Story-fixing Your Novel––Part IV

plottingThis time we’re talking about setbacks. How can hindrances, hold-ups, delays, impediments, and obstructions to your protagonist can actually help move your story along? Click to Tweet #amwriting #story-fixing

There are three kinds of roadblocks to your protagonist, and you’re going to want to exploit all three kinds in your novel.

  1. Emotional: your protagonist can’t find peace, the answer(s), or hope they desperately need in order to continue the pursuit.
  2. Physical: villain escapes, the plan blows up, the hero gets wounded.
  3. Relational: misunderstandings, external pressures, broken promises (not to the readers, the characters to each other), relationships are plagued.

pen-and-padQuick Fix

Rather than give your protagonist small victories to build on, move the story forward by creating a series of setbacks and defeats that incrementally lead toward more discouragement and hopelessness. May your hero fail his way forward. Gee, I wish that could be true in real life.

Fine-Tuning Your Manuscript

  • Is there a dead-end? Do the characters find a detour? How will that affect the story’s flow? Have your revisions in mind as you work.
  • Do the hindrances bring the story to a crashing halt? Could things be re-routed? How can I use overlapping promises and dip into the three realms of struggles (internal, eternal, and interpersonal) to solve it?
  • What does the protagonist want to achieve? Will the readers identify with the goal? Can they cheer for the hero? If not, how can you reshape the character’s desires so readers can relate on a deeper personal level?
  • Have the action and tension escalated? Is there a setback on every page, something to drive the character toward their goal? What’s keeping the heroine from reaching her objective?
  • What techniques are you primarily using for escalation? Scenes and dialogue, exposition, description? Using misunderstandings is a better way that explanation for moving the story forward.

Keep tension and escalate your story through introducing one character setback after another. It will not only improve the character’s “character”, but will advance the story as well. Click to Tweet. #amwriting #story-fixing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

The Mickey Mindset

Celebrating the Art of Disney Storytelling

Live to Write - Write to Live

We live to write and write to live ... professional writers talk about the craft and business of writing

Kristen Lamb

Author, Blogger, Social Media Jedi

Joseph E Bird

Let's talk about reading, writing and the arts.

For a purpose

The blog site of Rick Wade

devotions4misfits

Where it is a good thing to be an outcast.

Cracked-Pot

We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; let your light shine through your cracked pot. Ring the bells that still can ring, Forget your perfect offering, there is a crack in everything, That's how the light gets in and comes out.

loon watchman

stark raving sane.

Diann Mills

Expect An Adventure

Kelly F Barr

"A story without love is empty." -- Kelly F. Barr

Beautiful Life with Cancer

Discovering the Gift

Vonj Production

Bringing you love through spirit!

A christian dad blog

Just a dad following God's path

Storyshucker

A blog full of humorous and poignant observations.

bottledworder

easy reading is damn hard writing

Funny Dog Moments

Funny Tales of Cinnamon the Cute Guard Dog

Life Through the Big Screen

A podcast where I invite guests from all walks of life to discuss their favorite movies, and we use that film as a starting point to talk about deeper issues such as faith, politics, and social issues.

%d bloggers like this: