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.