Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Grim and the Girl


So I'm rereading James Scott Bell's Super Structure: The Key to Unleashing the Power of Story because I read that and Writing the Breakout Novel by Maass EVERY TIME I begin a new project. I even have a Maass List where I check off elements of my story and the 14 Sign Posts list to make sure I'm hitting every beat of my novel.

I know...I'm a total Planner. My slightly OCD tendencies have been well noted and commented on by my crit partner, the illustrious Erin Kane Spock over at Spock Writes Romance. She is a Pantser through-and-through so you can imagine our conversations.

Something that really hit me this time though, while going over my notes, is the whole FACING DEATH thing that each character has to endure.  Whether it is actual physical death, career death, or even psychological death...the lead in your book faces some permutation of it.

I mean, my main character stares down actual, grueling, torturous death in my series, but the death of her dream...her hope...that hits me harder. It changes her more than toughening to survive does. It steers her choices in a far greater way than just trying to stay alive.

Her character arc just got a new dimension and I hope to really explore that. This got me thinking about an idea for book journaling that I came across a while ago. I think its from Bell, but I can't be sure. Its a way to keep your character from sounding like a mini-you -- you write in their voice, the reasons why they do not want to take part in your story.
I was using it as an exercise to isolate the "argument against transformation" without knowing I'd have an epiphany about my main character.  I had no idea that Charlotte was so broken over what she gives up that it was far worse for her than the prospect of death itself.

I encourage all of you authors out there to try a Character Journal and see what insights, if any, come out of it. I'd love to hear.

Until next time...Go Write!

+Raquel Byrnes 

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