While I was away in Canberra, I read Donald Maass’s amazing book, Writing the Breakout Novel (and worked my way through his Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook) and so many things in it made sense for me – made me realise that what was missing from my plot was layering.
I needed to develop additional conflict/problems for my main character that weren’t related to the main story but added complications.
Here’s what I mean. My main character’s goal is to avenge an injury done to her and stop the perpetrator from doing it to anyone else.
I followed the directions in Donald Maass’s Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook and now I have three additional problems for my character.
1. She wants to break up with her boyfriend but doesn’t know how without ruining their friendship.
2. She has been caught shoplifting and her father is a policeman.
3. She has to stop her younger sister from becoming involved with a dangerous older guy.
See already, I have things that are going to complicate my character’s life and hamper her in achieving her goal.
As Maas points out. ”So what? Who cares if your main character doesn’t achieve their goal? What’s at stake?”
These questions have encouraged me to delve even deeper into my plot
If my main character doesn’t stop the person who attacked her then her own family is at risk because the perpetrator knows where she lives. Lives are at stake…and not just her own.
Now all I have to do is get my readers to care about my main character and her family and then the stakes will matter to them too.
Don’t you just love it when you pick up a writing book that really resonates with you, that can help you see how you can become a better writer.
If you have some favourite books on writing I’d love you to share them…and also share your experiences of how they have helped you.
Feel free to leave your feedback and suggestions in the comments section of this post.
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