I guess reporters don’t know which column will be published when, or else the California Writers Club Young Writers Contest article and photo just didn’t make it into my edition of the Contra Costa Times on May 23. Next time I’ll only post it here when I see it in the paper myself.
As I’ve been working on a project, I’ve found myself being concerned with the marketing aspect and how the publicist would react to the story. After the day’s work, I closed my computer and purposely didn’t re-read my words.
The next morning, I printed out my chapter and took a clipboard to revise and work on another scene. Reading what I had written, my jaw dropped. Who was this stilted writer who had composed these awkward sentences? Do I know this person? Where did she come from? If she was in my writing class, I’d take her aside and tell her to forget the final phases of book production, and free herself by going back to the basics. Think about character! Relax. Wonder about the story, don’t let the final outcome block the writing process.
I set aside my previous day’s disaster, and started over. This time, I let my mind wander over my characters and their world. “No worries,” I told myself. “Have fun with these people. Get to know them. You don’t have to write the very next chapter. Just write a scene where they talk to each other. What’s the worst problem they can get into together? What will they do?”
1. What is a dramatic or interesting conflict you can have your character get into? Can it somehow be based on her greatest fear?
2. What emotion does your scene evoke? What do you want your reader to feel?
3. What is the motivation for why the characters in your scene act the way they do?
4. Write about your characters BEFORE this scene. What is their back story?
5. Within your writing, can you locate where you are showing and where you are telling? Highlight the telling. If you have too much highlighting, where can you show in a scene rather than tell? Or where can you cut out the telling all together? If it doesn’t move your story forward, cut it out.