Monday, June 15, 2009

BYU WIFYR 5: Cherie Earl and Carol Lynch Williams

Cheri Pray Earl and Carol Lynch Williams: “You’ve Got a Suspicious Stain on the Seat of Your Pants and Other Points of No Return in the Adolescent Novel”

Gateways where what you’ve already written propels your story forward.

Something happens from which there is no return—your life is never the same after. (Cheri walking down the hall in high school with a stain on her pants. There is a persona that begins, but because of the way it is, it cannot survive through the thing that happens. In this way, character drives plot.)

1. Getting from beginning to middle, and from middle to end through “doorways of no return.”

2. The doorway from Beginning to Middle: Create a scene early in the beginning where the lead is thrust into the main conflict in a way that keeps him there.
EXAMPLE: Lead stumbles upon an important secret or has a professional or moral duty to push forward.

3. Ask yourself, “Can my lead walk away from the plot right now and go on as he has before?”

4. Middle to End: Something has to happen that sets up the final confrontation

5. Usually some major clue, piece of information, huge setback or crisis, hurtles the action toward conclusion—usually with one quarter or less of the novel to go.

When does a novel start? When something is new. Something different happens today than has happened before.

Inciting incident: character makes a choice (in response to circumstance) that moves us into the main conflict in the novel. What choice could she make that would push her through a doorway to such an extent that things would never be the same again?

Samples of these doorways from This is What I Did by Ann Dee Ellis and A Dance for Three by Louise Plummer.

1 comment:

Louise Plummer said...

The next time I have to talk about writing, I will refer to these last few posts for my material.

I have looked closely at the photo. You're definitely sleeping.