As summer looms, so does a book deadline. Rather than taking a complete hiatus from this blog, I’ve decided to post only on Tuesdays and Thursdays (and other days if there’s news!). Thursday will remain the place where I share favorite quotes. But since I started this blog –lo these many years past– with the idea that I would share writing tips/insights/questions, it seems like a good time to revisit those roots.
So here’s summer’s first tip:
I was recently trying to help a friend write a synopsis and in my poking around I came across this site. One thing the writer, Randy Ingermanson, said jumped right out at me: “I like to structure a story as ‘three disasters plus and ending.'” I loved this because it taps into that Rule of Three often seen in children’s literature. It’s also easy to remember. I appreciate things that are easy to remember.
Mr. Ingermanson offers this caveat: “It is OK to have the first disaster be caused by external circumstances, but I think that the second and third disasters should be caused by the protagonist’s attempts to ‘fix things’.” (my emphasis)
Isn’t that a great way to look at a story? I thought so. I sat right down with my current WIP and realized that the “disasters” I’d envisioned were caused by others, not by my main character. With a good day’s thinking, I was able to come up with two actions my MC could take that would make a huge mess of things! Isn’t that fabulous? Nothing like making things awful for your MC, right?
Now you try it.
Marvelous, Kirby! I’ll look at my second book with that goal. But I’ll have to figure out a disaster that doesnt include a dying animal. Thanks for all the encouragement you’ve given me.