<$Susan Goodwill$>

Sunday, November 05, 2006

NaNo #3

Day four ended with a surprising leap ahead in my story. Carjackers inadvertantly saved the lives of my protagonist and her computer-hacker sidekick, my missing octogenarian bankrobber wandered into a pancake house and called his girlfriend, and my former B-Grade horror movie star completed a stellar run at the craps table while her friend picked the bad guy's pocket.

I was thinking about the common driver in our stories--CONFLICT. And ultimately change. Change means something happened. If something doesn't happen and nothing changes, it ain't a story. And what usually happens is that a person changes. Because stories are about people.
Okay, so how do we change people?
I took a behavior modification class eons ago. Not much stuck but one thing did: changing people usually requires these three elements-- the rewards or repurcussions need to be personal, immediate, and large enough to make change worthwhile.
So, I am asking myself this about my story--
1.Are the conflicts my characters get into personal enough? Is this something they have to care about for a good believeable personal reason, not an arbitrary one?
2. Are the rewards/or repurcussions of these conflicts immediate? Is there maybe a ticking clock or an end to all their options so that the reward or repurcussion must come at a certain finite time? Are we moving inexorably toward the reurcussion or reward?
3. And is it large enough--are my stakes growing high enough to make things have to happen and facilitate change? As Jenny Crusie once said, will they die a real or psychic death if the bad thing happens? How can I raise the stakes to that level?

Happy writing--tonight's goal--2000 words.

Don't forget to check out your November writing horoscope over at BookTalk.