February 3, 2013 by Kiersi
When everything goes to hell in a handbasket in Star Wars: A New Hope
Most authors I know agree with one thing about writing a novel:
Middles are the worst.
It’s true. They are. Middles are like the sagging back of an old horse, the rope suspension bridge between Beginning and End that is slowly unraveling, and probably not safe for more than one person to cross at a time.
I totally get that. Somewhere after the inciting incident (about 10,000 words in) and before the build up to the climax (about 15,000 words from the end) you have to, you know–make stuff happen. Fill all that empty, soggy space between Point A and Point B. And it can be really hard to make that middle stuff not feel slow and muddy to the reader.
As I’m revising my middle-grade manuscript, Gryphon, I’ve discovered a few tricks for making middles not only not suck, but possibly become the best part of your novel.
1. Raise the stakes. This “tip” gets thrown around a lot, and for a long time I wasn’t really sure how one could implement such broad-sided advice. (more…)
Category: How-to | Tags: comedy, conflict, how-to, improving your novel, middles, revising, stakes, tension, writing | 11 Comments
June 29, 2012 by Kiersi
After last week’s Dick and Jane post about buffing up your story or manuscript with conflict, a commenter suggested I discuss and share some ways this can be accomplished. What kinds of conflicts do people have? What are some ways to integrate them into your manuscript?
1. Characterization is key. I referred to this loosely in the comments as “just make everyone a big, fat jerk,” but that’s not really the whole story.
Let’s start with this: people are twits. I mean, just look at these teenagers who mercilessly taunted a volunteer school bus monitor. A quick and easy way to create conflict in a story is to make one of your characters act like a total and complete asshat. If you’re like me and generally writing young adult fiction, that should be easy enough to do–a teenager can vacillate between being an angel and a demon faster than you can say “adolescence.” He inflames others around him. He starts arguments. He causes continental drift. (more…)
Category: How-to | Tags: characterization, conflict, disasters, expectations, family, nature, romance, YA | 2 Comments
June 18, 2012 by Kiersi
“How are you today?”
“I’m fine. How are you?”
“I’m fine. Would you like to go for a jog down the hill?” (more…)
Category: How-to | Tags: conflict, Dick and Jane, storytelling | 12 Comments