Thursday, November 8, 2012

Baby Evil Writers 101: Conflict, Resolution, Setback


Baby Evil Writers 101: Conflict, Resolution, Setback
Julie Butcher

Everyone knows how Mondays go. You wake up like it is any other day that ends with a Y. And then, an evil Monday problem jumps out at you from behind the door. OH NOES!

You stub your toe on the way to the coffee pot. While hopping on one foot (because your toe thinks it’s dying) you knock the sugar bowl off the counter. It crashes to the floor and the glass shatters. Before you have time to blink your child runs into the kitchen on bare feet
.
Because you are a mother, you snatch up the child, stepping into the mess to do so. You scream as glass stabs into your surviving foot, and adds blood to the sticky mess. You plop the child safely on a chair and leave bloody footprints on the way to the broom cupboard. Simultaneously you pour cereal into your child’s bowl, sweep the floor, and run water to mop up the blood
.
Finally, you have the mess cleaned up, and the children fed, and have acquired both coffee and bandages. Now all you need to manage are clothes. Whew. Double whew. Your neck muscles relax and your jaw untenses from the clenched position. You are Super Mom!

You stretch, and the clock on the microwave catches your eye. SWEET MINIONS OF EVIL IT IS BLINKING! The power must have gone out last night. You run for your phone and discover that YOU ARE LATE!

Every chapter in your book is a Monday morning.

CONFLICT: Your hero has a terrible problem. OH NOES!
RESOLUTION: Your hero fixes the problem. OH YAY!
SETBACK:  Here comes another problem and it is worse than the first problem. OH HOLY CRAP!

If you have a scene without these three elements, delete it. You don’t write chapters to drop information or to set up the reader for what is going to happen later. Information is like sprinkles on ice cream. You don’t eat a whole bowl of sprinkles. (You might want to but it isn't how it is supposed to be.)

7 comments:

  1. Thanks a lot, Julie. Now I have a desperate urge for a bowl of sprinkles. The chocolate ones. For breakfast. Oh what a rebel I am. As for your post, love it! Yes indeedy, it is necessary -- but also fun -- to take your character time after time & dump his ass into a croc-infested situation & have him figure a way out without losing all his toes (or other cherished body parts).

    ReplyDelete
  2. That's so blindingly obvious when you put it like that. I'm not being mean enough to my characters. Inventing a brother just to kill him 2 lines later is far too lenient!

    ReplyDelete
  3. There you go John! make him suffer.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Excellent. Simple the way you put it but no one has ever explained it to me that way.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Excellent. Simple the way you put it but no one has ever explained it to me that way.

    ReplyDelete

Please feel free to leave a comment! Just don't be a dick. Or we'll hunt you down.

Our Theme Song