Monday, July 29, 2013

Writing Tip 14/100

Thanks for the feedback. I'm glad to hear that a lot of you are enjoying the tips. It's been a good thing for me to get back in the habit of blogging. Jacob asked a great question yesterday. "How do you bridge the gap between a realistic scene and a scene that feels forced?"

There are a couple of ways to approach this. One is to ask yourself if the scene is the right thing to have happen at that point in the story. More than once I've had an editor point out to me that a scene isn't working because I'm trying to force it. When that's the case, I usually go back and rewrite the scene.

However, sometime you need the scene to occur, but it's just not believable. Your protagonist is doing something that's out of character or not justified by their current motivations. That's when you have to look at the force that's keeping them from doing what you want and come up with a stronger force to make them do it.

Want your MC to enter the haunted house? What if she hears someone in danger inside? What if something even scarier forces her into the house? Want your couple to fall in love after they've been arguing like cats and dogs? Is there something they can discover about each other they didn't know? Can they become united against a common evil?

In Zombie Kid, I needed Nick to go into the swamp behind his grandmother's house because that's where he finds the amulet. The problem is that the swamp has alligators in it, his parents have forbidden him to go in, and it's night and the swamp is spooky.

In order to offset those, I had him be mad at his parents, follow the cat, get a note telling him to trust the cat, find a trail with his great aunt's footprints, and tell himself he would only go a little way in. By themselves they might not have been enough. But together and done in the right sequence, they seemed to work.

Tomorrow, I'll talk about forcing emotion.

1 comment:

David Glenn said...

Also very good advice. I'll definitely need to remember this for later.