Monday, May 7, 2012

Creating problems for our heros

I just got back from the LDS Storymakers conference. This is my third year and it feels like every year gets better. Highly recommended if you are a writer. They are not only focused on writing in the LDS market. In fact, I don't think I took one class that was LDS related; so if you are a writer and live in Utah it would be a fantastic place to get information, refocus on your writing, improve your skills and network.

The first class I took was by Rachelle Christensen. It was about creating page-turners. I've posted some highlights below.

A - Create problems for your character.
        1. They have be be big enough to mean something for the protagonist. You can't have them worry
             about which peanut butter to buy unless one of them has the harmful chemical that the guy just
             learned (because he's a chemist...) will give a person cancer.
        2. Give them grey areas. Everything can't be black and white or the novel will be too predictable.
        3. Create a lose/lose situation for them. For example, if our chemist leaks the info that the chemical is
              harmful to humans he will lose his job and won't have the health insurance for his highly asthmatic
        4. Have a reversal in your book. A place where the hero looks like he/she has lost and the villain looks
            like he's won. Make your hero earn the right to be called hero.

B - Is the scene worth $300,000.00?
       1. If your book was made into a movie it would cost approximately three hundred thousand dollars to
           make each scene. If your scene isn't 1. enriching the character 2. providing necessary information
           3. moving the plot forward, then cut it. Don't waste your word count or your readers time.

Let me know if this helps in your writing. I learned so much and went away with some concrete ideas for a rewrite I'm working through. Thank you Rachelle!!


Kathi Oram Peterson said...

It was a wonderful conference. I'm so glad I saw you. And that chocolate you gave me, a piece of heaven in my mouth.

Love the Avenger picture. I went to the film Friday night. So many levels of awesomeness!!!

Christina said...

I can't wait to see it - I'm hoping for a date night this weekend.
It was so much fun to see you too! I wish we'd landed in a class together. Next year?!