Sensible Shoes is taking the night off with family obligations. Hope all of y'all are enjoying the holiday season and making New year's resolutions to do lots of writing in 2013.
One theory of fiction is that it’s about the moment of change. Your character starts out at Point A (his or her normal life, whatever that might be). Somewhere around 90% of the way through the story, we reach Point B: the climax, the tipping point after which things will Never Be the Same. The climax should seem impossible when we’re at Point A, but by Point B, it’s become inevitable. The middle part of the story is how we get from here to there.
Frequently this involves your character doing something he or she would “never” do. This may mean a character breaking his or her own moral code: with the Internet Killer about to walk free on a technicality, Detective Tim Bayliss resorts to murder. At the other end of the scale, Harry Potter discovers a heroism he didn’t know he possessed, and agrees to sacrifice himself to stop Voldemort. Or the change may be something on a smaller scale: Elizabeth Bennett gives Mr. Darcy a second chance after rejecting him.
Such changes only work if they don’t seem contrived. Bayliss had done everything within his power to bring the Internet Killer to justice – and then, on an unrelated case, he had his self-image shaken when he had to kill someone in self-defense. Harry, of course, took progressively bigger risks as Voldemort tried to destroy everything he loved. The character we met at Point A could not have made those decisions, but by the time we reach Point B, he or she is no longer the same person.
Write a scene where your character is faced with having to do something that he or she would “never” do. Use your own story, or one of these scenarios:
Belinda learns that her rival Adelaide is plotting to marry Belinda’s beloved Lord Postlethwaite-Praxleigh (pronounced Puppy) in order to get her hands on his jeweled sash.
A callow youth gets the chance to obtain the Jewel of Togwogmagog and save the kingdom – but at a terrible cost to his or her Stout Companion.
Detective Scotty Blaine is warned of the consequences if he doesn’t do a favor for the local mob boss.
Goodwife Thankful Goodheart is feeding her hens and minding her own business when she sees that awful Agnes Addlepate giving her the evil eye.
A stranger has come to the Wiltchester Dragon Farm, wanting to buy a baby dragon, but ace dragon breeder Jocasta Entwhistle doesn’t trust him one bit.
Private investigator Celia Spunk realizes that her client is really the Chainsmoke Killer.
International superspy James Buns has been captured by an eccentric megalomaniac, who plans to use an elaborate invention to kill the hero and his unfortunately-named girlfriend.
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