Megan Norris Jones
I heard Kate DiCamillo speak at a book festival last year, and she described getting a job at a warehouse when she first got serious about writing. The job gave her time to write, but it also gave her the mental space to write. She spent her work day using her body and then her writing day using her mind. It created a balanced life.
That kind of balance is hard to come by, but it’s vital for a writer to produce good work. And it’s a concept I’ve been learning the hard way. Continue reading
For our current “Learn to Write by Reading” challenge, we invited you to examine the protagonist’s character arc in a book. Now, it’s time to apply what you learned to your own manuscript.
At the beginning of any character arc, the character will have a (usually mistaken) idea about the way the world works that is the result of something that went wrong in his or her past. Take a look at the book you read for this challenge. What is that protagonist’s mistaken worldview? This is the paradigm that shifted over the course of the book.
Now, consider your own manuscript. What is the lie that your character believes at the beginning of the story, and how does that shape his or her worldview? Write a scene about what led your character to adopt that belief.
For our September “Learn to Write by Reading” challenge, we invited you to examine books that had characters with mysterious backstories. Now, apply what you learned to your own manuscript.
Note how the writer builds the mystery by sprinkling in more and more information as the story progressed while withholding the truly important stuff. Is the writer subtle or overt with the hints, or some of both? As a reader, which methods work best to make you desperate to learn the whole story about the pivotal event in the characters past, and which methods annoy you?
Now apply what you’ve learned to your story and decide where, when, and how best to tease the reader and build suspense about your character’s past.
Ah, my dear fellow writers, it’s that time of my writing cycle again when life and all manner of distractions invade and paralyze my writing time. What about you? Perhaps its the beginning of the new school year, or that a new season is about to begin. (Can you smell fall? I can, and I wish to pete it’d get here.) Or the fact that I’ve had a poo-tastic week (and I mean that with every ounce of sarcasm I can muster). Continue reading