Lori DeBoer | Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers http://ow.ly/tcP2r
- 7 Essential Questions of Plot — Do You Ask Them? | Writers In The Storm Blog http://ow.ly/tcP4t
- 4 Things You Must Know About Reaching Your Writing Goals - Women Writers, Women Books http://ow.ly/tcP8C
- The Trilogy, Why For Art Thou? | Tor.com http://ow.ly/tcPbV
- Dialogue and Conflict - Writers Write http://ow.ly/tcPeD 10 Ways to Introduce Conflict in Dialogue
- As New Services Track Habits, the E-Books Are Reading You - NYTimes.com http://ow.ly/tcPkl
- Using Story Beats To Increase Writing Speed | David Gaughran http://ow.ly/tcPm7