30 January 2013

Resistance to Maximizing Crisis

Not just sweet SCBWI writers experience resistance to putting their protagonists in true peril. At last Sunday's CWC Blockbuster Plots Intensive, writers of adult fiction and memoirs balked in an effort to prevent loss and trauma, disappointment and rejection, hurt and betrayal from befalling their beloved protagonists. Then today, I heard from a writer of a very successful memoir, wail about the same feelings about her character, too.

Nearly every single one of the 21 writers who opted to pay extra for a 15 minute private plot consultation with me during the retreat weekend showed the same weakness when probed about the Crisis scene. Thanks for the luxury of time spent together, I was able to reinforce the need for a powerful crisis, especially in character-driven stories, along with providing a variety of examples of a crisis in novels, memoirs, screenplays. On the final day, writers confessed to nightmares where the perfect crisis was revealed, while others wore bragging rights to ideas that came when pushed to dig deeper.

One-by-one writers shared an added angle or focus they'd come up with for their stories' crisis. One writer in front, shed tears as she described a dramatic loss her protagonist suffers. The writer next to her followed by exclaiming she was going to throw-up. Worried she'd picked up the flu that was going around, she surprised me instead by crying out: "the pig has to die!"

 Wedged between the retreat and the all-day plot intensive was the release party for The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing. Thanks to the request at the retreat for an example of a prompt, I integrated reading Writing Prompts into the Plot Tips I shared at the bookstore.

At last Saturday's plot workshop, I found that after explaining the nuances of the Energetic Markers, reading the prompts for each turning point gave concrete direction where the writers might find their Crisis and how to develop the scene with more intensity. An added bonus to writing the book to help writers write a story with a plot from beginning to end is in finding how helpful and useful the prompts are as a teaching tool, too.

Knowing what to write where in a story with a plot allows for a more loving relationship with your writing. Whether writing a first draft or revising, if you falter wondering what comes next in a story with a plot, follow the prompts in The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing.

Today, I write.

To familiarize yourself with the basic plot terms used here and in the PW Book of Prompts:
1) Watch the plot playlists on the Plot Whisperer Youtube channel.
2) Read The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master
3) Fill out the exercises in The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-Step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories
4) Visit:
Blockbuster Plots for Writers
Plot Whisperer on Facebook

Plot Whisperer on Twitter