Tuesday, February 15, 2011
This is the third installment in the series I began 4 Tuesdays ago entitled Keep Yer Pants On, Plot By Numbers. You are welcome to visit the last three posts to see where I'm headed with this series... Post 1 and Post 2 and Post 3.
We've discussed Grabbing Your Reader By The Nose with a great first line and first paragraph. Hook the reader in and get them emotionally involved... and then BAM, you Rock Your Character's World!! Your character's world gets turned upside down (which draws the reader in even more).
Today, I'm talking about Hitting Your Character In The Jaw. Trust me, they'll thank you later.
As a writer, you must escalate the tension and draw it out. Remember when I said how your protag must face a conflict or challenge they can't easily solve? Sure you do, because your loyal followers of this series. *wink*
Obviously, if the challenge cannot be easily solved then Your Character *Has To Fail*... at least in the short run. After all, she's facing insurmountable odds, yes? She has to run into wall after wall, and meet frustration after frustration. You can even give her small successes and large failures. Through all of these challenges your character will grow and change. We all learn far more from our mistakes than from our victories, right?
We've also discussed how your character has an external struggle that she needs to overcome. But she should also have an internal conflict that needs to reconciled as well. As the story progresses and the challenges escalate, the consequences for not solving them should become more dire, which causes the reader to become more emotionally engaged.
And, by the time the protag meets the defining moment, aka The Climax, she will have made a discovery. A discovery about herself. A discovery about her world. A discovery about her powers and her control of them.
Come back next Tuesday for the final installment in the series. Deliver On Your Promise.