Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Traveling Tips for Writers: Part II

A couple weeks ago I started explaining what tools I make sure I have in my writing suitcase as I launch on a new writing adventure. Those included a killer what if, a lead character I can build a story around, and a setting that can become a character in the book. Since it's still vacation season, I want to share the next items I want before I begin writing. 

4) Commitment. Writing a book is a long-term project. It's not something that can be done in the span of a few days. Instead it's a project I will return to over and over again. That means I have to be willing to sacrifice some activities and plant my fanny in the chair time after time until I read the end of 20,000, 60,000, or 90,000 words. Stopping before then will lead to an incomplete book. And I firmly believe a book isn't really finished until readers have interacted with it. So commitment is an absolute must!

5) Conflict. The next item that is absolutely critical to my book journey is conflict. Have I created sufficient conflict to propel my characters through 300 pages? Is it enough conflict matched with goals and motivation to keep readers engaged. If not, I need to keep working on the plot. A book that can be really helpful when you're trying to wrap your writing muscles around conflict is GMC: Goals, Motivation & Conflict. It's a helpful explanation of the roles these three internal and external motivators play in driving characters through a plot.

6) Twists. No vacation or journey would be complete without a few unexpected detours and twists. This is a key part of any novel. Something unexpected needs to happen to kick the hero or heroine away from their goals. And then it needs to happen again. And then again. They need to feel so low, they think there is no way they can recover from the twists and danger.  You have to be mean to the characters through the twists. We don't necessarily want to be mean on vacation, but if you don't do it in your book, it will lead to a put-downable book. 

What would you add to the writer's suitcase?  

An award-winning author of more than twenty-two books, Cara is a lecturer on business and employment law to graduate students at Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management. Putman also practices law and is a second-generation homeschooling mom. She lives with her husband and four children in Indiana.


Robin E. Mason said...

the timing is just too funny!! i got home yesterday from vacation! had to make myself NOT touch my WIP!!! and lemme tell ya, there were so many twists i was dizzy! so much so that my blog will be [part 2] The Blur! LOL

will check for part one of your posts here, Cara! always good info, thanks!

Amy Leigh Simpson said...