Monday, January 21, 2013

Pull it together, baby!

While cleaning out a few messy spots in my office basket, I came across a Writers Digest article from 2005. Yes, my cleaning and purging are long overdue, but I'm so glad I held on to this article, entitled "Pull it together." As I work on my fifth Logan Hunter mystery, I need to read the article once again.  It's all about plot. Well, I have a pretty darn good plot, I think, but it has some serious holes in it right now, so I thought I'd loosely share some of the gems I gleaned from this article by James Scott Bell.

First, the plot must thrust the protagonist into some kind of quest, searching for another person, evidence, knowledge or inner peace. In order to accomplish that, the writer (you and me) must create a character who is incomplete in some way, and whatever s/he is searching for must be important and worthwhile, or readers won't care.

Then the writer has to throw boulders, both real and imaginary obstacles in the way to keep the protag from reaching the goal. By the end of the quest or journey, the main character should have changed (usually for the better). If not, the ending is a tragedy.

As the article declares "The quest is a powerful pattern because it mirrors our own journey through life. We encounter challenges, suffer setbacks and victories but move on."

In the manuscript I'm writing now, this statement rings true, mirroring sometimes too closely my own journey through life. Can you say the same? What kind of journey are you sending your main characters on, and how much of yourself have you intertwined within the work? Leave a comment for a chance to win your choice of my mysteries.

1 comment:

Nina Romano said...

Loved this little piece I read just now. As a writer who suffers and loses sleep over plotting, this was concise and a good reminder. Thanks.