Sunday, May 28, 2006

Driving forces

I read something very interesting in Writing Fiction: The practical guide from NY’s acclaimed creative writing school. Every (good) piece of fiction answers an underlying question, is in fact driven by this question. Will the hero find redemption? Will the rebels win their freedom? You get the idea.

Every good short story, every novella and novel has an underlying question that can be answered with yes, no or maybe. The trick is to ask the right question and not to get distracted. ‘Will the hero find redemption?’ cannot be answered with him finding love or happiness; that wasn’t the question. The answer has to match the question.

So I started to think about the question(s) underlying THE GHOST CRAB, which btw I’m going to have to rename. The chapter I read (by David Harris Ebenbach) suggested asking ONE question, the question centering around the protagonist.

That made sense. I won’t argue. But I have a team of protagonists. What can I say? I have a knack for complicating things :-)

The truth, though, is that I am not creating a 50-50 partnership. Depending on the story, I’m envisioning a 55-45 or 60-40 split. Soren took the lead in THE PROTECTOR. Mason will take the lead in THE GHOST CRAB. His question then is the driving force behind the story.

And since there is an antagonist, I figured there should be three questions:

1. Will Mason save his reputation and relationship with Soren from destruction?

2. Will Soren find equal footing in a relationship that’s unbalanced power-wise?

3. Will Love Savior survive?

My problem now is to answer these questions.

You might think the answers are obvious, but keep in mind I am writing a series. There is no need or reason to finish character development/growth by the end of this particular story. Indeed, I should leave room for future developments.

The only question I can answer with certainty at this stage of prelim plotting is question 1: a definite yes.

Two and 3 are a maybe flirting with a no.

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