If you truly love your craft, you’ll never turn your nose up at a little more education. When I learn something good from friends, family or an occasional book, I feel the need to share. A particular nugget of goodness came to me from “Writing for Emotional Impact” by Karl Iglesias. On page 31 of his book, he offers this advice where concept is concerned. “Ask yourself this question: what’s the worst thing that can happen to your character?”
Turns out, it’s the best question ever! Yesterday, out of nowhere another YA idea came to me, but I had no idea what direction I wanted to take my character in until that question typed its way onto my screen. “What is the worst thing that can happen to your character?” As soon as I read it, I knew exactly where my story was headed. Three thousand words later, a plot was in place clear through chapter 7.
Here are a few more cookies for your writer sweet jar. A little detail here and there can help focus the reader’s attention and make your scene feel more real. Be specific where you can, qualify what you should and resist the urge to overstate. Also, don’t force a scene into being something it’s not. If it moves, let it move. Don’t bog it down with paragraph upon paragraph of info that doesn’t add excitement. Decide if your sequence is movement or emotional. Both have elements of each other, but one requires a shallow approach while the other demands depth.
Last but not least, a very wise, very lovely crit partner of mine says get out of your own way. Not everything has to be perfect on the first, second or even third try. Drafts are drafts for a reason. Each one gets cleaner; each one teaches us something new and each one turns author potential into author greatness.
To all my writers, go forth and draft it up! I’m waiting for your story.