Saturday, May 19, 2012

What do you know about YOUR book?

A recent post at Magical Words by Faith Hunter is for her series on things writers should know about their own books. We've all read books that had us scratching our heads over one or more issues. I don't want to be one of the authors somebody in the future uses as an example of a bad writer, so I'll see how my WIP measures up with Faith's points.

The post is part 4 in the series; here, she asks What is your Main Character’s biggest motivation? Faith said
image photo : Attackthat one's easy, but not so fast: I thought I had Sandy's motivation down but it turns out that it wasn't enough. It wasn't personal or high-stakes enough. When I discovered that his cousin slashed him with a knife a few years earlier then died while in alcohol detox, his guilt over what he saw as his failure to help her became the primary motive.

Neal's main motive has been easier, but still, it can sink into cliché-ism (yes, writers make up words, woohoo!) He wants to escape a life so rough that he literally doesn't know from day to day how long he'll live. Oh fine, whatever. Good luck with that. But: He's effectively an orphan because his father died and his mom abandoned him, so he was pretty much raised by that street gang. When he's offered the chance to start a new life in a completely different segment of society, he knows that if he accepts, he can never go back to the friends who accepted him when his own mother discarded him.

And speaking of her, Neal's rescuer offers to hire a PI to try to track her down. Now Neal might even find out why she abandoned him.

Ah, now we've got the start of something potentially interesting. J

Faith's next question: what's your antagonist's (whom she charmingly refers to as the Big Bad Ugly) main motivation? This is a valid question because readers in the 21st century are no longer content with villains who are bad just for the fun of being bad.

image photo : Dangerous manFor my first two drafts, my antagonist didn't even show up until the last 1/3 of the story. And then I didn't know why he was the antagonist! He was just there to throw more difficulties in Neal's way. The fact that this villain was also Neal's biological father--but not the man his mother married--was just a side note.

Next time I'll go over that angle. I shall try to get my post for Six Sentence Sunday to go live on time, but Blogger refuses to schedule it, so keep your fingers crossed! J

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