Today I plan on picking up the prologue for Angel Odyssey that I cut and fiddling around with it. Nothing serious, I just want to have fun and practice writing a bit. I'm also going to start Arisototle's Poetics for Screenwriters. I'm not wri
I finished Donald Maass' bookWriting the Breakout Novel yesterday. I wish I'd read it before I'd begun Angel Odyssey. I found it inspiring. You hear a lot from other writers that your book can't just be 'good', that it has to be great. I believe Lou Anders at Pyr said the same thing. I think this book has a lot of advice about what makes a great novel as opposed to a good novel. I have been reading it off and on for months but I've been so immersed in Angel Odyssey that, to my shame, I hadn't finished it until yesterday. Let me pass along a few thoughts that I found valuable from the book:
Raise the Stakes. This is the advice that drove my fourth draft. Make each plot point larger and more serious. Rather than going for a drive in the country, have your character be rushing to the hospital. Then if your character has a car accident, it means more. Have your characters deliver vital intelligence about a coming invasion. In my case, I had the bond between Jael and Jacob start killing them. Now they have to get Jael home and they have to have her healed. It makes the journey mean more.
Make your characters larger than life. Have them say the things you always wanted to say. Have them mouth off to an authority figure (I'm not saying there won't be consequences for it but have them do it). Have them hit on a girl way out of their league. Have them steal a fighter plane and fly it across the border. Have them beat the crap out of a pack of teenaged hoodlums harrasing people in the park. Whatever your daydreams are, do that. And do it big.
Have them kick down the door with a shotgun in their hands, have them rescue the girl, have them slap the face of a philandering spouse. Defy an army. Die heroically. Save a life. Every scene/chapter needs structure. Every scene, every chapter is your novel in miniature. (this is a new thought for me and something I'm going to work hard on) Each scene needs to have a: sympathetic character, conflict, complications and a turning point, climax or resolution.