Hi friends. So I'm in the midst of more works-in-progress than I've ever been in the midst of before. It keeps me super productive, because if I get stuck, I can just hop over to another manuscript and keep typing. But that also means it will take approximately 700 years before any of them are done. Don't worry, I'm going to figure it out. Really. *gulp*
If you'd like to come along for the ride, I've decided to post about little hiccups (and maybe big, arm-flailing air gasps) I encounter along the way, with exercises at the end. As my mom would say, "How thrilling."
Today, as most days, I'm struggling with plot. I asked my mom, "Can you help me with plot?" and she was like, "NO, leave me alone." But then she said, "Plot comes from character." Then she turned up the volume on The Price is Right, so I guess we were done.
When I write YA, I usually hum along, plotting and charactering in equal measure for the first draft, then go back and do the heavy lifting in revision. Which sort of works. But I'm working on a couple fast-paced middle grades right now, and what I'm realizing in these particular two cases is that the plot cannot happen without the character first. I've been tweaking and bending this one story until it's just a pulpy mass of ghosts and chihuahuas running around for no reason, and it's all because the main character doesn't have that inherent character-plot tension.
So that's what I'm working on today.
Here's the exercise part:
This is a fun jumping off nugget for writers of all ages: Character [has this quality/quirk/belief] but encounters [this situation that directly challenges it].
Cop with crippling fear of dogs must go undercover at a National Dog Show.
Smartest kid in school goes to summer camp where everyone is the smartest kid in their school.
Kindergarten teacher's secret agent spouse is missing -- to the rescue!